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Full Moon, February 2023

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Credit to: Frances E. Vandal

After the holidays, January’s dailiness, as a friend calls it, settled in Santa Fe. The tourists left and the streets became quieter. More snow arrived and temperatures fell with occasional days of little wind and more warmth from the sun melting the snow.

Maddie and I continued our walks through the neighborhoods, and on one of them we sighted a coyote loping through junipers along the perimeter of someone’s fenceless yard. She had a full body and a coat in shades of tan and burnished red with flecks of black. She was alone as were we with no one else on the gravel street. We looked at each other. And we went on our ways.

In the neighborhood where we live we occasionally meet others, like the coyote, as we walk. Often the adobe walls hide the houses or the houses seem closed with shades drawn. It is as we go towards town a quarter mile up the road that we come to a small park. It is called Rose Park with a carefully tended rose garden at one end and a park area with huge cottonwoods and pines, including a giant sequoia lovingly called La Secuoya by locals. Maddie and I go there often. We meet young families, a group of elders dressed in black practicing Tai Ch’i, an acrobatic and circus team rehearsing, and several other dogs with their owners. This is a favorite park for the shade from the trees and the expanse of grass, much appreciated in Santa Fe where parks may be dry and less shaded.

On the south end of the park the remnants of an 80 year old cottonwood is marked by its trunk cut close to the ground. Tiny offerings of rocks, flowers, a toy left by a child, often surround or lay on it. For weeks before the tree was brought down a local group committed to poetry and the protection of pollinators met near the temporary fence around it and discussed what would happen with the cottonwood. It had become ill with fungal infections, possibly dying, and with its nearly 75 foot height and huge branches, the city felt it was now dangerous and needed to come down.

On the morning of its cutting a ceremony of a dozen or so people met in the park as the city workers came in with their equipment and tools. Later after it was down another ceremony was held as two young oaks were planted by the cottonwood remnant, spaced on either side. The poetry group was given part of the old cottonwood which they commissioned a local artist to sculpt and create a bee hotel within it. A local poet was also commissioned to write a poem to the cottonwood and its service now as a haven for solitary bees to lay their larva while they pollinate. The bee hotel now stands near the Santa Fe River.

At the park the remaining trees stand tall and splendid giving their shade and solace throughout the seasons, even more valued with the changing climate. They continue to give a home to insects, and nesting and roosting places for all kinds of birds. Sometimes a lone raven can be seen perched on the very top of La Secuoya.

While a new space exists where the sky is bigger than it had been before.

Karen Weber

Copyright @ KarenWeber 2023

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