Kuaua

When we took a day to explore on Sunday our first stop was Kuaua Pueblo.  Located about 15 minutes north of Albuquerque in the small town of Bernalillo, it is just off Highway 550 which runs to Farmington, Durango, Silverton, Ouray, and Montrose.  When you cross over the Rio Grande heading west through Bernalillo you turn right at Coronado State Monument and enter a quiet oasis on the western slope of the river bluff which was once occupied by the Tiwa speaking people, whose ancestors live in pueblos across New Mexico.  Kuaua is the modern name for this site where the Spaniard Coronado encountered  the Puebloans around 1540.  Kuaua (pronounced kwah’ wah) means ‘evergreen’ in Tiwa.  The One-Seed Juniper tree is an abundant evergreen in this vicinity and has many uses from food to medicine to building material, on top of just being a good presence in itself and being a part of the whole ecosystem.

Looking southeast at the Sandias over the Rio Grande from the bluff at Kuaua

Looking southeast at the Sandias over the Rio Grande from the bluff at Kuaua

We had picnic at one of the nicely constructed shelters overlooking the expansive landscape

We had picnic at one of the cozy shelters overlooking the expansive landscape

Piñon trees like this one produce wonderful nuts to eat, and the wood smells delicious, and makes great firewood

Piñon trees like this one produce wonderful nuts to eat, and the wood smells delicious, & makes great firewood & shade

One of the astounding things is how peaceful it is on the river once you get off the highway with all the retail shops, food joints, hotels, gas stations, etc lining it.  What a contrast.  Just west of the property is a golf course at the Tamaya Resort, but that is a quiet activity.  I was excited to be somewhere different with much to soak in as far as natural ambience.  Communicative park staff shared with us the cultural history of the original settlers in this land through story, exhibits and tours of the remnants of civilization found here.  It is mind boggling to think that this is a continuous culture.  There is much to learn, many different ways to relate to place.

John Gaw Meem designed the visitor center in the pueblo revival style, to invoke the past with create eclectic configurations

Tree Cholla and Soap Tree Yucca thrive here, as well as Chamisa, Sand Sage and Prickly Pear

2016.3.9 White Mesa 008

John Gaw Meem designed the visitor center in the pueblo revival style, to invoke the past with creative eclectic configurations.  There’s some beautiful woodwork trim and an elegant porch.  I could hang out here all day.

We heard the Sandhill Cranes talking and sure enough they were gathering to migrate north

We heard the Sandhill Cranes talking and sure enough they were gathering to migrate north

The neatest part of the day was to walk into the Kiva and view the murals while the interpretive guide told narrative stories.  The inhabitants would draw the cosmology and symbols to teach generations about culture and heritage and the way through the world.  There were 17 layers of murals found in the kiva so it might have been like a chalk or white board where instruction and story telling was an ongoing part of a living culture, progressing forward with wisdom from the past.  The Pueblos share some of their current culture through tourism to their Pueblos and through the sharing of select ceremonies.  I am filled with awesome respect for their traditions.  What I know is just a little speck in the human mosaic.  A round world means we get to meet each other and learn as we open our hearts and minds and develop the will to listen.

Walking around here was the perfect recovery activity.  This place is rejuvenating.

Walking around here was the perfect recovery activity. This place is rejuvenating.

Mai helps me relax and take time to enjoy things. We had a picnic on the riverbank and watched a family play with their child next to the river, and observed what life rolls by here, constantly unfolding, feeling the rhythms flow.  The plants are waking up to Spring time.  It is very orienting spending time listening and observing outdoors.  I feel like I know a little bit more about where I live and am glad to learn more about how others see it.

Mai helps me relax and be patient.  We took our time and had a picnic.  Plus she did the deer dance in the kiva.  She is natural cultural interpreter.

When the ranger asked if anyone wanted to try the moves depicted on a mural, Mai did the deer dance in the kiva.  She is adventurous and a natural cultural interpreter and shines a light that helps me see new parts of the world. Thank you.

 

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