Agua es Vida

Spring has gathered all its momentum now and the forests above Santa Fe have shaken off their slumber and thrown aside the winter blankets for good. A short drive from downtown into, say Hyde Memorial State Park, with its well-kept trails into the woods, will bring you right into the heart of all this freshening activity. Morning and Springtime go together well, and one of the nicest things about Santa Fe is that you can have a pleasant breakfast in the comfort of town, and still reach a trailhead while it’s cool and quiet. And mystic. . .

I had an early morning walk there Sunday, well before the excitement of the evening’s solar eclipse, and I had hardly started breathing in the sweet air when I was startled by three deer bounding up a forested hillside. Ravens quonked overhead in the bright sky, soaring above the Ponderosa groves:

On the Circle Trail

In the cool shadows of the rocky cleft that leads to the waterfall in Hyde Park, new life is leafing out everywhere. The graceful and feminine Water Birches are completely awake, showing off their new clothes in the dappled light:

The Water Birch, Betula fontinalis

These little trees have a distinctive smooth grey bark and their presence always means water – hence the Latin name fontinalis.

The trunk of the Water Birch

The Mountain Ash, or Rowantree – that most magical of trees – is flowering streamside now,

The Rowantree

and the Cliffbush won’t be far behind:


I call the Cliffbush the ‘tree of life’ because when it is in bloom, it seems to swarm with bees, butterflies, and insect life of every kind, sharing its vitality with all these small creatures.

Strawberry flowers – a wild rose – dot the path:

Wild strawberries

In shadier places the almost tropical-looking False Solomon’s Seal – a wild lily – raise their fronds from the forest floor:

False Solomon’s Seal

Deer and Raven, Groves and Fountains, the Rowan and the Tree of Life, the Rose and the Lily, the Seal of Solomon; in my mind at least, these spirits tangled into a kind of Springtime magic – a magic crowned by the Solar eclipse at sunset that evening.

Of course, we can’t promise you an eclipse on your visit with us, but we can send you out to receive the blessings of the Forest almost anytime you’re here. Come join us soon!