Autumn here in Missouri means oak, maple and sumac, but I found New Mexico’s autumn shades equally as lovely as my trees. The fall was appearing in shades of saffron, lemon, gold, and dashes of orange and umber. Cactus, cottonwood, and shimmering aspens were the scenery. Mile after mile we were in awe of the colors and growth in the high dessert areas.
New Mexico is also dotted by pink adobe chapels and churches, some 200 years old. When the Spaniards brought Christianity to the area, churches appeared everywhere. Some are glorious pieces of architecture like the cathedral near the Santa Fe square; others are simple mud-like walls with simple wooden benches and hand carved saints. On previous visits we had seen the chapel with the miraculous staircase, Santa Fe’s first little church, and the cathedral. We did revisit the St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral again, a fantastic piece of work done in French influenced architecture. Inside on a side altar sits a Madonna that was hand carried from Spain when the Spaniards first came to the area. She is adorned in rich garments and taken out to parade through the streets once a year.
On the high road to Taos we also stopped in to see the Santuario de Chimayo. This is a simple adobe church known for holy dirt that does miraculous healing. A cross was found in the dirt and a priest built a church next to that spot in 1856, and visitors may take some of the dirt from the holy spot where the cross was found. Inside the church, many people pray and light candles. There are Santos and painting that reek of age and smoky years.Autumn here means oak, maple and sumac, but I found New Mexico’s autumn shades equally as lovely as my trees. The fall was appearing in shades of saffron, lemon, gold, and dashes of orange and umber. Cactus, cottonwood, and shimmering aspens were the scenery. Mile after mile we were in awe of the colors and growth in the high desert areas.
Near the border of Colorado in Questa another adobe church dedicated to St. Anthony was build it in the 1840’s. This one is also simple and small, but has no touristy qualities. This is the one I wanted to go inside, but it was boarded up for reconstruction. A local lady told me there was dissension in the people as some wanted it saved while others wanted it destroyed and replaced with a new building. Questa was a tiny berg, far away from artists, tourists, and condominiums. The area looked like folks there had a hard-scrabble life beating a living out of the dry, sandy earth. It was a simple place but an intriguing area. It was near the church that we found the most beautiful field of wild asters in a quiet valley. We lingered long looking at the natural loveliness.