We had been hiking since early morning, returned to our room, and were ready for a good meal – a satisfactory repast to close a memorable day. Time for our favorite restaurant in Santa Fe – up Canyon Road amid the wonderful galleries and shops. The evening demanded it. Sure I still enjoy campsites, dinner from an open fire, the conversations as the day draws to a close; always will. But occasionally one has to spread oneself: dine on fine food with fine wine, served by skilled waiters; white table cloths, full place settings, soft music, candles to enhance the mood. The Compound.
Shown to an elegant table well placed against an adobe wall, we order wine, look over the menu, catch our breath, and talk about the day, about Kasha-Katuwe–Tent Rocks National Monument down next to Cochiti Pueblo Reservation. Kasha–Katuwe: “white rocks” in the Pueblo language Keresan. We talk about the art we’ve seen along Canyon Road, museums we’ve visited, and about venues enjoyed on this Fall trip to the magic of Santa Fe.
After a while I look more closely at the table across from us: table for two awaiting its first guests of the evening, white table cloth, candle in the middle, glass door giving out on to an intimate southwestern patio, surrounded by adobe walls and warmed by subdued lighting. A stunning setting, enhanced by the fading light of a setting sun. The candle seems to burn brighter as evening comes on.
On this particular table there is a second candle a little bigger than its companion, off center but strategically placed to heighten reflections from the glass door behind. A contemplative moment. Who will come in and take their places at the table? Where will they have been, what will be on their minds: the galleries, Santa Fe in the early Fall, perchance Kasha-Katuwe? This lone off-center candle increasingly draws my attention as its glow strengthens, gently dominating now the scene. Surely someone will answer its beckoning candescence.
There is a companionship in that candle; it is more than a simple wax form. It is luminescent, it is clean, it is warm and welcoming, it waits expectantly to shine on good company and good food and wine. It is all of that to each of us drawn to its light, in commonality with each other. Setting, décor, design, atmosphere–the whole tableau—speaks to us. And with feelings of harmony and approval we silently nod our heads. A fine moment, honored as all fine moments should be.
And as we rise to depart, the hostess is pulling out one of the chairs for a couple who has just arrived. Their moment now begins; our moment is complete.
With an assist from my friend Nancy Olmstead.