Places: Catching the SW Chief to Las Vegas, NM

By Forrest Whitman Winter is the perfect time to catch the train called the Chief. The trip begins early with a drive along U.S. Hwy. 50 to Cotopaxi. Snow highlights those fantastic rock formations, and the upper Arkansas River sparkles in the pink dawn. You’re in a good mood – off to catch a train! …

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The Real Deal Music Review: Chris Arellano – Nuevo Americana

By Brian Rill

The new sound of Americana is a slow and robust tone with concise phrases that spin stories into spells, devised to bring rain into the dry Northern Plains. You can hear acoustic guitar strings reverberate along desert canyon walls as well as the sound of burning wood chips in a campfire. Long-strummed minor chords send out feelings of lonesomeness into the night. Words sung of promise display a longing to return home but with no idea of the path to get there. Soft songs with sweet memories are written down and then delivered to empty mail boxes that line old Nashville roads only to be forgotten again. Chris Arellano’s album Nuevo Americana contains all these ideas and more including the influence of Norteño music from his New Mexican upbringing. The conglomeration of all these styles is surprisingly mellow and moderately inspired by uptempo pop music.

“The sun is going to chase the moon the night is going to end too soon. I’ll wake up in this lonely room again because morning always wins.” The song Morning Always Wins discusses the obtuse feeling of displacement that one experiences when waking up alone, with the ghost of a lover. With a sound resembling Dire Straits, this tune drives along with a steady back beat. The songwriting is objective but optimistic, leading one to believe that maybe her ghost will one day return.

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Places: Antonito, CO

Photo by Ericka Kastner

By Ericka Kastner

If you know me, you know New Mexico is my happy place. I realize that’s an unlikely lead for a column in Colorado Central Magazine. But my love of New Mexico means that I’m passing through southern central Colorado on a fairly regular basis; it also means that every time I head towards Taos, Santa Fe or Madrid, I’m still discovering spots between Salida and the Colorado/New Mexico border that fascinate and surprise me. Six miles north of the state border, Antonito is one of those towns that tugs at my heart. It’s rich with authentic Mexican restaurants; is adorned with phenomenal murals displaying the town’s cultural heritage; and incredible mountains stretch far in the distance, allowing Antonito to offer up the vast, blue Colorado sky.

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The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

By Anthony Guerrero

In March 2013, President Barack Obama, using executive authority under the Antiquities Act, designated 242,000 acres in Taos, New Mexico, as public lands. This area became a national monument known as the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. As a result, the land, its rich Hispanic and Native American heritage and the wildlife habitat are protected and preserved. The monument ends right at the Colorado and New Mexico border. Some citizens in Colorado believe this designation should be expanded to include a portion of the San Luis Valley.

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Sagebrush Rebellion, An Update

By John Mattingly

The Western United States have always thought of themselves as different from the East, so it isn’t surprising that in matters of States’ Rights, the Western States burned their own brand of mischief, which, in one curious case became known as the Sagebrush Rebellion.

Sagebrush rebels practiced “uncooperative federalism,” or provocative non-compliance with a federal law when that federal law was at odds with a sensible state law, or when a federal law failed to measure up to Westerners’ standards of horse sense – or, in this case, donkey sense.

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Surviving the Death March

By Laurel McHargue

Mainly because Nick, my eldest son and ROTC cadet, encouraged me to do it, I signed up – and actually did some training – for my first full marathon. In the summer of 2010 I completed two half marathons with no training, and that didn’t kill me. The idea of doing two in a row, however, made me think twice about the physical impact on my 52-year-old bones and so … grudgingly … I started “doing time” late December on a treadmill at our local gym. The race: The Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon in White Sands, New Mexico, March 27th, 2011.

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Lines in the sand

by Virginia McConnell Simmons

At times, people like to feel assured that some things will never change. For instance, God’s in his heaven, the Big Dipper points north, and if you go east or west on the 39th parallel, you can take a swim somewhere around the Mediterranean Sea or fry an egg on a rock in Death Valley. Unless you are picky, and geographers do tend to be picky.

Take the 37th parallel north for instance. For 146 years this parallel has been a border running 761 miles between Kansas and Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico, and Utah and Arizona, but in 2009 the line was moved 365 feet south. Saving state legislatures and assessors’ offices a lot of trouble, the state line now is N 36?59.939. Whether the bronze disk marking the Four Corners will be moved remains to be seen.

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Los Penitentes del Valle

After the Veronicas and the Hermanos from the morada in San Antonio, Colorado meet at El Calvario (The large cross) where Jesus meets Mary, part of the congregation goes on to the morada and the others walk to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Conejos, Colorado which is several miles away. Photo by Ruben Archuleta.

Understanding the Penitente Church in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico

by Ruben E. Archuleta

Slowly and methodically the candles on the candelabrum are extinguished one by one as the Hermanos (Brothers) recite their prayers and sing the mournful alabados (Penitente hymns) until the last of the thirteen candles is out leaving the morada (meeting place) in total darkness. Suddenly the pandemonium that ensues with the sounds of rattling chains, the staccato of the matracas (wooden noise makers), banging on tins, and the wailing brings to mind the shaking of the earth, the lightning and thunder, the fear and wailing of the people gathered around the crucifixion … and then darkness as Jesus’ mortal body releases its soul. The Penitente rite known as the tinieblas (darkness), which represents the death of Jesus on the cross, has been practiced every Good Friday evening in the moradas throughout southern Colorado and northern New Mexico for over a century, and possibly longer.

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