…my necklace fell from its place around my throat to the ground. (The street signs are in French and Occitan so figuring out my route is impossible now.) By now someone has found it and may or may not think it lovely but certainly he or she will not know its story. I bought it last April, in New Mexico, in a little gallery in Madrid, a town on the Turquoise Trail, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It was Cerrillos turquoise, three strings of heishi beads, made by Fanny Garcia of Santo Domingo Pueblo. It wasn’t the piece I’d meant to buy. Somehow I’d imagined a dramatic silver and turquoise collar. But this necklace spoke to me from the case. Its colour was beautiful — deep turquoise (of course) with streaks of green. When I tried it on, I loved how it settled into the hollow of my throat. I loved that it was always cool, like water. The woman in the gallery explained the process for making heishi and I realized my necklace was the result of a long association between its maker and her materials. I meant to have the clasp replaced with a sturdier one, a safety clasp, but never quite got around to it.
I wasn’ t feeling well this morning and so I put on my necklace to make myself feel brighter. It had that effect on me. Touching it reminded me of our time in New Mexico, driving back-roads to pueblos, hiking in Bandolier, buying fierce Chimayo chili from a man selling bags from his truck, the sweetness of pinon smoke in our little room in Taos.Maybe it slipped to the ground on this street:
Or perhaps it found its way to the floor of St. Sernin Basilica, a beautiful church built mostly during the 11th and 12th centuries of soft rose stone and brick. The Basilica was a stop on the route of pilgrims walking the trail to Santiago de Compostela and somehow I hope that’s where I lost it and that the person who finds it realizes that it comes from a deeply storied landscape, that holding the three strands of Cerrillos turquoise in the hands has its own quiet power.
P.s. I realize there are many mistakes on the posts I’very made on this particular European ramble. I’very tried to correct them but the tiny screen means that some hide beyond my vision. And to be honest, some aren’t even my fault! On this post alone, the tablet “corrected” me three times that I know of. It was sure I meant “olive” when I’ d typed ” around”; it had us “dying” in New Mexico instead of “driving”; and it turns out it’s never heard of Occitan…