Before beginning, I would like to thank Carmen Amato for this opportunity to share my endeavors, hopes and dreams. She has been a great inspiration to many writers and her encouragement has had a very profound and positive impact on many people.
PHOTO BY CARMEN AMATO
I primarily refer to myself as a “whole-istic” artist. I use the word in English “whole” which describes more accurately what I feel my life experience is. It is a multiple approach to living; an interactive process through creativity, art, spirituality and communication. These endeavors often happen simultaneously; they integrate and create a single focus called life.
Generally, I have various activities happening at the same time. Presently, I am at my mother’s house. Today is her birthday. She is 102 years old. I help to take care of her some of the time. I maintain a flexible schedule so that I can create. Presently, I am finishing one of several music projects—a sonata for four saxophones, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. I just finished a vocal duet for soprano and alto with piano accompaniment and I am mounting a single track environmental song called Raindrop that can be purchased at a music website called cdbaby.com My great concern is the global environment. I just finished reading a book by Rachel Carson called Silent Spring. It affected me deeply and I was inspired to write a story and libretto for a smaller scale opera/musical that I am composing which I have named, The Black Nightingale Prince. I also wrote another opera/musical that I wrote called Raindrop that was presented as a live dramatic reading and songs for Earth Day, 2010.
Presently, I teach Music Appreciation at the Northern New Mexico College in Española. I also teach piano privately, orchard and farm, help to take care of my mother, write, compose and prepare for a photographic exhibits such as the Dixon Art Tour or other. I also spend important time with family and friends. I enjoy cooking and entertaining. I am finishing a sonata for Saxophone quartet to be performed in Santa Fe and also finished a duet for soprano and alto using the words, “Peace comes from remembering only love is real.”
EMBUDO RIVER IN JANUARY PHOTOGRAPHY BY SYLVIA VERGARA
Presently, I am focusing all of my activities on the environment, writing, composing, teaching and farming. I also keep a personal journal and have for years. Presently, I am writing about this experience in my personal journal—it’s very important to me:
I am experiencing each day as a great gift. I think about it especially when I am lying in my bed and the light of the morning starts to stream through my bedroom window. If I wait long enough, I can hear a little bird and maybe more sometimes, singing as they greet the morning light. I start to think about this and I begin to feel the uniqueness of the day—how special it is, what a great gift a day is in the life of anyone or anything. When I write in my journal about this, other things begin to occur to me. Soon I realize that there a second great gift and that is, the gift of “choosing.” I realize that I can “choose” how my day will go. I write about this and then I really start to pay attention to what I am choosing all day long. What are my activities, my words, my actions, my thoughts and concerns. Who did I remember, where did I go. My day is emerging with a quality that is making it more unique and singular. I write about this in my journal and then I realize that there is a third gift. This is the gift of sleep. One third of my life is spent sleeping. It is an opportunity to learn about peace and tranquility. Also, it is another reality—a dreamtime reality that contrasts with my wake time. Now, I am thinking a lot about my bedroom. Actually, I am no longer calling it my bedroom. I call my bedroom, my “dream room.” I never used to make my bed. All of the sudden, I want to take time to make my bed. I find that taking time to make my bed puts me in a calm, meditative state. The activity of making my bed creates within my being a sense of peace, tranquility, restfulness, balance—it’s like blessing where my dreams had come to visit me. It marks the place where I lie and must trust, yes, must trust that the light after the darkness of night will return and flow through my window and greet me once again. I write about this and ponder and think about these three wonderous gifts that did not cost me a penny. My awareness of these three gifts has radically changed my life. I think again and realize that every human being has these three gifts of human experience. I really like this. It’s a realization of a cosmic identity of humanity—especially after feeling the shamefulness of what destruction we as human beings have caused the planet, it is through these illuminations that I feel optimistic again, hopeful that as a human beings, we can express and share our gifts without exploitation that we have.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARMEN AMATO
I am a professor at Northern New Mexico College in Española, New Mexico. I teach Music Appreciation and Piano. I also have taught Creative Dance and Flamenco.
