"Sheltering the Creative Spirit"
Taos, New Mexico USA
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Accepting the idea, the possibility, of a planetary imperative requires
that we look at the world in a way new to most of us: with a holistic,
geomantic, or cosmological perspective. Modern scientific studies tend to show a
grid system or network of energy lines covering Earth. At the junctions of these
lines are nodes of power comparable to acupuncture points on a human body. Many
such sites are oriented toward the solstices and equinoxes, the planets, and the
stars. Their influences affect not only the magnetic currents in Earth’s
surface, but the mineral deposits and the waters below. The combined energy they
release promotes our own development.
At such foci stand the sacred mountains of
the world, widely regarded as depositories of cosmic energy. Pikes Peak here is
such a font of power. To it in the past Indian tribes from the Great Plains and
down from the mountains made annual pilgrimages. It was the beacon for the
later, white “Pikes Peak or Bust” caravans that crossed the plains. Still
later it marked a Mecca for hordes of invalids who believed they would regain
health from the region’s pure air and medicinal springs.
On other such sites prehistoric peoples
erected shrines and mazes, great stone circles, medicine wheels, temples, and
pyramids. This is not a new way of looking at the relationship of man to Earth.
It is really very old. The Chinese gave it the name we interpret as
“geomancy,” which referred to the divinatory art of reading a locality’s
topographical features in order to place man’s structures in harmony with the
forces of nature. They knew it as feng-shui,
“wind and water,” and the lines of energy were lung-mei,
or “paths of the dragon.” The British now call Earth’s energy lines “ley
lines,” and on their patterns ancients built megalithic monuments like
Similar energy channels in Mexico, called trazos,
oriented ancient ceremonial centers, temples, and pyramids. Even the great
metropolis of prehistoric Mexico, Teotihuacan, and the Mayan religious city of
Palenque, were laid out as geomantic or cosmological paradigms. There are many
other examples in Egypt, Peru, and elsewhere of this phenomenon, which Maurice
Freedman called “mystical ecology” in his 1969 presidential address,
entitled “Geomancy,” before the Royal Anthropological Institute in London.
The common purpose of the ancient builders
was to achieve harmony with the natural forces of Earth and sky. Their ruins
today will visibly express the world view of the vanished civilizations. We can
be properly impressed by the divinatory art that enabled these architects to
align their temples and cities with astronomical, mathematical, and calendrical
precision to topographical and planetary positions. But the modern visionary
pioneers who have carried forward and developed the ancient geomantic concept
are equally impressive.
Early among them was Georges Ivanovitch
Gurdjieff, who established in France a school of the mystical teachings of
Central Asia. In his doctrine of “reciprocal maintenance” he grouped all
modes of existence into a series of energies or essences ranging upward from
formless energy, through Earth and its plant, vertebrate, and human forms, to
finally the supreme will and consciousness. Each class of energy fed on that
preceding it and in turn fed its successor.
Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest,
advanced the now-famous theory that a “noosphere,” an envelope of thought or
a planetary mind, would eventually surround Earth once mankind’s consciousness
became unified and expanded. Since Chardin’s death in 1955, Oliver Reiser, a
physicist, has reportedly developed Chardin’s theory. Reiser has postulated
the existence of a psi or paranormal field of knowing, which is the equivalent
of Chardin’s noosphere, and which functions in conjunction with the Van Allen
radiation belts surrounding the globe. This bipolar field is something of a
planetary cerebral cortex; its two hemispheres correspond to the halves of a
How interconnected everything is! The left
lobe of the human brain, as Robert Ornstein has written in The
Psychology of Consciousness, controls the right side of our physical body
and our rational thought processes. The right lobe is connected to the left side
of body and directs our intuitive and spiritual insights. Ornstein’s
neurological explanation can be stated more simply: philosophy since the time of
Pythagoras has been based on the principle that in each of us there are two
selves. One, the outer persona or personality, is oriented to the material world
of appearances, of things. The other is an inner self with an apperception of
the universal realm of divine reality.
These bipolar tensions have also split world
mankind. Western civilization is dominated by the rational intellect, which is
chiefly concerned with constantly increasing our material wealth, while the East
traditionally has been more devoted to religious pursuits. Reconciliation of
these opposite polarities would integrate us collectively as well as
individually. A common imperative effort to preserve the global Earth from
further destruction may well unite us all on a higher level of consciousness.
