Saturday, October 8, 2011

Short: Mabel Dodge Luhan & the Transformative Power of Taos

Whew! Visions and names of the Remarkable Women of Taos whirl in my head and inform my dreams. I'm interviewing and writing up women ranging across the age and community groups of Taos. Soon the Remarkable Women of Taos media campaign will go live, and you'll be able to read about some of the women in full, but today I'll give you a sampling of what is to come.

For this piece I am focusing on one of the questions on the interview form used to gather the stories of remarkable women, namely: "How has the landscape / environment of Taos shaped you?"

Obviously, I can't ask Mabel this question, but as Judi Jordan pointed out, mining Mabel's work can unearth some answers. Here's one example of the transformative power of Taos from The Edge of Taos Desert. Mabel first writes about the change she felt as all the trappings from her former life fell away. Leading into the following paragraph, she recalls the intimate memories of her life, then relates the effect of Taos on her:

I was offered and accepted a spiritual therapy that was cleansing, one that ... finally rewarded me with a sense of reality.

Looking at a similar question, I thought you might like to know how some contemporary Taos women responded. For artist and book illustrator Amy Cordova whose family has lived in the area for three centuries, the land holds the stories of her ancestors.

There is something sacred in realizing that my ancestors traveled my same routes, saw the same grand peak of Taos Mountain, smelled the sage after the rains, or the scent of pinon rising from a kiva fireplace on a cold winter’s night…just like I experience…now. I feel close to them through this way of thinking.

When she first arrived, glass artist Delinda VanneBrightyn immediately sensed that Taos was a special place--a place that felt ancient yet left her, like Mabel, feeling renewed, alive.

The land and sky here has shaped me for sure. It informs my art. It fills my soul. It hardens me to be strong and fit and capable. It softens me with its boundless and breathtaking beauty. It leaves me in awe of my insignificance. It inspires me to push on to be as creative as possible.

This just a glimpse of the transformative power of Taos. May these few paragraphs also provide you with a flavor of the contemporary remarkable women of Taos who will appear on the blog in the months to come.

Adios for now,

1 comment:

  1. thank you, Liz...for this important work that you do sooooo well.
    you're another 'remarkable woman of taos'..