Taos Tanto

The first glimpse of the Gorge coming into Taos is  transformational. I wonder if that is the reason why it is so hard to come to ground in the village. It is a lush day with birds and yellow cottonwoods beaming in the fields, and the stretch of mountain vistas of pueblo land. I see dogs romping in large pastures, and horses blending into the shattered sky with texture and thick bodies roaming on the fur of spring grasses.

Visiting Tanto at my friends place, Lupine’s pal, is so healing and kind during this day of more changes for Lupine and myself. I hold his thick paw as he rolls on his back after our walk. I watch him eat snow and twirl around.

They told me how they found Tanto at the humane society; supposedly someone climbed a fence and put him in an enclosure and the poor young dog was cold and scared when they found him in the morning. They had to be patient a couple of days to claim him since they needed to allow that waiting period at the shelter. When I first met him at their house he was very skittery and I laid down on the ground for him to come a sniff me, and he also met Lupine. He loved her instantly and tolerated me on the floor.

He looks at me today with a question and I kneel down and tell him about Lupine and he whines and looks at me and then looks in the distance.

On the way up to where they live, before arriving, I got a call that Lupine’s ashes were ready and I pull over and cry just as my friend called to see where I was and I told her the news,  She said take your time we are here and so I drove and looked at everything around me and felt the dream I had the night before about Lupine changing form and the half rock half arrowhead I found in the hills and thought to myself she is half way through change, and so she was and is ready to be air and ash when I pick up the jar in the morning.

I am fortified by Tanto and my friends and the mountains and on the way home in the dark I open the car window and listen to the Rio Grande rush over rocks and stones in its flow and feel like Lupine is with me and asleep in the back seat of the car as I head back into town.

I pass Los Luceros and think of the time I was  out there shooting photos of large old cottonwoods. It is a barrio and these men drove by me in a car and tried to run me off the road with my camera and tripod and when they came round a second time Lupine reared up and headed for the car window and I saw the shock in their eyes as they sped off. She was like the horse in the film The Horse Whisperer rearing up at the truck that was out of control. I think of her bravery and how she made me tough in those situations and how it would turn around and I would scare off feral roaming dogs on her behalf.

She is in that slipstream of existence, in the river, in Tanto’s eyes and in my heart throughout the day.


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