Sunday in the Park | ParkRecord.com

Sunday in the Park

Teri Orr, Record columnist

When last I left you, it was with a photo, shot late in the afternoon, in the Enchanted Circle byway in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. My journey continues…

Click.

Here are paintings that seem to have a hint of Diego Rivera in them. Bold colors. Simple people. Many are naked. Mild nudity, mostly viewed from their backsides. The paintings were confiscated by Scotland Yard in 1929 from a London gallery. The works by D.H. Lawrence were simply too risqué to be exhibited. It is a very long, lovely story about how they came to be behind curtains in the Hotel La Fonda in Taos. And how Lawrence came to be buried a few miles out of town. The author of "Lady Chatterley’s Lover" was a controversial figure. The front-desk clerk has unlocked the room and led me inside to view the works. Since I am a guest in the hotel, there is no charge for me to see them. I had no plans to stay the night but my full day of driving has left me two hours back to Santa Fe. I ask the desk clerk if he has a toothbrush for guests and he says yes, so I check in with no bags and no clothes.

Click.

It is so still here, in the early Sunday morning light, it would be easy to assume the pueblo has been abandoned. Save for the wood smoke you see curling up out of the 400-year-old adobe "condos." There are brightly painted doors and window frames, weathered. And clear water moving silently over rocks in the river. The light is other-worldly and the ghosts of so many peoples vanish just around corners.

Click.

Recommended Stories For You

You are looking way, way down, into the Rio Grande River gorge. You see the ribbon of bluish-green water at the very, very bottom. Little in life scares me. Not snakes nor spiders nor rides at the carnival. But here the open rails are not even chest high and I can imagine falling over the edge. When a car passes by, the whole suspension bridge shakes and I rapidly finish my shots.

Click.

This is a view of the Chama River you have seen painted by Georgia O’Keeffe in so many variations. I am on the hillside next to her home. There is no one here to work the bell tower on the tiny adobe church. I grab a sandwich at Bode’s General Store on the highway, there since the ’30s, and head down the road to O’Keeffe’s other residence, Ghost Ranch.

Click.

I call these The Ridiculous Rocks. They are right before you get to the iconic metal gate with the black-and-white-painted cattle skull in the middle. O’Keeffe was accused of being too impressionistic but she always said she painted what she saw. You can’t deny this when you see these rocks that look like giant puffy marshmallows tinged in orange icing.

Click.

I think these are pinyon jays. Maybe mountain bluebirds. They just kept appearing out of the sagebrush. Dozens and dozens to create this cloud of blue. This shot is blurry. I pulled off the dirt road I have been on for half an hour in the middle of the desert to take this picture.

Click.

Yes, that is a really big, hairy, tarantella spider in the dirt, next to my shoe. I have arrived at the monastery in the desert. So peaceful. So simple. So easy to be reflective here. I have a short conversation with the Benedictine monk in the tiny bookstore. I light a candle for so many reasons I can’t form a focused thought around any of them.

Click.

This is the used bookstore in Santa Fe where I purchase my own copy of "Lady Chatterley’s Lover."

Click.

This is the fabulous restaurant called The Compound in an old home filled with great folk art. I have what may have been the single best meal of my life.

Click.

These are descendants of the first residents of New Mexico who, due to their birthright, may line up in front of the Palace of Governors, selling their jewelry and pottery on blankets on the ground. I purchase a tiny black owl. I heard him call my name.

Click. Click. Click.

All these monument sculptures are by the famed artist Allan Houser. They are outside his house, half an hour south of Santa Fe in the desert, in private gardens, where I am being given a tour. They are breathtaking in their beauty, borrowing from Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Moore, but completely Houser. Many of these works can be seen nowhere else in the world.

Click.

My front door in Park City. Green against purple wood. Not a bad place to return to after spending a Sunday (and other days) away from The Park …

Teri Orr is the director of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts. She is also a former editor of The Park Record.

Go back to article