Walking in Santa Fe
Make Like a Tourist
Reluctant Medium Rachel Blackstone’s favorite time of year is autumn. Funny, we’re alike in that way. Since blog posts eat photos like mad, I thought I’d make like a tourist and head out with the camera. Taking pictures like a first-time visitor is actually a little embarrassing, but the journalist urges me onward.
The weather is great in Santa Fe right now, although if you enjoy a high desert climate, it’s nearly always terrific weather. I took off down West San Francisco headed toward the plaza. “I was walking with my feet ten feet off” the street. For those of you who don’t recognize this, it’s from a Cher song entitled “Walking in Memphis.” If you don’t know Cher (US singer/actress), she recorded the song in 1995. It was used in an episode of The X-Files, but wasn’t the hit several of her other songs became. Originally sung by singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, it is about a spiritual awakening in Memphis. Here is a YouTube link to hear the song:
There are days like that in the City Different when the senses are keen and the spirit is awakening. This is such a day. As I pass the Lensic Performing Arts, I marvel at how it was transformed from a 1931 theatre where anything from vaudeville to first-run movies was showcased to a swank new PAC. But the 800-seat theatre was in
danger of becoming permanently dark, when it was saved by a group of visionaries. They saw a new beginning for a building on the verge of losing its groove. There was a multi-story addition to the rear of the building and the interior was carefully restored to its stunning ornate decor. It hosts more than 200 events a year.
Also on San Francisco you’ll find The Original Trading Post. Reputed to have been in Santa Fe since 1603, it is protected by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation Preservation Easement program.” I remember the first time I saw it, I wasn’t at all certain I should enter. It looked ready to collapse. But not to worry, it’s stood many years since then. It has virtually everything you could possibly want for New Mexico gifts to take home: post cards, key chains, worry stones, cups, clothing, Native American pottery, on and on. Beware, the floors squeak unmercifully which is part of the charm. It makes no excuses. It’s kitschy and fun.
Burro Alley (you’ll know you’re there when you see the burro sculpture) was a wild patch in the 1800s: gambling parlors, bars and for the indiscriminate “gentleman,” ladies of the night were available for a price, usually the winnings from the card game. But the street was named after the sturdy little burros who pulled wagons of wood to be sold in the alley. Streets and sidewalks along here—and many other areas of downtown—intersect like the people who settled here.
At last, the plaza comes into view; I try to see it like someone who has never been there. It is sun splashed under a perfect azure sky. The trees are mature and tall. Flowers hang from old-fashioned street lamps. Both the present and
the past occupy the plaza. The monument in the center has had the word “savage” scratched out. It represents the past. In the present, people dot the square, some rushing to their next appointment while others sit on the benches and feed the pigeons or snap photos. The Palace of the Governors’ long portal shades Native Indian artists showing their wares on colorful blankets. At least 30 people browse, ask questions, squat for a closer look and buy a beautiful memory from Santa Fe.
I don’t know if it’s the high mountain air (Santa Fe sits at 7,000 feet) or the brilliant sky. Maybe it’s the aroma of roasting chiles or the aspens that are
turning golden on Mt. Baldy. It could be the abundant creativity in the city. It’s a magnet for writers and artists of all walks. But there is an energy that can’t be denied, and why would anyone want to?
Why not go walking in your city?
— G G Collins
Posted on September 22, 2012, in On Location in Santa Fe, Uncategorized and tagged Burro Alley, Cher, G G Collins, Lensic Performing Arts Center, Plaza, Rachel Blackstone, Reluctant Medium, Santa Fe New Mexico, The Original Trading Post, travel, X-Files. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.