I really need to keep this more up to date! I'm currently in Albuquerque hoping not to make the wrong turn! I've been in the Enchanted Valley for close to three weeks now. My first few days in Taos, someone mentioned to me that the area was like vortex that sucks people in and that definitely happened to me! As I came down the canyon into Taos, I really became immersed in a whirlpool of emotions and tried my best to keep my senses. I came into town not knowing where I'd stay or what I'd do. It was cold and and rainy. I got settled into the Taos public library for some local research. After an hour with no real leads on a place to stay a man came and sat near me, an interesting guy whose garb reminded me of a Buddhist monk. I commented to him that I liked his tunic he was wearing and that began a great conversation where he told me he was on a journey to spread his ideas and teach classes on non-violence and communication techniques. He was teaching in prisons. His name was Srinath and he was from California. I queried him to find out if there was a good place to stay. He thought for a minute and then told me about the Neem Karoli Baba ashram in Taos. He said I might be able to stay there as a pilgrim. I was intrigued as I have had at least a passing interest in in Ram Dass' teachings and I felt the spookiness that comes with synchronicity. Srinath said he was goin there later and I should check it out. I swallowed my fear and took the short ride over through the windey back streets of Taos. Upon entering the temple, which was really a few quaint pueblo buildings I was overcome with the wonderful warmth and the smell of hot chai. I wandered into the kitchen where the primary caretaker Jonathan was along with Waylon another caretaker. Both were preparing some kind of very aromatic dish and I hated to interrupt. With my nervous tongue twisting in my mouth I asked If I might stay with them for the night. At first they were inclined to send me to the men's Shelter but after a little conversing Waylon, another bike tourist who happened to settle at the Ashram, decided I might be worth at least a place to pitch my tent. He even went so far as to graciously offer me his tent which he hadn't gotten around to taking down. I came to find a lot of gratitude for this as the next few nights in Taos were in the low 30s and he had a cozy 4 season tent. The next couple days I spent at the ashram were great. I immediately began to kind of earn my keep with chores and by the third day parts of my mind were wanting to stick around to go deeper! I didn't chop any wood or fetch water though. I attended the nightly Aarti prayers and met some very kind people. Though it seemed like there were some politics going on there it was overshadowed by an undercurrent of love.
My last day I rode down to Ranchos de Taos to experience a 6:45 am mass at the old Taos Mission. When I got out of mass the heavens opened up and I witnessed the splendor of what photographers call the golden hour. The old church was stunning!