Lydia in Taos

Lydia is a sophomore President’s Scholar with a double major in Spanish in Dedman College and theater studies in Meadows School of the Arts. She is spending the June 2009 term in SMU-in-Taos, where she will be taking plant biology and acting scene study. Then she plans to visit the city of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where her sister works with the nonprofit Food for the Hungry.

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Last weekend in Taos: Hot springs and two-stepping

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When I was in Taos this past spring working with Habitat for Humanity on one of SMU’s Alternative Spring Break trips, we attempted to find one of the many hot springs along the base of the Rio Grande Gorge. However, we turned around on an almost empty tank after spending about an hour driving around and around in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, I wanted to correct our past failure during my month in Taos this summer.

And I proudly report success! Where we went is not far from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a popular tourist site and a spectacular view. About a lovely half-mile hike leads down from the parking lot to the hot springs, and oh how “Hot” they were! Man, my skin was just scorched from the lukewarmness of the algae-filled water … I took to peeling the algae off the side of the rock and playing with it in the water like I was 3 years old again, covered in suds and playing with my soggy ABC Bathtub letters…

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But anyways, perhaps more heated than the water was the conversation I found myself having with a middle-age man perched on his cooler just next to the water.

He nonchalantly stated, “I have an inquisitive mind…”

Already my interest was peaked, thinking, “Oh, do you?”

He continued, “Where do you guys think we are going?”

Umm… “You mean, the country? The government?”

“Anything, the question is out there.”

OK. This is gonna be good.

Sarah and Jordan gave their spiels on the world, and he responded with, “I don’t know what’s happened to us, you know? I mean, if you work for something then you should get what you worked for. If you put something out into the world, it should come back to you. It’s gonna come back to you. It’s like karma you know?… you’re gonna get energy.”

“Energy?”

“Yeah, energy. That should be the exchange in our economy. Energy.”

Hmmm, I’m thinking. “Energy. Can you eat it?”

“No, but it’ll keep you warm in the winter.”

“Oh, so you mean electricity.”

“No, energy.”

Right, of course. Silly me.

“Because the calendar tells us that some day long ago this guy died on the cross, and he payed our debts. So we shouldn’t have to pay any more debts, it’s all just a con.”

“Actually Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for a sense of spiritual debt, not the economic debt involved in capitalism.”

At this point Emilee is piling algae-covered rocks on Jordan’s leg, and trying hard not to laugh.

There was more, I assure you, but this blog is already long enough. I just find myself thinking, “Oh, the people you meet when you travel.” They certainly make things interesting!

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Saturday night we went two-stepping at an old wheat mill in Cleveland, N.M., about an hour from Taos. The mill itself used to be incredibly popular with the farmers, and was well-equipped to make white bread – all the oat and bran and “nasty” stuff went to the hogs. Pretty sure they ate better than the people did. But hey, wonderbread was wildly popular in my youth, so who can judge?

IMG_5073.JPG Every year the man who owns the mill, Dan Cassidy, holds an evening of barbecue and dancing. It was sooooooooo much fun!! There I was being swung about by the men in their cowboy boots and cowboy hats, thanking my stars that some friends had taught me to two-step, because it is incredibly delightful! Oh, the sweat!! With the sound of the brook mingled with the life of the band, we danced the night away. I cannot think of a better way to have spent my last weekend in Taos.

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