Could this eventually lead to a postulated planetary mind consciously
functioning as a part of a universal process of still greater integration?
How nebulous, incredibly vast, and
immeasurably lengthy such an evolution of Earth and man appears to our puny,
limited minds! Yet the trend of thought manifested by so many intuitive
spokesmen points the general direction we are already taking. More and more of
us will follow the trails they are blazing, impelled by the dire necessity of
changing our mode of thinking in this tragic era of world turmoil. Hence it
seems to me that a planetary imperative, with its cosmological perspective, is
an inevitable step forward. Curiously enough, it validates the regional
imperative of ancient small societies. For in achieving harmony with their
immediate environment, they also attained a measure of integration with the
world outside. As we know, the whole is in every part.
by Mary Ann
astute daughter Holly announced one day, “Life is like Mother’s soup.
You never know what will be in it.”
full agreement, we could never estimate the surprise importance of receiving a
Prosperity Plant as a birthday present from Barbara Waters as well as two
good-omen visits in one day from a very large bear
at our back door. Barbara
shared her intuition by saying immediately, “You will soon sell your farm.”
enough, within four days we did sell my inherited farm, which had been on the
market for three years. My husband,
Geoffrey, and I were elated to finalize this sale as it enabled us to complete
our move from Texas to the Sacramento Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Inspired by the books and ideas of Frank Waters, we have made
major changes in our lives – including finding our “spirit of place” in
coincidences have been a continuous, amazing aspect of our relationship since
Geoffrey and I first met in the spring of 1970 at a Texas bluebonnet picnic.
Mutual friends had given me a gift of a movie camera that day, so we have
a recorded history of our meeting. A
year later Geoffrey, two friends, and I leased a boat out of Nassau and sailed
the Bahamas for ten days. The movie
camera footage of this trip allows us still to review our youthful enthusiasm
and the adventure of that special time.
August of 1973 we were married in Albany, New York, by a Unitarian minister with
many friends and relatives present. Forgetting
our luggage, we left on an unforgettable (but short) honeymoon in Canada.
Upon our return to Austin, we began to cope with the three-ring circus of
duties awaiting us. Besides
directing my own private school, this multitasking process included integrating
Geoffrey’s work, an earlier family, and our beautiful new daughter Linda, born
had been born in Peoria, Illinois. His
family moved to Darien, Connecticut, during his public school years.
He then enrolled at Brown University to receive a degree in physics
before attending Yale and the University of Texas for a time.
Astronomy became his major focus, and his eventual decision to live and
work in Austin was motivated by his specific interest in radio astronomy.
After thirty-two years with the University of Texas, he retired and is
currently a consultant in satellite communications research, with his own
private astronomical observatory called Hoka Hey, meaning “Hold fast; There is
my west Texas birthplace of Sweetwater, early memories for me include
tumbleweeds, dust storms, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and precious little rain.
Memorization and elocution were daily rituals.
By age four, one of my favorites was, “Water for washing, water for
drinking; there is nothing like water, pure waters I’m thinking.”
Sixty-four years later, I recently received the honor and privilege of
having Frank Waters’ posthumous book Pure
Waters dedicated to me. Completing
a full circle for me, this friend and mentor is now a major influence on my
age sixteen, working in a public library as my first employment initiated
experiences that instilled in me an enduring devotion to literature.
By twenty-seven I had worked in three public libraries, a county library
bookmobile, the Oceanography and Meteorology Department’s library at Texas A.
and M., the Texas State Library, and both the Humanities Research Center and the
music library at the University of Texas.
in music, I also attended North State University in Denton, Texas, and the
University of Texas. As an
accompanist for instrumental music majors, I enjoyed the challenge of musical
my first marriage to a fine violinist, two babies – Holly and Phillip –
demanded my devoted attention. With
them, we moved to Washington, D.C., where my husband, Leo, and I attended the
Association Montessori International. We
soon decided to establish our own Montessori School in Austin.
