Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online

December 18, 2001

Well, today was another no-show for me. I had stayed up too late watching Monday Night Football. This morning I didn't feel like taking an early walk. When I finally did go out, about 9:30, I had to laugh at myself because of the hard time I had given my neighbor about being a warm-weather wimp and taking off for Palm Springs, California, after just one early-morning walk with me.

When I got to the Plaza, even that late in the morning, there were very few people enjoying the beauty of our city. I remembered that a couple of weeks ago I had strolled through the Plaza after lunch, in search of a Christmas present for one of my nephews. Snow was falling then, and though there were people around the perimeter of the Plaza, no one was in the core. I couldn't believe I was looking at all this beauty all to myself, and no one was sharing it with me.

Through the snow the sun was shining. Because of the sun’s heat the flagstone was melting the snow. But the spaces in between, sprouting grass, were covered with the white stuff. This created a complex puzzle pattern that only nature could have put together. Its beauty held me spellbound, almost talking to myself, as if I felt there were another someone within me to share nature's creation.

The Plaza is beautifully decorated, with little white lights on the deciduous leafless trees and Christmas tree lights on the evergreens. The buildings surrounding the Plaza have their parapets covered with modern-day farolitos. Farolitos are little brown paper bags partially filled with sand, with a lighted votive candle sitting on top of the sand. Because of fire danger from the burning candles, many people now use a brown plastic bag that goes over the top of the clear Christmas candles.

As I walked through the Plaza I was thinking that very few places are as beautiful in the night as in the day.

I often sadly think about those who have never had a chance to visit our fair city. For those who have been here and are not here now I feel even sadder, because to have had a chance to experience something so beautiful and then not have it is devastating. For me, just being in Santa Fe (and I must add Taos) is Christmas present enough.

There are those who have lived here and gone on to another city and are happier there. For them I am saddest of all, because somehow the magic that is here escaped them. Somehow this paradise wasn't enough. Somehow the turquoise-blue skies, the cotton-white clouds, the historic Plaza, the Palace of the Governors, the spire of the cathedral, the interesting people, and a thousand other things, didn't grab their souls. There are some people who pass through life and somehow never see it. I hope these people are few. For the rest, I hope they come and visit soon, so that they can understand my feelings.

Because I started very late this morning, instead of going all the way around the federal building, my usual course, I walked slowly around the Plaza several times. The slow pace didn't do much for my cardiovascular exercise. But it did wonders for my soul. I didn't even stop for my usual coffee and pastry—partly because my heart was full, and that made my stomach happy, and partly because my neighbor wasn't here to share my joy. Or distract me from it.

Have a great day.


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