21 October

Images Of Jesus Everywhere

by Jon Katz
Images of Jesus

Jesus is a central figure in recent Hispanic culture, images of him are everywhere, some beautiful and evocative, others grim and mournful. I am not conventionally religious, but I an admirer of Jesus and always eager to see portrays of him, even though he is seen in countless ways. At the Museum of Folk Art, there are hundreds of images of Jesus from all over the world, and I was drawn to this portrait of him, looking sad and mournful, perhaps because so many people evoke his name without understanding his message.

I don’t think of him as a joyous man, but as a sad and thoughtful and strong man. I don’t think he is crying for himself here, but at the suffering of the poor and the exploitation of the vulnerable. Everyone has their own idea.

21 October

Day Of The Dead. Coming To My Study

by Jon Katz
The Day Of The Dead

At the International Museum of Folk  Art in Santa Fe, they were celebrating the Day Of The Dead in Mexico, a holiday there honoring death and the spirits who have gone. They don’t hide from death there, they put it right out there in their colorful art, and that is a trip I can take. I got this painting and carving and am bringing it home to my study.

I love that they don’t hide from death, as we do, but dance in the streets about it. And I love that this spirit has found love, as I have.

I got my daughter Emma a Day Of The Dead doll, it’s a weird gift, but she is weird, like me. I think she’ll like it I love mine.

21 October

Georgia O’Keefe And Self: Take A Minute To Look…

by Jon Katz
Santa Fe: Maria At The Georgia O’Keefe Museum

Everybody has their own reasons for vacationing, their own patters, and choices. We tend to go on pilgrimages,  consciously or not, and since we don’t really know how to rest, our form of relaxation seems to a search for self.

Creativity brought Maria and I together and keeps our bond strong. We nourish our spirits in this way, and since vacations are very new to us, we are still learning how to do it.

On this vacation, Georgia O”Keefe, her work and spirit, seems to be what we were looking for, what we want to explore and share together. Seeing Maria in the Georgia  O’Keefe museum today was a joy, her wide eyes, scribbling in her sketchpad, discovering something that lights her up and makes her shiver, freeze, or even cry.

There are few people I could stand to be with for 10 days  and nights, or who could stand to be with me, but that time is never hard for us, never enough. We have our quiet times, but we never seem to run out of things to wonder at, laugh about,  notice or talk about.

At the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, we saw so many of her brilliant works, she did wonderful work almost all of her life,  we were filled with awe and excitement and inspiration. We were unhappy to come to an end of the exhibits, and went back through them a second time, a vitamin for the soul. We have already been to Ghost Ranch and her studio in Abiquiu. The studio and her last home were the heart of our trip so far, and the small villages and towns we have been exploring. The cities don’t really work for us, an interesting twist in our lives.

O’Keefe’s life touches both of us in different ways. Her art of course, but also the way in which she stopped letting people – mostly men – control her life and her art – and went to New Mexico to find herself. There she became one of the greatest and most admired artists in the world, and when you see the places that inspired her, it is easier to understand why.

She knew where to go to find her true self. I think we did the same thing, we didn’t go to the other side of the country, we stayed right where we were. Our true selves are right where we are in our small town, and we will be happy to return to them, as we are loving every day of our pilgrimage.

She may not have been especially likeable or soft, but her genius grew in the beautiful landscape there.

Maria and I are always searching for self, given than both of us had lost ourselves and nearly given up on life when we both met. This work, sometimes called awakening or affirmation or hero journey, is never done,and constantly needs nourishment and resurrection and yes, awakening.

Somehow, in one another, we each were helped and encouraged to find our true selves, and we work every day to be  healed, to be strong, to know who we are. I think we know by now that we will never really get there, it is about the journey, not the pot of gold.

This is the first true vacation we have ever had together for various reasons. We are fortunate, in that we are both looking for the same thing in different ways and for different reasons. We will return home Wednesday refreshed, if not ever relaxed. And fortunate to be alive, and have our work to do, and one another.

We don’t really care to devour the history of every place, or see the places everyone else goes. We make good travelers, but lousy tourists. At the beautiful George O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, we had that sense of purpose and meaning in our lives, that sense of wonder inside of us that is the focal point of our lives.

We walked down the historic district, and had that Taos feeling, throngs of tourists, and lots of selling.  We didn’t need to see that, we made our way to Museum Hill and the International Folk Art Museum.

At the O’Keefe museum I got  thin bracelet that has an inscription: “Take A Minute To Look.” We are doing that.

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