This led to my thirty years of involvement with wonderful children and
parents. Sadly, along the way we
lost Leo to cancer. Upon closing
this private school in 1992, I was awarded recognition as “A Friend of
Texas” by this state’s Human Resources Division.
in my current life as a grandmother, sharing her grandparenting role with
Geoffrey, we are enjoying the extraordinary wonder of two talented
grandchildren, Mary Beth and Harrison Reed, the precious children of Holly and
her husband, Forrest.
involved with the Frank Waters Foundation and serving together on its board of
directors is another shared interest that Geoffrey and I long will be dedicated
to. Attending in Taos the July 2002
centennial celebration of Frank’s birthday was a highlight of my life.
in now at Serenity Summit, 9,200 feet high and surrounded by Lincoln National
Forest in New Mexico, Geoffrey and I continue to believe as Frank Waters told
me, “All unfolds as intended.”
time, Mother’s Soup of Life grows ever richer and more nourishing.
We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful
Wizard Kiami, in our glorious pea-green gypsy wagon!
We’re off, that is, if we don’t prefer to sit in it for another
eleven years and feast our eyes upon the scrumptious landscapes surrounding us
here in Taos.
Mary Ann and Geoffrey Torrence have gifted
FWF with the Kiami Gypsy Wagon. Kiami,
meaning “eagle,” is the pet name given Mary Ann by her two grandchildren.
The “wagon” is actually a wooden shell the size of a large guest room
set on a 1946 Chevy pickup frame with original front end.
This whimsical contraption was created by
Ron Boyd about twenty-five years ago. In it he gypsied from California north to Washington, east to
Arkansas, as far south as Arizona, and then up here to northern New Mexico.
When he sold it, his pride-and-joy sat in the same Taos location for
eleven years without moving.
Raring to go after Torrences recently
purchased it for us, Kiami Wagon started right up without a whimper and jaunted
over to Ron’s house some distance away near Trampas.
Here he has been renovating its Victorian
gingerbread trim and pillars, its stained-glass and bay windows, its fancy green
grass wallpaper. A raised bed with
storage underneath, chairs, a desk, shelves, small salad sink, refrigerator,
stove, and woodstove will round out the amenities.
Soon we will be off and running with another
mini resident’s studio for creative movers and shakers!
Thank you for your blessings, Kiami.
“Wow! That’s amazing,” exclaimed our treasurer Mark Rossi when
reminded that it has been ten years since we started the Frank Waters Foundation
First there were four of us signing the
papers: Frank, Mark, myself, and Tucson lawyer Daniel Turner.
At long last we had found a lawyer who valued stewardship as much as we
did and knew how to make it happen. “I
knew right then and there that our success was a done deal,” Mark recalls.
Then Arleene Arnell, Frank’s niece from
California, joined us as Foundation secretary on June 25, 1993, for our big
Coming Out weekend in Santa Fe. About
this I wrote two months later in our first newsletter, “As Frank slept
undisturbed on a couch bed in the same room, Mark, Arleene, and myself folded
and packaged note cards until we were slap-happy.
Before going to bed, Frank had signed posters with Mark’s obliging
That weekend we conducted our first board
meeting besides selling the above items and attending two honorary dinners, a
breakfast, and book signings of Brave Are
My People at Copeland-Rutherford Gallery and Old Santa Fe Trail Book Store.
Even Kevin Costner showed up for a signed copy!
My newsletter article commented about Frank,
“His remarkable stamina carried him through a smooth television interview
Sunday morning with veteran interviewer Ernie Mills, who made it seem simply
like more fun. Yet this program
will become part of the state’s oral history archives permanently preserving
the passing parade as well as Frank’s ideas about expanding human
consciousness, which he mentioned as one of our Foundation goals.”
Since then we have covered more ground than
can be detailed in this issue. Suffice it to say, we have negotiated a Taos Land Trust
easement and conducted numerous educational workshops, acquired two residency
studios and a new roof, hosted dozens of creative residents, and instigated or
participated in the publication of at least nine books.
the expertise of webmaster William Farr we have created an outstanding website (frankwaters.org),
which is to be enlarged. We have
contributed to the enrichment of local music, conducted art shows in Taos and
Tucson, inspired and funded sculptors, given public speeches, readings, and
classroom lectures, conducted group discussions, awarded writing prizes, and
begun an endowment fund. We also
made a grand success (according to our goals) of the four-day Frank Waters
Centennial. All this on the merest trickle of money.
for the near future include an anniversary mini-celebration in July (see next
newsletter), a small Foundation storeroom/office addition to the main house, the
2003 residency program, newsletters, Callan’s collecting of “Meeting Frank
Waters” written stories, website expansion, the 2003 - 2004 Frank Waters
Southwest Writing Award, workshops, study groups, grant-writing, studio three
completion, endowment expansion, ongoing publication of four books – including
Centennial speeches and photographs.
