A SANTA FE GEM
Jeff Kline's orchard on Upper Canyon Road [Outtakes, Nov. 14: "Gravel-road Cavil"] is an exquisite piece of living local history. It's one of the oldest orchards in Santa Fe-one of the last still to be watered by an acequia-and it contains rare old varieties of apricot, apple, plum and peach, which I and many others have enjoyed over the years.
When Jeff sold the bigger house on this property and kept the smaller one (itself an architectural gem), it was clear that the driveway constituted essential access to the smaller house.
Now the purchaser wants to block use of that driveway and force construction of a new one, which can only be done through the old orchard! Outrageous. Not only is this unfair to Jeff and his tenants, it's the loss of yet one more Santa Fe gem! There must be some other way.
I rented Jeff Kline's house for a year and the most amazing part of that old Upper Canyon Road property is the orchard in front. It is one of the few remaining intact, old native orchards left on Canyon Road. It is home to many small animals and the acequia runs through it, giving it an idyllic feeling found little where else in the canyon.
There really is no way to build a driveway to the property without destroying the orchard and the bit of old Santa Fe that it represents. Let's hope the Ellenbergs can find peace with an occasional car passing by their house, as requiring Kline to rebuild it below would effectively destroy the charm and traditional feel of the property.
Why, after so many years, do they think they can now create a power play to win a small bit of privacy and 'security,' when there has been absolutely no threat to them or their property?
Thank you for airing this issue in your paper, as it gives us a chance to speak out when people want to eradicate the small amount of Old World charm still present in so few properties in the canyon.
It is disappointing that writer David Alire Garcia ends "Gravel-road Cavil" with Rey Gonzales' cynical world vision, reducing human beings to dogs fighting over a bone. Jeff and I were married at the time we purchased and moved into what is now Ellenbergs' property. We never questioned the right of our neighbors (descendants of Flavio Gonzales, the original owner) to the driveway in question. So, when we bought their property (not a "guesthouse") and later moved in, it never occurred to us to redraw the easement, which we could have done easily. When we sold the larger house to the Ellenbergs, it was made clear (unfortunately only verbally) that the driveway would remain the historic, necessary access to the smaller house. No other vehicular access is possible except by destroying the ancient orchard.
Many of the conflicts and social ills raging the world over and in New Mexico, threatening to consume us all, arise from one person's desire for more than they need versus their neighbor's right to simply exist. If we want our community to be an island of sanity in a world descending into chaos, we must choose higher values, starting with respect for and connection to our neighbors.
ROAD NOT TAKEN
I was very disheartened to read about the property dispute concerning the old orchard on Upper Canyon Road. Many times I've picked apricots and apples from the antique trees there (as Jeff Kline invited everyone to do). It's an oasis of old Santa Fe and a reminder of how life used to be in northern New Mexico not that long ago.
It'd be a crime to destroy such a treasure. It's a small plot of land on a steep hill and running a driveway through it would, in effect, clear-cut the land. There is no valid reason to take such action as the disputed-yet long-established-driveway is raised approximately six feet directly above the rear of the new homeowner's property and is unusable-except as a legal ploy.
The larger issue is old Santa Fe versus the new. On one hand, you have a sense of the land, history and community whereas, on the other hand, it's just self-centered, short-sighted greed. And, were I the current resident, I'd take into account the fact that old Santa Fe is of long memory and limited tolerance.
I read with interest Zane's article, "The Disappeared Does" [Zane's World, Nov. 14], a number of times to make clarity of your premise that art does not prevent atrocity or "reform our moral deficiencies," or "take the place of action."
Can the viewing of such art change attitudes and bring about action against such despicable acts as you claim the curators of the project avow? Not in the hurry-up-and-take-up-arms manner in which you imply-or maybe never. But ethical, caring people viewing this show all over the United States and the world will come away with something. Maybe it is something that nags softly or maybe a loud voice calls on them to make other choices about their lives. Work such as this takes time to digest and ponder.
And yes, exhibiting such work in our rich, over-indulged society is very pertinent and might wake up a few sleepwalkers. In the aftermath of 9.11 and the last seven years of Bush, a show such as this feels closer and more real to many of us than just a few years ago. I also believe that the memorial that remains once the show is over is inside those of us who care. We have become added witnesses. The Disappeared do not disappear.
Also, one more thought about your reference to Sylvia Plath's poem about which is more powerful, a poetic and thought-out response or a quick, "Fuck you, Dad." The poetic thought took more time and control. Your response to "get the job done with unerring brevity and conviction" may also not allow one to think about consequences. How many tragedies occur because of the quick and angered response? How many nations go to war (us?) without careful thought and dialog? Art can be useful because it takes more time and gives each of us a space to safely make good personal and artistic decisions.
SFR regrets the error.
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