Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Adobe Coffeehouses and Hot Springs

Sitting in front of World Cup Espresso Cafe in Taos at the corner of Paseo del Pueblo Sur and Kit Carson, watching the traffic and the other people sitting on the bench staring out rather blankly towards the intersection, with intermittent conversation interrupting the meditation. There's not a cloud in the sky, so far as I can see from here in the shade behind the spiral-carved tree trunks supporting the awning of the World Cup. Passing pedestrians present a variety of people drawn to this locale and local to it, from wild-west long-hairs to poncho and Prada-toting New Yorkers, Spanish children of the Conquistadors and Taos Pueblo descendants of the Anazasi, who have lived here for a thousand years. The little hogan-style store that sells strings of chiles swinging in the breeze and roasted chiles around harvest time is still open, a dozen or two garlands of red peppers pendulously swaying and shimmering in the sunshine.

I much miss Cafe Tazza, though I was told it might (again) reopen. With a courtyard next to a bookstore surrounded by an adobe wall, as well as ample seating, it was a sure place to meet the local color. The Coffee Spot, formerly known as The Bean, is still open for business, as are the Mesa hippies who sit in the yard to the side of the coffeehouse sometimes selling Taos Big Bud and other strains of home-grown cultivated across the Rio Grand Gorge in a community of earthships and broken down school buses that has been affectionately described as “the largest free-range insane asylum in North America.”

Dinner and Hanuman Chalisas at the Temple last night blessed my soul, as every visit ventured to said sacred place, a Hindu ashram in the high desert of New Mexico. The new Mandir (temple), which unfortunately won't be open until Hanuman Jayanti (the celebration of Hanuman's Birthday), bears a dome surrounded by windows, and I'm supposing does correspond to the parameters proffered by tradition. An ornate carved wooden double door evocative of both Indian temple doors and southwest Spanish inspired style graces the entrance to what shall surely be site of many blissful mantras intoned and many epiphanies and blessings bestowed by the Monkey God and other expressions of the Divine. The current temple room and house for Hanuman will always hold a sacred place in my memories, but the new Mandir will certainly serve better as a sacred space for the satsang.

A silver-haired silver-bearded long-hair with a crumpled and stained cowboy hat just strode by with a cane and leashes in hand, with two happy dogs in tow (else perhaps leading the way). A pretty and smartly dressed brunette wearing a pair of large sunglasses just passed and smiled, and I'm not disinclined to believe twas Julia Roberts, though I will admit I've been sort of expecting to see her here in Taos. The other day, sitting in my motor home and smoking a spiked cigarette and a bowl and likely sipping on my hash pen, I thought a woman walking by on the sidewalk on Paseo and chatting with a companion sounded like her, too, I must admit, though I am fairly certain I did see her once at the Hanuman Temple, her hair covered in a scarf drawn loosely around her face as a seeming slight attempt at disguise, as she's touted to be a devotee of the Guru of the house.
The woman in question just emerged from the coffeehouse, and I'm slightly bummed to note it was not Julia Roberts, alas . . .

Next day, and surprise:  I'm sitting at another coffeehouse, Taos Java. I parked da beast in the Walyworld parking lot across the street last night to endeavor to maintain some semblance of a low profile, as parking on the main drag in a 24 foot motor home too many nights in a row, despite likely not illegal in terms of the parking, might be in terms of the camping. I used to, duly I might note, very much diss on Walmart, as their labor policies have been and almost certainly still are rather unfair to the workers (if not relatively atrocious) and their goods too often come at the cost of human rights abuses, though they did raise the starting wage of workers to $11/hour recently. The goods they bring to some communities do allow a slightly higher standard of living, to some, though the presence of a Walmart almost always means a loss of some local businesses. They do, most often, provide free overnight parking, a service to gypsie-style folks like me as well as to families and retirees on vacation, though obviously with the intention of garnishing more of those people's business. Lastly, I might note that the trust-funds that I live on, lest my book sales do increase, are derived from money made from my paternal grandfather having invested in Walmart since the 80s, as he was from Arkansas and saw Sam Walton as just a good businessman from his home state who provided access to an array of goods they might not have already had in their communities. Like so much in life, an ironic mixture of blessings and curses, justice and wrongs seems to make the world go 'round, and for me, keeps my wheels rollin'.

Taos Java is a comfortable little coffeehouse. A wooden French door cut with a sensuous curve at the seem where they meet opens into an L shaped room with half a dozen rustic log tables and however many rustic log chairs and a counter to one side. As with many traditional adobe buildings, rows of log beams hold up the ceiling, and curved passageways and corners give the rust-red painted walls a softer feel than the choice of color might otherwise. More than comfortable enough space to sip a coffee or cappuccino and read a book or pen one.

The midterm election was the day-before-yesterday, and it seems some semblance of balance has returned to “the Force” in regards to American politics. Control of the House is back in the hands of the Democrats, and I feel as if a weight has lifted across the land, if still threatening to burden us if we, the people, don't continue the fight to get or keep our respective heads out of our asses.

I'm considering returning to Manby/Stagecoach Hot Spring today or tomorrow, though the weekend weather forecast calls for snow. The springs sit next to the Rio Grand, a mile or two hike down into the Gorge, allowing one to sit in steaming hot mineral water with naught but a row of rocks seperating you from the icy torrent of the river.  When I was there a few days ago, a herd of bighorn sheep graced the bathers below with a show on the cliffs of the gorge above, one pair of young rams stood intermittently grazing and staring at us from just across the river and a few dozen feet up the side of the gorge. 

I'm ready to sit in the healing waters again already, but Sunday is Chalisa chanting and Indian food feast day at the Hanuman Temple, however, and I don't wanna get stuck in the snow at the end of Tune Road, so I'll likely wait out the weather and go back to the springs next week, and wander the wonderland of winding roads and adobe of Taos until then to see what wonder and magic I might meet...