When we got here, one of the first brochures he spotted was advertising a writers’ festival. Since he knows I’m not a big-time shopper, he knew this would be exactly what I'd want to do.
Because Friday’s first reading didn’t start until 4:30, I had plenty of time to stroll around Santa Fe’s beautiful downtown. The place is almost an embarrassment of arts and culture – there’s far too much to take in on one short trip. Still, I did my best.
Although it’s probably best known as Georgia O’Keeffe territory, the galleries, museums and shops here are filled with all sorts of treasures. The handmade quilt in the photo above was only one of the many spectacular items I saw.
Walking through an underground mall of gallery shops, I spotted a number of fine Japanese prints. Falling into conversation with the shop owner, I learned that he was hoping to travel to Japan – and that when there, he hoped to make a documentary, revisiting sites referred to by the famous haikuist, Basho.
From there, it was on to the New Mexico History Museum, site of the writers’ fest. Owing to cold and rainy weather, the readings had been moved indoors, to a room holding an exhibit called From a Distant Road. It’s a remarkable exhibit of modern haiga by Santa Fe poet, John Brandi. The exhibit is rounded out by photographs from New Mexico’s Photo Archives, and these in turn are matched with excerpts from the work of – who else – Basho.
It was beginning to feel like an abundance of those serendipitous signs I love receiving; they always make me feel as though I’m in the right place at the right time. This feeling was only confirmed by the readers who followed.Besides reading from her beautiful book, My Thin-Skinned Wandering, (even the title seems Basho-like), Piper Leigh showed us a kimono she had made. The kimono itself is a poem; the text is embedded within the sheer cloth – a gorgeously innovative way to present the work. More of what she'd probably call a "high-touch artifact" (a term she used in describing her book).
Then, when the next reader, Renée Gregorio (one member of the group Tres Chicas) stepped up, she took me only further into my day of happenstance. In fact, the coincidences were getting so thick, the day was beginning to feel like one of those Russian nesting dolls. She thanked the audience, then indicated her comfort in the venue, pointing out that the poet/artist whose work adorned the walls is her husband.
Today’s skies are blue, and the crows are calling for me to come out and play. Really, how can I possibly say no to them?