Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #867- San Miguel Mission-Socorro NM

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While it is a few hundred miles west from Grayson County, New Mexico still has fond memories and a pull of travels in “The Land of Enchantment”. A lengthy read, but the Mission has a long story.

In May of 1598 Spanish explorers under the leadership of Don Juan de Onate, accompanied by two Franciscan priests came to what is now known as Socorro where they found a friendly tribe of Indians who furnished them with a generous supply of corn, of which they were in great need (as their provisions were running very low.)

While the explorers went farther North along the Rio Grande, the two priests remained to do missionary work among the Indians. Father Alfonso Benavidez was so successful in this work that he became known as: “The Apostle of Socorro”. It was he who named the village: “Nuestra Senora de Perpetuo Socorro” … meaning: “”Our Lady of Perpetual Help”, in recognition of the succor they received from the Indians. In later years the name was shortened to SOCORRO

The two priests, with the help of the Indians, built that same year a modest little church which they replaced with a larger building between the years 1615 and 1626, and which is the present church building with its massive walls and huge carved vigas and supporting corbel-arches. The work on these vigas and corbels took many months of tedious work, which can be understood readily by noting the careful and uniform carvings on beams were carved were cut and carried in from mountains many miles from Socorro. The Indians were taught to mix straw into the adobe mud to make a more substantial brick. The walls were built about five feet in width and the windows placed high to guard against attack from the unfriendly tribe of Navajo Indians.

Under the leadership of one of the priests the natural ability and craftsmanship of the Indians began to bear fruit and the interior of the Church was greatly enriched. The Spaniards knew of the rich silver deposits around Socorro and to keep the Indians busy and draw out their natural ability, much of the silver mined was used in the church. it was the priests’ desire to have this church an beautiful as those in Mexico and Spain. They made a solid silver Communion Rail, a Tabernacle, and sacred vessels used in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

The mission continued to flourish until the outbreak of the rebellion in 1680 when most of the Indians joined the Spaniards in their retreat to what is now called El Paso, Texas (nearly 200 miles South). When news reached Socorro that the Northern tribes of Indians were in revolt, and Spaniards were retreating everywhere, the priests had the Indians disassemble the Communion Rail which was buried along with other valuables they could not take along on their hasty retreat. The pastor made a map of the buried treasure, feeling certain the revolt would be put down quickly and they could return.

However, it was a number of years before new settlers of Mexican and Spanish descent began to arrive in Socorro. they found the church in a very dilapidated condition, but the massive walls and huge beams were still in place. After much hard work it was restored and Divine Service again resumed and have continued daily to the present time. Several expedition shave come up from Mexico to try to find the buried treasure, but if any were successful, there is no record of it. There was a million dollar reward offered in the early 1980s to anyone who fount it and thousands of dollars have been spent looking for it.

According to some descendants of the early settlers, during a raid by Apache Indians about the year 1800, the Indians suddenly withdrew and when one of the captured Apaches was questioned about the sudden withdrawal, he claimed they saw a man with wings and a shining sword hovering over the door of the church. Shortly after this, a petition was sent to the Bishop of Durango, Mexico, under whose jurisdiction this territory was at the time to have the name of the church changed to: “San Miguel” – in honor of St. Michael, the Angelic Protector of the people. The Church has gone under the name of San Miguel since about 1800.

The main body of the church, which is the part built between 1615 and 1626, now seats about 250 people although many more attended services in the early 1880s when there were no pews and the people either stood or knelt on the floor. In 1853 another wing was built unto the church and this accommodates another 150.

There are four sub-floors under the present church under which lie the bodies of some of the prominent residents of the past. Under the Sanctuary lies the bodies of four priests who died while serving the faithful of this historic Church. In the Northeast corner of the church is the burial place of General Manuel Armijo, the last governor of New Mexico under the Mexican Regime.

San Miguel Church is the center of a Spanish Land Grant. It consists of over 17,002 acres given by the King of Spain and known as THE SOCORRO LAND GRANT. It was designated as being one Spanish league (2.64 miles) North, South, East, and West of the Church. All surveys, within this Grant, are described as running from the center of the church, in order to get the proper legal described.

As it stood in the first decade of the 17th century, San Miguel Church was of pure Pueblo style of architecture, but in restorations made after the rebellion of 1680 and through subsequent repairs, many deviations have been made from the Pueblo style.

May you find the treasure you seek!…†…monos en theos….jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #793 – DRAGONFLY!

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The Dragonfly

Now, when my roses are half buds, half flowers,
And loveliest, the king of flies has come-
It was a fleeting visit, all too brief;
In three short minutes he has seen them all,
And rested, too, upon an apple tree.

