Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is special in any season but September brings forth visual delights and olfactory pleasures that note the arrival of autumn.

I was lucky enough to find myself in the high desert under the full moon at the recent equinox. Rain had at last come to the parched earth and every living thing seemed to rejoice. The sagebrush seemed luminous against the saturated lavender-grey earth and myriad indescribable shades of sea greens glowed as the heavy clouds passed over.

Huge clumps of golden-flowered chamisa were everywhere, here and there joined by purple asters. Aspen leaves had turned to yellow and the cottonwoods were following their lead. Roasting chili peppers and pinon smoke wafted through the air,the traditional incense in this ancient land.

No wonder so many artists and writers have found inspiration here.

The Museum of International Folk Art sits high up Camino Lejo on Museum Hill with three other fine museums. MOIFA houses the world’s largest collection of traditional folk art from around the globe and is a feast of color, texture, and form. They also have one of the finest collections of traditional costume from around the world in their collections.

Curator Bobbie Sumberg has put up a carefully selected exhibition called “Material World” which features stunning examples from the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Near East many from the 19th C. She has written a richly illustrated catalog of the same name to accompany it which is available in the museum bookstore.

For a sampler of the treasures to be found there visit

Filled with Southwest soul food: beef and chile tamales from Santa Domingo Pueblo,
perfectly seasoned pinto beans, butterfly shaped bread hot from earthen ovens and lemon yellow melons, I gathered up the inventory soon to be online and headed back to New England against a watermelon pink sunrise.

Arriving home I was startled to see how quickly peak foliage season is arriving in the hills. Soon the local autumn pleasures of fiery maple trees, apple cider and mountains of pumpkins will fill my senses and New Mexico will be a world away.
Until then, I will savor both.
Wishing you all the pleasures of this special season…

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