We drove up to sunny Santa Fe today from a very overcast Albuquerque (about 65 miles) to meet some friends at the SWAIA (Southwest Association of Indian Artists) for their Winter Market. It is held at the Sweeny Center (built on the original site of Tesuque Pueblo) and the big room is full of Native American artists who work in every media.

I don’t have the $$$ to buy their lovely work, but this is a great opportunity to get hugs from all the friends I’ve made over the 28 years I’ve been here that are gathered in this one place this weekend. We chat about what we’ve been doing and are going to do, and it’s a great time to catch up. It is very chilly outside, but in here it is warm and wonderful.

This year there was a silent auction of 4′ artificial Christmas trees, donated and decorated by the artists. One of my friends, Sheridan MacKnight, won a gorgeous red & green ribbon for her tree, hung with the delicate, painted white buckskin earrings she makes.

Some of these busy folk will be in New York next weekend for the Arts & Crafts Fair at the Heye Center, the NY venue for the Smithsonian Indian Museum. After fond farewells we drove back to Albuquerque and home.

Other people were going home, too.

This morning when we were driving north up the I-25 we began to notice the preponderance of licence plates from Colorado. At first it didn’t make sense, but then we realized these must be people hurrying back home after spending Thanksgiving with relatives or friends in Albuquerque. It’s only about a 7 hr drive so lots of people do it fairly regularly. Out here where there isn’t much but scenery in between the large towns, distances are just something to connect them. In England I would hesitate to drive 130 miles round trip to go to dinner, but here we do it without thinking. We do have a train now, but the schedule is erratic and not always convenient, and although very cheap, it takes nearly an hour longer.

Coming south on the way home I saw one car returning to Albuquerque with skis stored on the roof; the first sign that skiing has begun. Not yet on the Eastern slopes of our local Sandia Mountains, but we expect more snow before long, and as long as our famous sun doesn’t melt it too quickly, this bodes well for the Spring snowmelt. Fingers crossed; we need the water.

And remember, if any of you think of coming to New Mexico in the winter, be warned. The sun is bright, but it can be verrrrry cold. We are high desert, not Sarahan.




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