Mama Moon

I’m driving and the moon is out, one of those unreal but so real scenes that you often see in New Mexico: the moon rising just over the mountains and resting there.  The last stretches of day are to my left: a sunset in a darkening gold, red orange, yellow and blue. Powerful keep-on-going kind of colors.

Bishop’s Lodge Road is rocky red and snow covered at the edges.  Going uphill it stretches out, and around it, the land is elegant and sweeping.

As I get closer to Tesuque, the road narrows.  I pass snowed in ranches with their horses tucked away, pass the eaves of snow hanging on the trees, pass the extra fancy house with an eternal flame encased in glass outside the gates.  I go the winding roads until I hit it.   Hadn’t known this was where I was going, but once again, here I am. Shidoni.

Earlier this year, a summer evening when I was as itchy and restless as I am now, something led me here. I had recently moved back to Santa Fe from Boston. I was supposed to be doing an Artist Date as part of the Artist Way, which I was studying with three friends. The day had been a bomb, hours of staring at the computer screen and nothing coming.  So I got in the car and drove.  Past the ranches with horses in the pasture,  the stunning canopies of trees reaching from opposite sides of the road to meet in the middle.  Suddenly there it was, Shidoni– sculpture garden and glass blowing studio.

I hadn’t been in years, since a lazy stoned Sunday freshman year, with friends.  Couldn’t have told you how to get there if I tried. Yet there it was, more magnificent than I’d even remembered it, a spread of quirky and beautiful sculptures in the middle of nowhere. They were fascinating: the pair of steel giraffes; the woman reaching up out of her bronze box, huge and magnificent; the clothesline of steel socks and shirts; the dancing woman who was all curves and soft lines, fluid and graceful and reminding me of why I loved to dance.  It felt like a little gift from the Universe as though to say, here you go, someone heard you.

Tonight the field of sculptures is covered in snow. The gate is closed and I wonder for a moment if I should turn around. But no, I’m here for a reason. So I pretend to dig in my purse and wait til all the people who work there have left.

I see the great cow horn sculpture sitting in the middle of the field like something Georgia O’Keeffe could have imagined.   I zip my jacket up and walk past the gate, feet crunching down into the pristine white spread.  The silence is a welcoming one.  There is a sculpture of two dolphins raised high up on their tails and criss-crossing, their necks touching each other. It’s called “Reunion.”  I touch a dolphin tail to say hi.  Say hi too to the gigantic woman coming out of her bronze base, still there from before. Then over to another sculpture, where there are glittering ovals waving and turning, strung from wire. Then I see a huge piece of flattened bronze that looks like it’s been hammered flat, then curved in the middle.

The ground under it is still dry.  I sneak in and pull out my notebook.

The sky is dark now, and the moon is full and bright, risen up over the mountain and above the gift shop roof. Looking at it, I realize I’ve been making my way towards it the whole time– first driving, then walking in the field, now pausing to take it in. To just feel it. Like all of the movement, the busyness, the restlessness was driving me to this moment. This moment of pause. To regard the magic and majesty of this lunar light, rising up ahead prescient, a kind of peace.

How many times have I looked at this moon? In how many situations?

I walk and I stir and I dance all around and have this madness inside me that I try to keep quiet during the day. But at night, somehow I find the moon, and she settles me.   She draws the disparate energies in, solidifying them. One stream.  I can relax. Finally.

Hi Moon.  Hi Mama. Hi…

I want to break down and sink my knees into the snow but I lean against the tree to my left instead. Oh moon, Oh tree. I am such a mess. My head all torn up and crazy and unable to rest after hours of wondering what will happen with my lover-not-boyfriend, who I both am and am not in a relationship with. Ahhh…what do I do? Why do I get like this? So twisted up and confused and sad and sorry and distant feeling. I am walking on the ground, my feet crunching through the snow and beauty is all around me but I can’t fully feel it. I know my life is good, so good, but I feel crazy right now.

But without me saying much, I can hear her.

“Be still,” she says. “You are good. You are loved. You are making your way into new territory right now.  It is a time of change.”

Oh honey! I’ve seen it all, she always seems to say.


– Originally written Winter 2011



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