An update from Valerie, a junior majoring in studio art and journalism, with a minor in French, who is interning at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos:

A giant old tree at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house

As my time in Taos is coming to a close, I’ve been trying to put my finger on the key thing I’m going to take away from this place. At the start of the month it seemed like I had endless time sprawled out ahead of me, but now that I sit here writing on my second to last night here I can’t help but think how time has escaped from me. Between my 10 to 4 internship and exploring with friends, I haven’t really spent much time sitting still. Oddly enough, I think this is exactly what I’m going to take away from Taos. I call it the Mañana effect.

One of the many beautiful views from a town outside of Taos

Chatting over a nice dinner earlier this evening with Professor Flournoy and fellow students, we discussed our personal experiences in Taos and talked about everything from plans for the future to campus gossip. When I reflected on my time in Taos it struck me that one thing that really stood out about the people here is their attitude. Maybe it’s the artistic outlook of the town or the consistent weather out here, but it seems to me that most people aren’t too worried about anything. Thus, the Mañana effect, which means tomorrow, as in: “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” By contrast, Dallas is a fast-paced city full of lots of people with lots of commitments, busy lives and full planners. This leads to stress. And where has stress ever really gotten anybody?

The Santuario de Chimayo church, famous for its pilgrimages and healing powers

I think many people move out here to Taos to escape their hectic pace. Upon visiting the Mabel Dodge Luhan house with my class yesterday, I wondered why in the world a New York socialite would ever want to move out to the middle of the desert in New Mexico to marry a Native American Indian back in the 1820s. Maybe she just wanted to take it easy for a while. And Mabel wasn’t the only one. Starting in the 1800s Taos became the home of a rapidly growing community of artists and thinkers who put Taos on the map, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, who came to visit and stayed.  It’s easy to see why. For an artist, unrestricted time allows for creative flow.

Being out here, I have learned that some things can wait. It doesn’t hurt to take your time and stop worrying so much. I don’t mean that it’s OK to procrastinate on assignments or wait until the last minute to make important decisions. Adopting the Mañana attitude of Taos means to take a little time from busy schedules now and again to relax and do whatever makes you happy.

Wishing you all a fantastic summer!

One of Taos’ many glorious sunsets