A Few Milestones for New Mexico in 2006


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20th Anniversary of The Collector’s Guide to Albuquerque·Santa Fe·Taos
25th Anniversary of the founding of the Santa Fe Society of Artists, Santa Fe
35th Annual International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque
35th Anniversary of Shidoni Foundry, Santa Fe
40th Anniversary of Palace of the Governors added to the Nat’l Registry of Historic Places, Santa Fe
45th Anniversary of the New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair, Albuquerque
50th Anniversary of the Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos
50th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Opera
55th Anniversary of the Traditional Spanish Market, Santa Fe
85th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Indian Market
85th Anniversary of the forming of Los Cinco Pintores, Santa Fe
90th Anniversary of Mabel Dodge Sterne (later Luhan) moving to Taos
300th Anniversary of the founding of the City of Albuquerque

I DIDN'T COUNT MILESTONES before we moved to New Mexico. Here we’ve marked legions of milestones in the simple passage of years—in the discoveries of the high desert; of mountain, drought and monsoons; of no mosquitos at sunset; of living, thundering cultures more ancient than the traceable parts of my own. Heart-quickening moments of watching the dances, feasting with old friends and new babies at Santo Domingo Pueblo; counting and marveling at the threads of a Navajo or Rio Grande weaving; learning to treasure water. Milestones all. And it’s all in the mind and senses of the New Mexico pilgrim.

Twenty years is a good marker and milestone: that’s when The Collector’s Guide was born as a true guidebook to the art of northern New Mexico. In those 20 years, some 34 stalwart art entities (galleries, artists, museums) have been in every volume of the Guide, more than that number have slid off the map, and countless others have been born or reconstituted. At 20, the Guide is still a youngster while our home city of Albuquerque is celebrating its 300th birthday. Imagine the milestones etched in the streets of this Tricentegenarian! In 1970, Albuquerque’s splendid Alvarado Hotel was torn down for wrong-headed reasons and today, in atonement, its form has been rebuilt as a hub for transportation. Everyone I know of a certain age has tales of white gloves and straw hats, tea sandwiches and genteel gossip at the stately Alvarado. In this milestone year of 2006, the Alvarado’s city, this place called “a city at the end of the world” by V.B. Price in his insightful book of that name, has a full-scale opera created in its honor. The opera, Time and Again Barelas by Miguel del Aguila, was commissioned by the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra for Albuquerque’s Tricentennial. It tells wild, fantastical tales of love and mayhem over a period of five hundred years in a fictional and historic Albuquerque. A milestone marking a milestone.

Our milestones also come from proximity to politics and to a mountain that has big secrets. They come from startling unearthings of pre-history as we travel to places still wild and achingly beautiful. In New Mexico, almost any real or spiritual journey is exhilarating or unnerving, steadying or flexibility-inducing. If you’re lucky, it’s all of those.

Even the animals of New Mexico, feral and domestic, accommodate us and become our milestones. Each sighting of a coyote, that icon of the southwest—not the faux coyote silhouette with kerchief, but the real one that gets fat on rabbits, lizards and unwary domestic pets—is still a milestone for me. The hummingbirds Piggy and Charlotte live forever in the milestone lore of our backyard: orphaned baby hummers we raised from the eggs, nursed and set free to perform tandem dives and gluttonous feasts for weeks in our food-rich garden. And one solitary morning, while walking along an arroyo in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, a flock of grey-white doves rose up in front of me, their wings squeaking. One of the doves, enthusiastic and proud to be one of the flapping flock, was a bright green parakeet. Milestone number 328. I love this place.

Pamela P Michaelis

Related Pages

Albuquerque: A City of Solitudes article

1879–1990 — An Arts Chronology article

Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos NM article

Early American Modernists in New Mexico article

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