I also work for myself. I have an organic (no chemical or pesticide) agricultural based endeavor called La Carreta. www.lacarretanewmexico.com In the past, I have made a line of fruit preserves, sauces, vinegars, teas, apple cider from the fruits that grow in my orchard. My La Carreta business is undergoing an updating process and a change of direction at this time. The new changes will be reflected in my website soon. I will be making fewer products with sugar such as fruit preserves. What I will continue to do is make fresh pressed apple cider, vinegars, fresh and dried fruits, herb teas, apple syrup without sugar. Also, I am very interested in healthy, organic nutrition, fresh bean sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables. I will continue to sell my photography and books and hope to pen some articles and essays for journals and newspapers.
Recently I wrote a large scale musical/opera called Raindrop. It is an environmental work consisting of 15 arias. It was presented last year 2010 in Dixon, New Mexico for Earth Day, World Environment Day and on radio for Fourth of July. There is a detailed description of these events on my website, lacarretanewmexico.com under the “news” section of my website. I have also published some environmental essays in this same section as well.
I also have a recorded song called Raindrop which was premiered with an interview of me done by Dave Hockmeyer at the world famous KTAOS solar radio station up in Taos, New Mexico, January 2010.
I am a self-publisher. My books are published under my publishing company called La Carreta. I have also published an article for an environmental journal, call Taos Green Guide for Sustainable Living. My photographs have been published front cover and inside covers of a book that was produced by the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Pueblo Cultural Center called Healing Plants of the Rio Grande Valley: Hispano and Pueblo Uses of Nature. The book is edited by Verónica Iglesias Swanson and Carlos Vásquez. It is an intercultural collaboration. The cover of the book and two additional large full size pages are of my photographs. They are pictures of remedios that grow on my farm. Many of my works in music, literature, photography and dance have been published in magazines, books and newspapers. Some of them have won awards.
My books are:
Crest of the Wave (poetry) Nature, contemplative, prayers, agriculture/ personal experiences of living on a farm in rural northern New Mexico
Beyond the Garden (poetry)
Nature, travel, farming experiences, contemplative
Beyond the Garden (poetry Spanish translation)
Spanish translation by Clara Hilda Padilla of Sonora, Mexico
Toward and Away (narrative poetry)
Personal reflections about questions and the call hidden deep in questions
La Última Posada (Christmas story plus recipes)
Fiction Christmas story set in southwestern territorial times/ a carpenter lost in the mountains, small family, winter storm and a birth / family recipes for posadas and other festive occasions/ verses of Spanish posadas with English translation
Vineyards of Blood (vignettes and poetry)
Encounters with Jesus, Maria and feature poem, Vineyards of Blood/ exploration of religious symbols and their impact
Trilogy (three dramas, songs, poetry and photography)
Three plays--Catedral del Viento concerning the controversy of "Our Lady" digital art work of Alma Lopez/ Marco's Return a Vietnam veteran from Alcalde returns from the war in search of his daughter given up for adoption/ Serenata a romantic play without conflict about love between a Cherry tree and the acequia water and how they never want to be separated.
Scream (La Frontera, Las Mujeres Desparecidas narrative poetry)
Frontera, an at length narrative poem with Spanish translation by Hector Contreras reflecting on border issues and clashes. Las Mujeres Desparecidas, an at length poem inspired by various trips to Juárez and conversations with women of Juárez. Final poem inspired by imaginings of grass roots strategies creating social change through communication. Featured at the Encuentro de Poesia en Ciudad Juárez.
The White Golden Blanket (drama and poetry)
Four Act Play set in Afghanistan, Pakistan and New York City based on interviews and correspondence with photo journalists and combat journalist/ clash of cultures creates settings where persons unlikely to meet do/ women in conflict in all cultures, women--important in solving world conflicts, landmines, environment, the plight of refugees, reflections on war, death and religion
Tecolote Tales (short stories)
Tecolote Tale--a young boy tests his courage and meets an owl who teaches him wiser ways/ The Master and His Slave--two men are marooned on an island learn that survival requires overcoming personal barriers even though they have the physical means to save themselves./ The Psychic Desert--explores an interior world of solitude--imagination and reveals itself in a desert where animals, humans and spirits play out the interior drama of the human spirit.
