In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Circular Thinking
  • Jane Lackey (bio)

This winter, land and water are threatened—Standing Rock, Chaco Canyon, the Gold King Mine spill of toxic waste into the rivers of New Mexico/Colorado—intensely igniting the strong will to resist, protect, protest. In high desert, water is scarce, precious, complicated. Santa Fe water arrives in unpredictable winter storms, snow, drought, summer monsoons filling dry riverbeds. Most water comes from snowmelt running from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains into protected reservoirs, some of which is released into the Santa Fe River and the acequias. The aging, incomplete system of stepped dry ditches and gates are cleaned/cleared in springtime in preparation for the flow of water to farmlands. A ceremonial blessing, the Feast of San Ysidro, patron saint of laborers and farmers takes place in May with processions, singing, and dancing. Most importantly, in this circular narrative, flowers are placed in the water as a blessing. Bring lots of flowers . . .

We intersect with this tradition through our household use of tap water for our small, lush garden that thrives in dry conditions. We deliver water sparingly. Hummingbirds, insects, and bees gather all summer long as we watch the intricacy of nature unfold.

A few years ago, I pressed blossoms from our towering black hollyhocks. So often, I have slipped flowers between papers only to forget that I left them under the weight of a book. Rearranging my shelves, the forgotten surprise of beautiful black-purple circles, flattened into a lake of wrinkles, recalls the roundness of the lake. Soon, as it is spring now, Thomas and I will take our circular walk to collect water, thinking in between the peaks of all-consuming beauty and the deepening loss of nature. In our procession, we will walk a loop that encircles a small body of water where animals, insects, frogs, grasses, plants, and trees grow wildly in repaired conditions. The pressed, prepared hollyhock blossoms, first tethered by a string and then carefully set loose, will float downstream returning a water blessing, thankful for the small patch of dense garden that surrounds us . . . hopeful for the protection and future of water and land. [End Page 34]

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Collecting a water sample on the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, Loop Trail. Photo: Courtesy the artist. 2019. All rights reserved.

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Top: Pressed Hollyhock blossom, stitched, tethered, and released into the water during the walk. Bottom: Flower blessing floating away. Photos: Courtesy the artist. 2019. All rights reserved.

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Jane Lackey

JANE LACKEY is a visual artist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Meticulous process, multi-sensory perception and marks of hand characterize her works on paper and participatory installations. Lackey is the recipient of multiple grants, and artist residencies including the Japan-U.S. Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship and the Camargo Foundation Fellowship. She is represented in The Map as Art by Katherine Harmon, Art Now by Edward Lucie-Smith, and Jane Lackey, Telos Portfolio Collection.



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