Our journey across the Southwest becomes a more powerful spiritual journey each day. Through the people we meet, and the stories that are shared with us, the more each of us see bits of ourselves in these women. They share stories of rebellion, of being headstrong, they tell us about how they broke the rules, or didn’t do what was expected of them, or how they followed their heart and their calling to create the things they knew had to be done. In the case of Georgia O’Keefe and Millicent Rogers, other people shared their stories for them. Each and every woman we’ve met (men too!) has, as expected, caused us to look back within ourselves and evaluate our own journeys. Have we found our passions like these women have? Have we found our own calling in life?
Our discovery of New Mexico’s women began at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico where I officially became an O’Keeffe groupie. Deborah Stone sat with us in on the patio on a gorgeous Santa Fe day and began with giving us an overview of the life of Georgia O’Keefe. We caught the O’Keeffe museum during the Hawaii art and Ansel Adam’s (a good friend of O’Keeffe) photography exhibition, curated by a director in Hawai’i. Georgia O’Keeffe was a rebel who did just what she wanted, when she wanted.
“I have a single track mind. I work on an idea for a long time. It is like getting acquainted with a person, and I don’t get acquainted easily,” O’Keeffe said in 1962.
Deborah pointed out O’Keeffe’s love of the vortex in her art, and her love/hatred for the color green. She explained that her flower paintings are the need to give a close up shot of something, much like photography is able to do. There was a bookshelf full of her cookbooks, because apparently she was a bit of a health nut and well, a woman after my own heart. And she was very healthy and conscious of what she ate. She often wore black, kymono style clothing and didn’t allow people to photograph her as she worked, that was her space and her time. She was a private person.Who enjoyed people on her own time. And so we were told, if she liked you, she’d give you a rock.
I found myself wanting to dawn colorful flowy skirts of turquoise and orange. I didn’t make it out of New Mexico without a pair of turquoise earrings. I wanted to blend into the colors of New Mexico, too. Particularly there I could feel the artistic and spiritual pull apparently through the water, my artistic side started to tug at me again, I wanted to paint and create too!
We made a quick stop in the Collected Works bookstore, where I also came across a hardcover copy of Life in Full , whose co-author Nita Murphy we were going to meet the next day. The bookstore and coffeeshop was owned by a mother and daughter team Dorothy Massey and Mary Wolf. The store housed an amazing collection of books including Southwest specific books and its own little coffee shop with a couch and seating area.
By 6:00 PM we were very ready for dinner at the Cowgirl BBQ and Museum, which welcomed us with a chalkboard sign reading, “Welcome Whiskey Sisters” and Liz Lombardi, who was singing as we arrived. They also prepared our own whiskey menu for our arrival!
Aliza ordered the bourbon basted salmon (a grain free) option, I ordered the vegetarian quesadilla, and Melissa chose the hamburger. Green chili was the favorite, and added on to our fondue cheese dip as a special intro appetizer. For dessert they prepared a sweet bread pudding with whiskey sauce for us. To our surprise, Sean Ashby played following Liz Lombardi. Sean Ashby is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who has performed with Sarah McLachlan, but also is working on his own playing and touring. He melted my heart a little when he started playing Blackbird (I immediately thought back to the movie I Am Sam). I remember thinking before we saw him, “who is this guy, setting up some six different guitars!” We knew he meant business when he set up his steal guitar and carefully placed at least 5 other guitars which he all played himself that night. It was Sean Ashby, of course!
Next we made our way to the La Fonda Lounge. Cathy Faber rocked the stage front and center with herCountry Swingin’ Band. Some of the ladies had on their dancing shoes that night and were swung around the dance floor. Cathy certainly knew how to win the crowd, dolled up in bright colors and rockin’ a bass guitar as big as she is, the room was full with country dancers two stepping and waltzing into the warm Wednesday night.
Onward to Taos.