Infinite Love (intimate poems)
English/future Spanish translation by Carmen Amato
Intimate poems--a love letter to the universe/ a deep request, a Spanish healing remedio for a return to balance in the world. This work is also re-interpreted in jazz with song, piano, string bass and flute.
La Virgen de Guadalupe (El Huérfano y su Madre)
An Epic poem inspired by the account of the tilma of La Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe enshrined at Tepeyac near Mexico City. An additional separate poem concludes the book called The Fragments of My Soul in English with Spanish translation by my mother, Maria Casias and Carmen Holguin Contreras.
Bear Foot Song (A Passage through Transformation)
Three essays interwoven within a story.
Shalt (narrative poetry)
English with Spanish translation done by Carmen Holguin Contreras
The Vote (non-fiction narrative)
A non-fiction narrative about the author’s experience of being a Challenger for the Democratic Party at the Alcalde Precinct#2, November 2, 2004. The account covers a period during the election campaign, the Election Day and time after the election. It is about the personal experience of political involvement.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARMEN AMATO
I enjoy both solitude and time with friends and family. I’m an optimistic person and enjoy both work and play. Humor is important. I am serious, but I also enjoy being very silly with friends. I like being physically very active, being in nature, dancing, working on farm and orchard projects, inventing, trying out new approaches and ideas. I love children and enjoy working with people of all ages. I enjoy cooking and entertaining. Essentially, my philosophy is: relax, focus, enjoy your work, do your best, discover and innovate
I have a list of projects that I am working on.
I want to finish entering all the arias from the Raindrop musical/opera into and learn the Finale composing computer program. Finish the overture that goes to this opera and also finish my project of having the theme song from Raindrop available to buy on cdbaby.com. This will be happening very soon, so check out that website for the song. Also, I want to put the Raindrop story into an e book and hardcopy to sell. My hope is to have The Black Nightingale Prince also ready. I also have two ideas for other opera/ musicals and an additional essay and story. These are all on my mental dock (logged in my mind) ready to work on as soon as possible. All the work is environmental.
I would like to tell people who are concerned about the environment---Don’t give up. Make “trying” a goal. You must make it a consistent, life-time effort. Read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. She is a wonderful writer and an important example and model of someone who made such important contributions through her writing. She is an inspiring example of someone who makes “trying” a life-time goal.
Photography sent by Silvia Vergara
Sylvia Ernestina Vergara (2010)
Sylvia Ernestina Vergara is an internationally recognized visual, performing artist and author. Vergara has a Master Degree from Mills College, Oakland, California in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Dance Choreography and concentration in music. Sylvia E.Vergara is an accomplished pianist, composer and dance choreographer. She was awarded a partial tuition scholarship in music composition by eminent French composer, Darius Milhaud (Aspen Summer Music Festival). Her other mentors include J. D. Robb and Walter Keller of the University of New Mexico. Ms. Vergara founded and directed Arte Mudanza, a prominent performing and visual arts center receiving support through five separate successive grants from the New Mexico Arts Division now known as the Office of Cultural Affairs.
NOCHE ESPAÑOLA PHOTOGRAPHY BY SYLVIA VERGARA
Using music composition and dance choreography, writing, visual arts and agriculture, Sylvia creates an artistic synthesis about life in rural New Mexico. Through art she expresses her cultural New Mexico roots that reach back generations. Simultaneously, Vergara expounds on contemporary topics that concern environmental and social issues locally and globally. On Earth Day, April 23, 2010, Ms. Vergara premiered her musical/opera called Raindrop, an environmental musical for children, teenagers and adults about the Arctic, global warming, polar bears and solar cars. Other 2010 presentations of Raindrop were for World Environment Day and Fourth of July. Her approach to challenging environmental issues is positive and seeks to explore in as many ways as possible viable solutions that might work. Vergara believes that artists can make an important difference in helping to solve the world’s most difficult problems through a visionary approach that uses imagination and creativity. Sylvia has presented her creative works at the Tercer Encuentro Internacional de Poetas 2008 en Ciudad Delicias, Mexico. This is her seventh invitation to share her music and literary works at international symposiums for scholars, writers and journalists in Mexico. Sylvia Ernestina Vergara has been a three-time panelist for Bioneers in New Mexico, an internationally prominent environmental organization. Vergara presented her perspective through her written articles, song, poetry and art at the New Mexico Bioneer’s Conference 2007 in Santa Fe. Ms. Vergara is featured in the January 2008 Taos Green Guide for Sustainable Living concerning water issues. Vergara’s latest photographic publication was for a major book called Healing Plants of th Rio Grande, Valley: Hispano and Pueblo Uses of Nature, a collaborative effort between the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, USA.
