New Mexico is known as The Land of Enchantment and after visiting here we can see why. The desert colors in the natural landscape are beautiful, but it goes much deeper than that. There is a spirituality here, an unexplained peacefulness and harmony that is difficult to explain but yet you feel it all around you. It is the beauty in small things and the simple things that somehow gets magnified in the New Mexican desert. We loved learning about the Native American tribes who make New Mexico their home, finding out how unique and different they were from many other tribes we've become familiar with with in other states. The tribes of New Mexico are amazing artisans, infusing beauty from their environment into the jewelry, pottery, blanket weaving, baskets and carvings that they create. New Mexico seems to have evolved from the mixing of Mexican and Native American cultures and that was evident in many places we visited and the foods we sampled-earthy and a little spicy, flavors dancing like desert colors in our mouths. We were enchanted by many things here we won't soon forget, by the rodeo we experienced in Santa Fe, by the pueblo in Taos, by the turquoise jewelry in the pawn shops in Gallup and by the faithful at the Santuario De Chimayo. I also made sure, we tapped into that spiritual energy and brought some into our lives at home.
In New Mexico I had bought each of my children a "fetish", a small Native American animal carving that symbolized the traits I most admired about each of them. Native Americans carry these fetishes to channel the strength and spirit of the animals they represent so that they will be successful in their quests. At the Taos pueblo, I purchased 3 small handmade buckskin pouches and put each child's fetish in the pouch with a handwritten note about why I chose that particular animal for each child. While the kids were only 6,7, and 9 they really didn't get the message I was trying to convey. The pouches sit on a shelf in our family room. I decided I will give them their fetish once again when they leave for college, hoping they channel the spirit of the animal they hold in their hand along their journey into adulthood. I can't believe how time has passed...I'll be giving my daughter Lilia her's next year. New Mexico will forever be a part of who we are.