ANCIENT TO NEW AGE
In many respects, Taos is a complex blend, a veritable posole that mingles diverse communities: the arts crowd and ranchers, old Spanish families and New Age seekers, Hollywood expatriates and 1960s refugees who have lost none of their counterculture ways.
And predating these folks by hundreds of years is Taos Pueblo. More than 1,000 years old, it's said to be the country's oldest continuously inhabited community.
If you rush through Taos Pueblo, the two multistory structures ― with their ladders and irregular assemblage of rectangular rooms - may at first seem more stage set than authentic. But what distinguishes Taos Pueblo from fellow UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Acropolis and the Taj Mahal is that it remains a living place, the center of life for its people.
We wander dusty alleyways, past buff-colored homes unadorned except for front doors in faded pinks and blues and the occasional pair of cornstalks. We watch the comings and goings of dogs and children and guys patching up adobe walls as we listen to the flow of Red Willow Creek, which still provides the pueblo's drinking water.
At one shop, there's a young man who recently returned to the pueblo after living in Albuquerque. "You grow up thinking you just want to get out," he says, "that there's so much more going on in the rest of the world. But after a while, I saw what really goes on. And I began to miss the land, the mountains. I knew it was time to come back."
Next: Home again