The mornings are cool and crisp in Taos. I have risen again at dawn to attempt to add some longevity to my life. My leg muscles are tight as I begin my walk towards Kit Carson Park.
I have been attending a writer’s retreat at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s digs and conference center. Much history exists here. Not with just the life of Mabel and how she began, resided, and died here, but also with the many previous writing retreats that have come to pass and the teachers who have lead them on their journey. I have found it a privilege to have shared a week with so many talented, diverse writers. All have common ground in medicine in one form or another. All come from various parts of the country. I consider them all my new friends.
As I walk down the narrow, paved street to get to the entrance to the park, I see the many “no trespassing” signs along the way. It reminds me of Montana, where I grew-up. So much to possess and you are not allowed to set foot on the land. In certain places in Montana, they will chase you off the land at gunpoint, like my Aunt Helen did one day to my brother when he wanted to go hunting on her place. I guess there is perceived power in ownership!
I enter Kit Carson Park and begin my journey around the large park. It seems quieter today. Not as many people walking. As I come around the bend toward the amphitheater, I hear a loud outburst. Oh, it’s just the homeless guy with the black cape again. He is standing with 3 other men around a picnic table. These people live in this park at night. I see them here every day. I wonder what their stories are. I see him with a cigarette and hear his terrible loose cough. Hmmm, not a healthy person. I saw him a few days ago with what looked like a mandolin case. I wonder, does he play? I don’t see that case today. For some reason I am not afraid of these guys. They are like another fixture in the park, as if they belong there. They ignore me and I ignore them. I keep walking at my quick pace.
I round the corner and come upon the Kit Carson cemetery. Kit Carson; “Scout, Citizen, Soldier” reads the inscription. Mabel Dodge Luhan is buried here too. I think about what my Dad always called cemeteries, and smile to myself. Yep, this definitely was another Bone Yard.
I think back to my first day here last Sunday not quite knowing what to expect as I have never attended a writer’s retreat. A comment from one of my fellow writers yesterday made me think about our diverse backgrounds. He remembers wondering if the group was going to be cohesive or not. As it turns out, we are a diverse group that accepts one another. We have fun sharing and don’t hesitate to share deeply. That’s it! One of the writers, Deborah, has this saying, “It is what it is”! It truly is what it is!
As I continue past the Bone Yard, I start to laugh. I watch a sprinkler watering the grass in between the headstones and I am thinking, “These are well-watered souls”.