That is amazing.
will not soon forget the Frank Waters Centennial.
Holly Reed, our professional photographer, has sent two exquisite albums
blossoming with photographs from the celebration, which more than two hundred
persons attended. My pot of
miniature pink roses from the Saturday night dinner table is another flourishing
memento, besides the photos. And
bouquets of appreciative words keep arriving.
Anaya writes that he and his wife want to thank all “who worked so hard on
what can only be called a glorious celebration!
Frank was proud of us!”
Silbergleit, U of NM archivist, writes that she enjoyed hearing “an eclectic
array of speakers [listed on our website under “Centennial”] and
perspectives, and the opportunity to meet new people and renew friendships with
others whom I had not seen for a while.”
Although she was unable to experience Sunday at our home in Arroyo Seco,
Beth thought it was “a real treat” to spend the first three conference days
at the Mabel Luhan House --“a perfect venue for the celebration.”
Nichols with his personal reminiscences and Alex Blackburn with his literary
criticism began an interwoven pattern for understanding the complete Frank
Waters that balanced and re-enforced itself throughout the symposium.
Across the top of a July 19 photo of himself atop a favorite mountain,
John later scrawls, “Frank should be clicking his heels over your love and
St. John Hawley’s hand-painted orange nasturtiums card, another bouquet,
you for the fantastic experience of being so close to the beautiful
of Frank Waters. It was not only a historic occasion – but
a tender event – so many people of like mind and filled with love
admiration for him and for you.
was grateful for Alexander Blackburn’s comments about Teilhard de
and Waters (their affinity of spirit).
loved Vine Deloria and “Silence.”
Chavez – a great and eloquent woman.
Luther – his presentation absolutely exquisite in its detail – such
for books – the collector’s spirit – such poetry!...
musician Cynthia Stacey, who also spoke and recorded the speeches of others for
us, “At the Centennial I received a lot of inspiration and clarity for my own
enjoyed Tom Lyon and Patrick Burns addressing the issue of “truth” in
writing. My favorite statement
regarding that, (similar to one
Tom gave us) is: “All stories are true and some of
I loved the anecdote that
Patrick gave regarding Peggy
book, where Frank ended by saying, “Mine is the true story.”
of course was right because there is the objective factual truth and
there is the mythic Truth. One is
the truth of the ego and the other
the Truth of the Self. Frank helps us connect with that deeper Truth,
is what we all hunger for.
bouquet of heartfelt thanks to devoted, volunteer committee members who worked
so hard and self-sufficiently on our A Team with Tal Luther as chairman and
Marilyn Luther as secretary. They
included super-saleswoman Elise Backinger and her husband Kent Strickland, Marty
Meltzer, Margot Wieland, Irene Falk (the Fruit Salad Lady), webmaster Bill Farr,
Mary Ann and Geoffrey Torrence, Holly and Mary Beth (the Raffle Ticket Sprite)
Reed, Mark Rossi, and Al and Renate Collins.
then there was the creativity of Mary and Howard Taylor, who distributed to
speakers their 1983 photograph of Frank and myself; of video-taper Robert Callan,
and his wife Marilyn, who thought up a “How Did You Get To Know Frank Waters
and His Work?” project (call her at 719-686-1969); of Jerry Edelen’s hooked
rug gift bearing Frank’s epitaph; of sculptor Mark Rossi’s bronze presents
to Luthers and six volunteers; of Katie Woodall’s original poster portrait of
Frank, auctioned off to Charles and Gayle Hodges for $1,000.
We’ll always remember Joe Gordon born again as Vine Deloria; the contra
dancers (“a blast and a half,” writes Bill Farr) led by caller Jim Buechler;
the musicians including familiar Jennie Vincent and Peggy Nelson; and Pueblo
Governor Vicente Lujan and his wife, Beatrice, with the hit of the conference in
tow – Frank Samora, the “Man Who Killed the Deer,” and his beautiful
our place that last day Frank was closest to us, speaking through his favorite
talking aspen leaves. Time ran out on us so that I couldn’t give my speech.
