A fellow freelance writer colleague of mine emails today to tell me that one of the other writers on our trip to Taos has suddenly died of heart ailment while in Greece. Though I didn’t know the fella, I was saddened by the thought of his family having to endure some pain during a season of birth celebrations, giving and festivities.
In part, this post is in tribute to an almost 60 year old that found life exciting and didn’t mind sharing a black haired llama with another writer.
3 miles uphill, 85 degrees, a gourmet lunch, willow or aspirin trees, steamy streams and a lesson on Taos’ history of flagellation was quite the excursion for my first press tour. 25 journalists embarked the hike at the bottom of the foothills with sweatshirts and utter excitement knowing that our llamas would gracefully and without complaint, use their stature to carry our gourmet meal. We were advised of not being able to “potty” during the entire trip (up and down); I quickly reverted to that trained thought of being at the beach (a Cuban thing). I felt slighted when not even 1/3 of the way up, about 4 llamas came to a complete halt to release themselves (almost as if they had silently convened and agreed). We stared a bit in shock, especially since we knew they were transporting our food! This is why I always bless my food before eating.
At the height of the trek, we stopped in an open field, very reminiscent of Julie Andrews’ mountain top cantatata of “The Hills Are Alive” in The Sound of Music. I didn’t dare twirl around, but I did stand still for a quiet moment and took it all in. It was beautiful. A reverent spirit is what I connected to. Nothing but 100+ foot trees to obstruct my view of the simple looking sky. The llamas were unleashed and each one, independent of the other, went their way and ate grass. Us food mongers, attacked the table Stuart had prepared for us. Munch. Crunch. Bite. Eat. Swing at the mosquitoes. My food blessing was honored! Thank God!
Do you know where Aspirin comes from? Well I tasted the white powder directly from its source. A pretty and unassuming Willow tree field could cure an ailing village. Ick. It was very whimsical, the story telling that is, but I felt better after having licked my finger. Bayer was smart, but don’t give him too much credit. Somehow the Romans had their hands in a lot. They used the tree’s juice to feel better too!
We finally made it all way back down. A few piddle stops for the animal, couple of photo ops and a song or two for entertainment. It was all good. I ate well, which is paramount to much else. I learned something new which keeps me smart and I worked off the endless amount of Pepperidge Farm cookies. Next time you’re in Taos and you want to spend a really nice Saturday, call Stewart of Wilde Earth Llama Adventures. He’ll hook you up!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.