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"I'll Take Manhattan"
Sharmagne Leland-St. John
In 2012, I went on book signing tour for Cradle Songs: An
Anthology of Poems on Motherhood. Starting out in Los
Angeles I drove through Glendale Arizona where I stayed with
Kaila and Frank. Kaila was one of the founding members
of Quill and and Parchment.
I hit several little towns between there and Dallas which was my
last Texas reading. I stayed in AirBnBs along the way.
I held several readings in Santa Fe and was the guest of poet Debbie
Brody. Late one afternoon I drove the 65 miles from Santa Fe, to this
little mountain community called Taos, tucked away at the foot of
the majestic Sangre de Cristos Mountains. I stayed with my cousin
Tony Houston at his home in Ranchos de Taos, 4 miles from the main
plaza. This town is steeped in history.
I immediately fell in love with this hidden gem and tried to purchase
a vacation home/writer’s retreat there.
I went back again and again. Taos got under my skin… It was
somehow infused in my blood. Whenever I had to leave I was sad
for days. Finally I found my dream home on Zillow and practically
bought it sight unseen.
They say the mountain either accepts you or rejects you. The
mountain was finally ready for me to venture into her realm.
It took me four years to find that house after losing a house a few
blocks away that was not nearly as perfect as my casita. One
wintery morning in February 2016, I actually looked at Earthships,
as a possible option.
It's almost impossible to take a bad plein air
photo in Taos. Every evening the skies are an artist’s palette of
reds and blues and yellows and peach. Each morning there is an
exquisite sunrise. One can almost hear the angels sing Hallelujah.
Visiting the Taos Pueblo was an incredible experience. The Red
Willow People are warm and welcoming and the scenery begs you
to capture it on film or digitally.
The photos I shot there are among
Please check out my photo gallery at Instagram: sharmagnelstj