Instead, I presented my copy to Frank’s old friend Quay Grigg.
He writes, “I strongly regret that you didn’t wrap up the conference
with your wonderful piece. Hearing
it there while we listened to the trees would have been magical.”
Instead people can read my uprooted “Rooted” speech on our website.
the same place, also be sure to catch John Nizalowski’s fine review of the
Centennial. That man can write!
Rossi’s bronze paperweight medallion, a rare Centennial souvenir, is now
available for $55, shipping included. It
features Frank’s profile on one side, aspens on the other.
To order, call us here at 505-776-2356 or write.
Thanks also to Mark, along with Peggy Andrews, for promoting Waters
centennial discussions, readings, and a library exhibit last fall in Tucson.
other lovely souvenir available for $50 is a limited edition broadside created
by Tom Leech at Santa Fe’s Press at the Palace of the Governors.
On handmade white paper, it features a delicate-looking stone imprinted
with Frank’s long “life is a great white stone” quotation from People of the Valley.
Centennial, too, remains “a complete, rounded moment, which contains all.”
It saddened me greatly to learn that Charles Hathaway died in Green Valley, Arizona, just a few days after his one hundredth birthday in April 2002. He was preceded in death by his wife, Berenice. In typical fashion he’d celebrated his birthday milestone at lunch with a number of his favorite relatives. Charles consistently made the most of the full century granted him.
After a topnotch career in school finance in
Colorado, he painted watercolors and wrote published poetry right up until the
end of his life. In his nineties he
wrote his memoir, Back-Alley Boys, about
growing up with Frank Waters, which book FWF published and has for sale (see
back page). Charles decided,
“Writing is hell!” But
Professor Joseph Gordon wrote of him and his book:
his sharp images of their shared world and stories of their boyish escapades, he
shows us how their friendship matured to the benefit of both.
the way we get a fresh look at the bustling western community
experienced [Colorado Springs], and how that world and their abiding friendship
helped shape Waters.
Raymond, Hathaway’s daughter and only child, generously donated to the FWF
collection all of her father’s signed first editions of Frank’s books, as
well as Charles’s new Phillips portable CD mini system for our residents’
studio. We thank Carol and her
husband, Bob, for their friendship and valuable gifts to posterity.
for those two mischief-makers, Charles and Frank, I suspect they are busy again,
greasing the stairway to the Pearly Gates before battering them down.
have a grand
book for you,
one you’ve read.
Of course this sonnet means buy
it as the perfect valentine for your loved ones.
They’ll adore it – and you.
Our valentine special is a $40 hardback copy
of Frank Waters’ new book Pure Waters,
signed by editor Barbara Waters, with no shipping or sales tax charges.
The book is a combination of Waters’
little known essays, speeches, and editorials.
Most have never before been published.
It’s a magic carpet to journey on, through space or time. The excerpted
speech at the beginning of this newsletter reminds us of how timeless the
author’s writings are.
sepia-toned book jacket is one of Ohio University Press’ handsomest.
It features Frank in 1960 patting his favorite horse, Crybaby, beside our
barn door, which was uniquely hung upside down and backwards.
In his excellent foreword, Professor
Emeritus Alexander Blackburn writes, “The more one reads Waters, the more one
accepts the soundness of his judgment; the longer one travels the road to
increased awareness, the more one is astonished to discover that he has been
there before us.”
Last July, Ohio University Press also
published a version of Pike’s Peak
divided into three separate books
that can be ordered at your local bookstore for $15 each. Thus a new trilogy is available, but not the original one that Frank wrote in the thirties and much
later condensed and consolidated into one book, Pike’s Peak. Waters
fans can now give just their favorite section of this long book as a present, or
treat themselves to a collection addition of all three.
Happy reading on St. Valentine’s Day!
Bob, my husband, and I have been impressed
when people share their personal accounts of how they came to Frank Waters, a
sharing experienced again last July at his magical Centennial Celebration.
Each time we are deeply touched, feeling a warmly human spiritual
bonding. Whether theirs is a seemingly matter-of-fact recounting or
some life-altering revelation, we are moved by the synchronicity and
significance of Waters in their life journey.
Some name their favorite Waters book and detail its personal impact.
It strikes us that telling and listening to
our stories is a means of participating in a spirit of community around Waters
and his work, however far-flung we may be geographically or how disparate the
story. Thus we have begun to
compile these first-person accounts of how people discovered Frank Waters.
