Reflection in the Mirror


Taos Mountain.  There’s a legend that if the mountain wants you to stay in Taos you will.  If it doesn’t want you to stay you’ll leave.

In my dream I was walking down long a darkly lit staircase in a old house.  There was a big mirror in a fancy, thick, gold frame on the wall.  When I touched the frame, the whole mirror came off the wall.  It broke, but didn’t shatter, and I was left holding a piece of the frame and mirror, only big enough to see the refection of my face in. 

Using the map from the visitors center, Jon and I found our way to the Blumenschein Museum in a neighborhood in downtown Taos, New Mexico.  Taos has some wonderful museum’s with both historic and contemporary art,  but the house of  Ernest and Mary Blumenschein, made into a museum by their daughter Helen, is my favorite.

A painter, Ernest Blumenschein came to Taos in 1898 when the wheel on his wagon broke.  He stayed and eventually his wife and daughter came too.  Other artists came to visit him and many of them stayed. Taos became an artist’s colony.

Jon and I knew something was off as we walked up to the museum and didn’t see any people.  There was a sign on the door saying it was closed for three days in October.  That day was one of them.

I was disappointed, I wanted Jon to see the museum that I loved so much.  But our time in New Mexico already had a mystical quality to it.  Things seemed to fall into place, even if it wasn’t how we had expected.  So I figured that the museum was closed for a reason, I just had to come to understand it.

The Blumenschein Museum is the house that Ernest, Mary and their daughter Helen lived in.  It’s set up with the same furniture and paintings as when they all lived there.  What I remember about the house is that it felt real, lived in and had a warmth about it.

Ernest and Mary were both artists and were supportive of each other.  They lived a creative life together focused on their work  and hosting other artists in their home.  Their daughter Helen became a painter too.

Sixteen years ago, I lived in Taos with my now ex-husband  and  visited the museum. I loved it so much because I could feel the creativity, support, love and energy that the home and all its belongings still emanated.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the museum captured the creative life of Ernest and Mary that I wanted for myself and didn’t have at the time I first visited it.

And as much as I wanted to show it to Jon, I knew we didn’t really need to see it.  Because we were living it.

I had the dream about the mirror the night before we went to Taos.  I see now that it was showing me who I have become.  Leaving the old me behind.  Who I am, simply, is the face I see reflected back to me in the mirror.

I now have what I felt and desired so acutely when I visited the Blumenshein Museum all those years ago.

As we drove out of Taos, we stopped at a stand where a man was selling gems and rocks.  Jon bought me a staurolite, a rock found only a few places in the world, Taos being one of them.  I held the dense black rock in its natural shape of a cross, studded with tiny garnets, my birthstone,  in my hand.

This is the heart of Taos, I thought.  The rest is only memories.

The Staurolite  Jon bought me.

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