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Life in the Primo 500: Walk in beauty

The line of demarcation between New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah does not exist in my Primo 500. But I’ve been known to draw a line in the sand — when the mercury doesn’t rise at first light.

So, this morning — coatless, and nary a stick — I’m taking pictures in the Piedra Lumbre Land Grant area near Abiquiu.

Earlier, the red-orange bluffs by the Ghost Ranch burned hot in the camera lens while I counted my blessings that I was born, and have remained, in an area as diverse as ours. Every day, everywhere, I have my pick of beauty.

“Walk in beauty, daughter” say my friends on the Navajo Reservation, when they encourage me to be in harmony with everything and everyone.

I’m trying.

“May I take a picture of your crosses to post on the Primo 500 website,” I asked David Montoya of Lumberton, N.M., when I stopped at his house for a cup of coffee, and a couple of his wife’s biscochitos. Irene, daughter of J. Abelino and Geraldine Valdez of Dulce, bakes some of the best biscochitos I have ever eaten. But I found David making some noteworthy crosses out of elk antlers, and it didn’t take long for my photo finger to start itching. Click. Click. The V Montoya, he calls himself. It’s the sound of his name, in Spanish. I sure got a kick out of that.

I have learned — and it’s been a long, hard learning that I haven’t quite mastered — that there is no need to offend, ever. So, “May I take a picture for the Primo 500 website?” is my latest approach to walking in beauty. I say it for pictures, and for print, albeit differently.

“Will you ask Patrick if he’ll write a story for the Guest Writers section of the Primo 500 website,” I asked my sister, Annette. Patrick recently completed a degree in aerospace engineering, and he’s working a lot of overtime in Denver in his chosen field, but I never want him to forget that he is a writer of the finest quality. Thankfully, he agreed. In addition, I received permission to feature a story he wrote in 2008 about driving down the dirt roads in the Fawcett Gulch area with his beloved grandpa, the late Sy Candelaria.

And now, a little bit of news about the red chili (chile?) sales for the Marquez girls’ CD: I was able make contact with the same chili company that produced the red chili powder for the EVHS Mariachi group, and to download the paperwork for the taxation and revenue departments in the Primo 500 area where most of the sales will take place but, at this time, the Marquez girls are praying about whether or not they even want to join me in this venture to record a CD.

They’re praying very hard, and for good reason.

Most recording artists in the Primo 500 area spend upward of $7,000 the first time they record a CD, and they hardly ever recoup their costs.

So, why do they do it?

Mostly, to conserve the “Northern New Mexico Music” that we’ve heard since we were in the womb, and to advertise. So, clearly, recording a CD is a major commitment of time and money that the Marquez’ girls aren’t sure they have, and it’s complicated by the fact that the girls are spread out from Pagosa Springs to Kirtland.

So, the girls are praying.

I’m praying, too.

“Lord, help us walk in beauty.”

Know you are loved.

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