Are you willing to tell your personal Waters
story? Are you interested in
reading the stories of others with whom you share a love of him and his works?
If so, we would like to receive your piece of writing in 2003.
We encourage you simply to write in your own words and in your personal
style whatever you wish to say on this subject.
Your experiences, insights, feelings, and
thoughtful reflections will be a rich addition to this collection.
What attracted you to Waters? Were
you already interested in his subject matter, or are these subjects new and
expansive areas of interest? Has
your life been affected by this experience, and if so, in what ways?
Please send your written sharing to us at
222 Denwood Drive, CO 80816. Include
your name, address, phone, e-mail address if available, and whether you agree to
possible publication by the Frank Waters Foundation on our website (frankwaters.org)
or in this newsletter. You may request that your name not be published.
are the story contributions of Ann Jauregui and Ted Egri.
Warmest wishes for your health, contentment, and enlightenment during
this new year.
Bringing his tale to a close in Pumpkin
Seed Point, Frank Waters spoke of his eagerness to go home to his “little
ranch a mile above the Spanish village of Arroyo Seco and adjoining the Taos
“Home! How wild and beautiful it was!”
he wrote. “A thick-walled adobe set back of a stream in a lawn surrounded by
great cottonwoods and flanked by a grove of aspens.”
Arroyo Seco. That was just up the road from
where we were vacationing, where the pine-forested slopes of the Sangre de
Christo Mountains rise up from the mesa.
Aware of the snow and the silence, I got up
to feel around in the darkened house for a phone book.
Frank Waters couldn’t still be alive. Or,
he’d be very old.
Frank Waters. His name jumped out at me, El
Salto Road, Arroyo Seco. My heart
pounded, and the thought came, “I’ll try to call him in the morning.”
That night, as the snow came down, I
dreamed. I was in the private library of someone’s home, talking with Frank
Waters and a woman who was introduced to me as his fourth wife. She was a
lovely, blonde person, a Jungian psychotherapist whose name seemed to end in an
“a.” Ramona, Barbara.
Books surrounded us, floor to ceiling; the conversation was easy. I could
see Frank, standing tall and slender beside his wife, gesturing as he spoke, and
I could see through him. He was in the
room, and not.
The next morning I sat in front of the phone
for a while. Then I dialed.
“Hello?” a woman’s voice said.
“Hello,” I said, identifying myself.
“Is Frank Waters there?” What was I doing? What made me think …?
“No, Frank died in 1995,” the voice
said, friendly. “At the age of 92.”
“Are you Rose, then?” I asked her. In Pumpkin
Seed Point Waters had spoken of a wife, a woman named Rose.
“No, Rose was Frank’s third wife. I’m
his fourth wife, Barbara.”
“Are you a blonde, Jungian
psychotherapist?” I asked her. Too late to turn back now.
“My practice is Jungian-oriented, and
I’m blonde,” she said, ordinary as buttered toast.
“I’ve been hanging out with the two of
you all night,” I told her. “In a dream. In a library.”
Barbara seemed to be unfazed by this. At
least there was no protest, no hang-up.
I stumbled on. “My husband, John, and I
are visiting here, staying in the house of some friends on the Hondo mesa.
We’re snowed in, and I’ve been reading about Frank living at Hopiland
in Pumpkin Seed Point. I finished it
in front of the fire last night, and I was hoping … I was hoping it wasn’t
too late to thank your husband for this wonderful book.”
“Oh, it isn’t!” she said. “Frank is
here. He’s all over the place. When the weather clears, why don’t you come
The next day the snow was softening in the
sun as we curved into the quaint block-long village of Arroyo Seco. “Where are
we?” John exclaimed. “Is this the United
The narrow street extending up toward the
mountains became El Salto Road, running alongside a stream on one side and a
herd of buffalo, hunched together in the cold, on the other. Soon we were
turning across a small wooden bridge and into the aspens Frank had described,
white in the hush of the snow.
Barbara greeted us cordially at the door
with a little committee of curious dogs at her feet. She showed us around the
warm old house and served us tea in front of the fire. The conversation was as
easy as it had been in my dream; and when John described the surprise that had
rushed in on him as we came into the village, Barbara shot us a look.
