Monday, July 14, 2014

The Annual Taos Pueblo Pow-Wow — 29th Edition

It is cool and cloudy, the sun a silver ball rising behind the mountain. At 5:36 coffee, and soon we are on our trek, up and over the mountain headed to Taos, a about an hour away. We climb. On the way we see a hitchhiker and stop. He is from Boston, hiking all the way, to see a friend in Taos. His name is Shenandoah. He is as sunburned as a summer berry

We drop him off at the Taos library, get coffee at a cofee shop, and look around. It is a beautiful day — a beautiful day for the 29th annual Taos Pueblo Pow-Wow!

A couple of muffins later we are at the admissions gate. The sky is deep blue above us and the gathering crowd of early arrivers.

Warrior or Dancer? 
Gourd dancing is first, a warm-up to the later serious dance competition that will follow in the afternoon.

The drums beat a steady rhythm.

"The drum is the heartbeat of the Earth," the announcer says. "The mountains, streams, forests and trees, all of nature are her Bible." 
The drumming rises into the air above the crowd from a half-dozen drum circles, groups of five or six men sitting around one large drum, pounding in unison. Later the drummers will sing, traditional pueblo songs, in high rhythmic voice for the competition.

Two dancers confer
The grand entrance begins

Colorful costumes

Dancers carry numbers 

Color guard and entrance into pavilion
There is a magic to the dancing it seems to be. As the afternoon builds so do massing clouds in what had been a clear blue heaven. The power of dance?

Younger dancers ...
... embrace and expand on tradition

With the closing of the dancing, dark clouds amass and soon the rain begins
We drive back the next day. In the rain the mountains glisten. Fir trees are likes Christmas trees with light reflecting water drops as ornaments. The land is timeless and tired. Ranches are struggling. Condominiums on the slopes are out of place. 

I remember the dancers. Old ways, new ways collide in eternal regeneration. 

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