Santa Fe, New Mexico May 19
Petroglyphs up close and personal. Numerous national and state parks trumpet their collection of petroglyphs, including Petrified Forest National Park that we just visited. However, today we saw as many, clearly defined petroglyphs in one space as any other location we have visited. La Cienguilla Petroglyph site is a little known location along the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail. The site was just 15 minutes from Jude’s house and made for an easy morning trip.
The petroglyphs are located along a cliff; reaching them involves hiking a rock-strewn path that challenges your footing more than your endurance. We were the only people looking at them today. The views of the nearby mountains are also great. The ‘glyphs are clearly defined and easy to recognize. Interpretation of meaning is still difficult, though.
Our afternoon excursion was truly interesting. We had not been to the New Mexico History Museum in downtown Santa Fe before. We were blessed by having a personal, docent tour by a friend of Jude’s, Beth. Our hour-long tour covered only a portion of the museum but was organized to give us a snapshot of life lived in New Mexico by “normal” people up until 1912. Of course, the hour-long tour was a little longer than her usual tour due to our peppering Beth with questions.
New Mexico has a long and involved history. According to a Pueblo elder, for the Native Americans, this landscape (which we consider as a desert) was “their Walmart”. The land and animals provided food, shelter and clothing. When the Spanish arrived, their whole world changed.
The rest of the US probably forgets about the early exploration by the Spanish in the 1500s, including a settlement near today’s Espanola NM in 1539. The Puebloans were willing to make adjustments to their lifestyle to secure the new implements and animals brought to this continent by the Spanish. The adjustments soon became one-sided and the 1680 Pueblo revolt succeeded in kicking the Spanish out. But in 1692, the Spanish returned with a vengeance and re-conquered the land and its people. They were not in favor of “Anglos” coming down into New Mexico, so the state remained a blend of Spanish/Mexican/Indian people and cultures.
Beth mentioned a new exhibit opening next week which will discuss the role of “Jewish” immigration to the New World. Spain had a multi-religious tolerance under the Moors but when the Spanish Monarchy was re-established, Jews became increasingly unwelcome. Eventually they were forced to convert, practice their religion underground, or leave. Many Jews converted under pressure and a large number of them moved to the New World where opportunities seemed greater.
In 1821, Mexico successfully threw off the Spanish yoke. Mexico was more open to Anglos and increased trade with the US and settlers from the US was a new chapter in the future state’s history. Trade was mainly along the Santa Fe Trail, with ox drawn carts the main method of transportation. By 1846 (this is a quick summary of history you are gathering), hostilities broke out into the Mexican-American War. The US won and in 1848 New Mexico was part of the United States. Due to US uncertainties about this land full of Catholics, Indians,and former Mexicans, the territory did not become a state until 1912.
Railroad expansion was the next dramatic change agent here. More immigrants, increased trading opportunities, and the making or breaking of communities by where railroad tracks were laid set the current population pattern in the state. Mining and cattle raising became strong forces in the state’s economy.
I think our next trip to Santa Fe may involve a second visit to this museum to add to our basic level of understanding of this rich and varied state.
On the way back to Jude’s, we stopped at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society. Jude does volunteer work for this group and her service dog “Lacey” came from here. We were given a detailed tour by the Adoption Director and came away overwhelmed by the complex and forward-thinking operations undertaken here. They run: an adoption program; a veterinary clinic; a dog behavior modification facility; a home for stray and homeless animals; and a “trap-spay/neuter-release” program for feral cats. The Shelter has modified its procedures to make sure the animal enclosures are large. The larger enclosures, along with several daily exercise activities for cats and dogs produces a healthier population which ends up being adopted more quickly than is average for a US animal shelter. Quite impressive.
On our way into the buildings, we observed an adoption counselor advising a new pet owner about proper care of his pet. The counselor was providing the owner with a new owner orientation package that was one of Jude’s first tasks here as a volunteer.
At the end of the long day, dinner was at Jude’s: a baked salmon, broccoli, quinoa, and pecan dish. Very tasty and good for us also.
Ed and Chris.