“Maybe you’re supposed to live here,”
she said. “There’s a house for sale next to the post office.”
In fact, John had noticed a newspaper ad for
the house, offered by an outfit called Dreamcatcher. Of course we ended up
John and I have not moved to Arroyo Seco,
not all the way, not yet. But we visit in all seasons; and as we sit on the roof
at sunset, time and space breathing in, breathing out, we experience something
not in some far and future place but in the now of the Hopi. Frank speaks of it
in the voice of the Taos Indian Palemon to his son in The
Man Who Killed the Deer. And beside the Waters home, in Frank’s memory
these same words speak out from a granite stone resting among the aspens,
will meet again as equal parts of one great Life.
Many years ago I came across Frank Waters’ book The
Man Who Killed the Deer. I bought it. Much later I found the Book
of the Hopi. This too I purchased. I was impressed with Frank’s
understanding and interest in the Native American people. Kit Egri and I had
come to Taos in September of 1950, and we were impressed with how close to their
roots the Native Americans still were. We felt the same about the Hispanic
When news came that Frank had died, I
immediately telephoned Barbara and told her that I wanted to create a memorial
sculpture for Frank. Barbara accepted my offer; and she told me that Frank loved
granite, and I should carve it of that stone! I was eighty years old at this
point, and I got worried. At my age I should have to learn to carve the hardest
stone in existence? Barbara led me, or drove me, to the place called Cuyamungue
Stone Company. We selected a 3,000-pound chunk of granite.
At home I prepared for the stone by building
a base of railroad ties outside of my studio. Barbara purchased the proper tools
for me to tackle the stone with. This consisted of carbide steel chisels and a
diamond-studded wheel. I began figuring out in what manner I could depict
Frank’s spirit, as the work of his life. Before I could come to a conclusion,
Barbara said it had to be a deer! A Mimbres deer! Then I started searching for
illustrations of Mimbres deer. I found there were about thirty-two kinds!
Eventually I selected one design from some Mimbres pottery.
When it came to designing, the form, Barbara said Frank liked the number seven. So I added a seventh antler.
It took me two months of seven days a week
carving. Even so my carving came to a fairly shallow depth in the stone. Last of
all Barbara chose the words to be put on the stone. The thought of carving them
threw me at first. Then I found in front of the Stables Gallery a man named Mark
Saxe who had created a fountain sculpture. I spoke with him about my problem
with engraving letters into granite. He explained that he had the equipment to
do just that! Also he too had great admiration for Frank, and he said he would
not charge for his work on the memorial. Some of the words were “We will meet
I discerned after dealing with Barbara that
she was and is a very attractive woman. And I made the memorial for her as well
as for Frank.
Before the memorial was moved from my
grounds, a forest service friend came by, and I proudly showed him the memorial.
I boasted about the durability of granite. He listened and then he said,
“Don’t you know this granite will be sand in a million years? All our sandy
beaches were granite.”
That shocked me. Then I thought about
Barbara. How could I break the bad news to her? But I decided to face her with
it. When I told her about it, she thought for a while. Finally she said, “I
think I can handle that.”
A crane or bulldozer picked the sculpture
up, and Barbara selected an aspen grove near her to have it placed in. She also
purchased a granite chair from a shop in Santa Fe that had imported it from
I had met Frank from time to time. He was a
tall handsome man with a deep voice. I know Barbara misses him, and I admire the
way she runs the Foundation.
Egri, a noted artist and sculptor, is Taos’ Renaissance Man.)
For Sale to Benefit the FW
bronze paperweight keepsake by sculptor Mark Rossi.
Waters profile front, aspens back, 3 ¼” diameter.
$55, shipping included.
by Tom Leech, Palace of the Governors Press, 12 “ x 18” wide, unframed,
numbered limited edition. White
handmade paper imprinted with Waters’ “life is a great white stone” quote
overlapping stone sketch. $50,
editions of Back-Alley Boys by Charles
Hathaway. $40 hard bound, $20 soft
bound + $3 shipping.
tape “Early School Days in Colorado Springs: with Frank Waters and Charles
Hathaway.” $30 + $4 shipping.
________ Major Benefactor
________ Benefactor ($501-$5,000)
________ Patron ($251-$500)
________ Sponsor ($101-$250)
________ Commercial (over $100)
________ Family ($30-$100)