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Full Moon November, 2022

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Credit to: Frances E. Vandal

Through my kitchen window I can see the waxing moon as it arcs across the sky. It is bright and nearly full. On this particular night the celebration of Dios de Muertos has just passed – and Santa Fe has its first snow. Night winds and snow will continue through the morning.

Maddie is restless, as am I, while the three Chinese elms next to our house are loud with the tossing of their branches. At times the wind is fierce. We wait in the dark to hear if one of the branches will break free and fly against the window, cracking open our small world. The winds have become more frequent, stronger and lasting longer.

Late into the night we hear a pack of coyotes howling and yelping, and then the sudden silence.

The night passes slowly and when I can no longer lay in bed, I step outside to open the back gate and secure the bird feeders. It is very cold. The sky is just starting to lighten and silver banks of clouds with the barest touch of pink along their edges appears. The morning sun is soon to rise.

The yard is shadowed but the growing light shows the feathery tops of the dying chamisa flowers amid those which still hold their yellow blooms. The ground is covered in shades of brown from the grasses going to seed. There are still some birds appearing on the branches and bird feeders though they are muted and smaller. The orb weavers and their webs which had lined both corners of the patio overhang have disappeared. Leaves swirl in clusters.

Everything seems to be falling back and rooting underground or retreating within hidden crevices.

Santa Fe is a place of commodifying cultures and consuming beauty with its art galleries, exquisite crafts and fashions. It is also a place of deeply held family and cultural traditions. Home shrines and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe stand out against rough sometimes decaying walls. Murals along park walls illustrate its history, the coming of Spanish conquistadores and Franciscan monks, enslavement of indigenous people, and the loss of land grants and a bartering culture to the Anglo usurpers.

Dio de Muertos is celebrated in Santa Fe though mostly in the Latinx community. Images of skulls and bones, often outlined with colorful flowers and patterns staring out from black backgrounds, are sold and displayed. These skulls and bones are a reminder of those who have died. They also remind that “tears are a river that takes us somewhere – somewhere new, somewhere better in time,” and that “alegria, joy, lifts our small boat out of dry dock, and we, as captain, then go sail the waters of el destino, toward our best destiny.” *

The season turns from its pageantry of autumn, with its gold aspens and cottonwoods, to sidewalks and ground covered with their leaves and the outlines of what is beneath beginning to appear in shades of brown. The few inches of snow which fell and for a time covered the yards and coyote fences, and on the surrounding mountaintops, has gone.

My bonita ash tree, planted two summers ago, had stood out from the snow with gold leaves still on its branches. Those are gone and it now blends into the brown of mulch and dirt.

Change is inevitable whether one believes in the blessings of skulls and bones or not. Winds continue to rise - and now the midterm elections have arrived.

* Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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