There, his round shoulders humped with emeralds,
A gorgeous opal crown set on his head,
And all those shining honours to his breast-
‘My garden is a lovely place’ thought I,
‘But is it worthy of such a guest?’

He rested there, upon the apple leaf-
‘See, see,’ I cried amazed, ‘his opal crown,
And all those emeralds clustered around his head!’
‘His breast, my dear, how lovely was his breast-’
The voice of my Beloved quickly said.

‘See, see his gorgeous crown, that shines
With all those jewels bulging round its rim-’
I cried aloud at night, in broken rest.
Back came the answer quickly, in my dream-
‘His breast, my dear, how lovely was his breast!’

This poem, originally composed byWelsh poet W.H. Davies in 1928, was the inspiration and lyrical source for the song ‘Dragonfly’ written by Danny Kirwan in 1970 while he was still in Fleetwood Mac.  This was the transitional period of the band, when founder Peter Green had gone nuts and left, Christine McVie had just joined, and Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were still a few years away.

The song itself is very beautiful and, for me at least, very entrancing.  Danny adjusted the lyrics, wrote the music, sang and played all of the guitar parts on the record. Shortly after this he also went into a drug-induced exile and was last heard to be living on the streets of London.

more on the sad yet full life of Davies:


monos en theos…†…jim



While I am not finding any blooms like this one from a New Mexico garden last week. The weeds are growing and blooming. The bees are a working the dandelions and we have stirred a couple of Horny Toads on our afternoon walks.

I am enjoying the slow coming of spring and what it brings. Soon we will have the heat and then will complain and pine for cooler weather. We are hard creatures to appease!

Enjoy what you have when you have! en theos monos ††† jim


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We were treated to this wonderful New Mexico sky in the quaint little village of Magdalena.

There is no place that I have traveled to that brings me such a great sky. Plus if you go there, wander in to the Magdalena Cafe for some of the best homemade pie to be found. I preferred the red raspberry , but you can go wrong with any choice.

Pie pie, me oh my, how I love pie….en theos monos ††† jim


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I can remember as a kid at grade school, I was always envious of the kids that showed up with the huge 92 pack of crayons. Heck, that big box even had it’s own sharpener build into the back of the box. I was lucky if I got the small box of 16.

I really didn’t know what I might create if only I had all of those colors to choose from. Truth is I would not of had any more creativity with 92 colors.

It has taken me years, and I am still learning that it isn’t how large your palette is, it is more how you mix with what you got.

I still jump all over the place with my creativity and I shoot such a hodgepodge of subject matter. I read of how you need to find your niche, your voice, your passion, style, genre your ….. But, I still love that big box of crayons and I keep looking for my true color.

Paint with what you got! en theos monos ††† jim


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Last week I stumbled across a post that was entitled “The 10 photos that every photographer will attempt”. It had things like sunset at a beach, running water, fog, trees and several other cliches that we see all too often.

Somehow reading that articles caused a block to form. A resistance to produce an image of anything that might be considered trite. I sat this morning and bemoaned the task of finding a photo to post. All out of the fear of being perceived as having the same vision and producing meaningless images.

Out here in the desert and living in ranch country, windmills become a “go to” subject. I see a great sunset coming and I gravitate to the nearest windmill. Somehow they become the beach, the trees, the ordinary trite and overdone images of the west.

So with a bit of ado, I give you my latest windmill. I can’t help myself. Last week while in New Mexico, I even purchased a print of another photographer’s gorgeous print of what else, a windmill.

Try to crawl out of your box. en theos monos ††† jim



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“Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other’s company.  Only a few love to be alone.”  ~Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939

Out here in the desert, trees grow few and far between, as do the people.

Find comfort in not being alone!    en theos monos ††† jim


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“There are powers far beyond us, plans far beyond what we could have ever thought of, visions far more vast than what we can ever see on our own with our own eyes, there are horizons long gone beyond our own horizons. This is courage- to throw away what is our own that is limited and to thrust ourselves into the hands of these higher powers- God and Destiny.To do this is to abide in the realm of the eternal, to walk in the path of the everlasting to follow in the footprints of God and demi-gods. The hardest part for man is the letting go. For some reason, he thinks himself big enough to know and to see what’s good for him. But in the letting go…… found freedom. In the letting go…….. is found the flight!”
― C. JoyBell C.

Oh, to find the courage to fly! ….en theos monos ††† jim



We had stopped near this small airport not so much as to make photos of a helicopter practicing touch and goes. But catching the light of the beacon as it rotated gave me such a sense of how we need beacons in our lives to bring us home. Sometimes they are not easy to find and other times they shine bring enough to bring you home.

Keep your eyes and heart open for your guiding beacon! en theos monos ††† jim