Sunday, January 20, 2008

Santa, Fe, NM: Explorer

Despite having woken up entirely too late this morning, er, afternoon, I had a very productive day.

I hit the road heading north towards the town of Chimayo. I stopped at the Tesuque Reservation along highway 285 to take some photos of Camel Rock. This natural wonder is a sandstone formation that has eroded over the years into an unmistakable? shape:



I continued on the highway, eventually turning onto a series of small roads that winded through a very rustic landscape. Rural poverty was evident from the condition of the homes and land. After about 20 minutes of hoping I was on the right path, a series of small signs started popping up advertising "El Sanctuario de Chimayo." I eventually found the dirt road leading to the church and several buildings surrounding the site. Here is origin of El Santuario via Wikipedia.

The church itself is very small with a dozen rows of wooden pews. The altarpiece is quite stunning, made of wood and painted bright reds and yellows, stretching from floor to roof. Alongside the church are two small rooms. The room to the back is about 5 feet by 5 covered wall-to-wall with different religious paintings and posters. There is a hole in the floor with soft earth spilling out. THIS IS THE SACRED DIRT!! I had a plastic bag in my tote (thanks Lula) and scooped some up for myself. The other room is larger, and quite impressive. It is filled with rows of crutches, photos, baby booties, letters testifying to the miraculous cures of the scared dirt. Several people where kneeling and praying to the little altars set up. I wish I could have taken a photograph of this room; it is really impressive. I love this stuff! This fine example of Catholic idolatry totally appeals to my Papist upbringing. No wonder why so many people think Catholicism is cult. I can't get enough. These gestures of faith are really quite beautiful.


the larger room of the church adorned with mementos from the cured;


signs pointing to the Church; the Church in the middle of nowhere


red chillies for sale across the street; holey molé??

Heading back to secular land (is that possible with all the pro-life billboards doting the highway??) I drove south to a massive bizarre called "Jackalope: A World of Curiosities." Curiosities indeed! I could have spent the entire day wandering though the different buildings on campus. My favorite part was the taxidermy and bone section (of course!). If you have been listening to me yack at all for the past few weeks you will recall my quest for a mounted jackalope: there where many here but none were quite as beautiful as the piece at Paxton Gate. I left the store empty handed but I am considering a revisit to purchase one of the cows skulls....


the drool-worthy skull selection; Peruvian Day of the Dead


the majestic Jackalope; junk everywhere!


zen for sale


skulls (for me?); Mexican tschotchkes


2 comments:

Phillip said...

hubbe hubba!

Alex said...

This blog has the credibility of the Weekly World News. OH LET ME GUESS: THE MOON LANDING DIDN'T HAPPEN EITHER!