TAOS

The Best Place to Commune With D. H. Lawrence

By Richard Mahler

Author of "New Mexico's Best"

The cremated remains of English novelist D. H. Lawrence are cast in cement on the wooded slopes of his beloved 12,000-foot Lobo Mountain, on a ranch once owned by the writer 15 miles north of Taos.

"Because his life was so sickly and troubled, you can see why Lawrence craved this peaceful setting," says David Dunaway, literary biographer and professor of English at the University of New Mexico. "It's a wonderful place to feel his presence."

In reality, the writer did not spend very much time here, and he died in Europe in 1930. His wife, Frieda, brought his ashes back to the ranch, which had been given to the couple by arts patron Mabel Dodge Luhan and was later donated to the University of New Mexico. The 160-acre parcel is now operated as a retreat and conference center, but is open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.

There are picnic tables beneath the cool pines and magnificent views of the Taos Valley. Nearby is a cement shrine where D.H.'s ashes and his wife's body are entombed. Many visitors leave personal notes and offerings to the deceased writer, who spent a total of about 18 months here.

If You Go: The D. H. Lawrence Ranch and Memorial are at the dead-end of a well-maintained dirt road. In winter or rainy weather, call ahead for road conditions (505-776-2245). From Taos, take NM 522 north to San Cristobal, then follow the signs east about 5 miles past the village.

Insider Tip: The serious student of D. H. Lawrence will want to examine the large selection of out-of-print D. H. Lawrence titles at the Taos Book Shop (New Mexico's oldest), at 122-D Kit Carson Road (505-758-3733). The store specializes in books about Taos and the Southwest.

Richard Mahler is author of "New Mexico's Best" and several other books. A journalist and photographer as well, he specializes in travel writing. A longtime resident of Santa Fe, he lives in Santa Fe.

For a full listing of Richard Mahler's books, and to place orders for them, visit Amazon.com.


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