Sylvia Ernestina Vergara teaches Music Appreciation at Northern New Mexico College. She also has the honor of being an original member of the women’s literary group of prominent Mexican scholars and writers called Red Planetaria de Mujeres Poetas.
There is more about the literary encuentros that I would like to talk about that were so wonderful and listings also of literary works in Mexican anthologies. I would love to talk about how wonderful the literary encuentros in Mexico were and what a life-long, powerful inspiration they were. I will never forget those cherished and valuable experiences and the wonderful friends I made. Thank you.
Environmental Research and Agricultural Projects 2011
Research Project using Newspaper to insulate windows (a passive solar energy approach to heat conservation)
Presently I am conducting two environmental studies at the farm. Winters are very cold in northern New Mexico. This year 2011, the temperature dropped 20 degrees below zero. Generally the temperature does not drop that low. I live in an adobe home and in the past I have used plastic to insulate the windows. This year I have decided to use one sheet of newspaper thickness on the south side and east and west windows and two sheets of newsprint on the north side windows. I also created newsprint panels to section off a room and a hallway. I wanted to use a recyclable material such as newspaper instead of plastic because newspaper is readily available and recyclable. Also, I felt that if I could successfully keep the cold out, perhaps other people in cold regions could benefit from this experiment and try this method. I was able to conserve heat with minimal dependence on other fuels for heat.
Next season I hope to use plain newsprint paper that I can create artwork on the paper. I see important aesthetic possibilities as well as functional ones. Also, I found using newsprint an affordable approach. The entire project cost less than $10 dollars. Anybody could do it.
Research Project #2
Using Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
for Well Water Sanitation
The second study has to do with using organic apple cider vinegar instead of Chlorine
To sanitize a drinking water well. Many people in rural northern New Mexico have water wells that they use for their drinking water. Chlorine is used for sanitizing wells. The continued use of chlorine has been found to be harmful to the environment. This includes the devastation to water aquifers, air, our bodies, soil and nearby rivers and streams. I am experimenting with apple cider vinegar as an alternative to the use of chlorine for disinfecting my water well. This study will be conducted throughout the year 2011 on my water well. Apple cider vinegar does not hurt the aquifer. It is safe for our bodies and does not hurt the air. And as I imagine it, I like the idea of supporting an organic (no chemicals or pesticide industry) by using an organic apple cider vinegar. If this can be achieved, then people possibly could have another alternative that does not hurt the environment.
The ants are making pyramids
The bees are making
The birds are making
Without cutting trees down
The fish are
Without polluting the water
Without population explosions
The plants are making solar
POEMAS EN ESPAÑOL
Alfabeto de la conciencia
La página está temblando
se me perdió mi pluma
ahora tengo que escribir
con mi corazón.
La vida muerde mi corazón
las palabras están hechas de sangre
y el ritmo está pulsando
en una volcánica arteria.
Emociones están envueltas
en este misterioso músculo.
La página espera
mis dedos están quietos,
siento la punta
de la pasión
entrando en el alfabeto
de mi conciencia.
LA SEMILLA DIOSES Y DIOSAS
Por Sylvia Ernestina Vergara
(Traducción en Español por Inma Lopetegui)
Yo creo que ninguna semilla debe ser patentada. La semilla no esta hecha para ser estéril y no dar más semillas. Todas las semillas pertenecen a la humanidad y esto significa ayudar a alimentar toda la tierra.
Dedico este poema a todos los campesinos del mundo y especialmente a aquellos que han perdido toda esperanza y están cometiendo suicidio (especialmente en India) porque han perdido sus derechos humanos y sus semillas.
Qué diminutos, mis pequeños Dioses y Diosas.
Qué preciosos, mis pequeños Dioses y Diosas
Grande es vuestra voz en mi corazón
Yo bailo mientras tu cantas:
La palma abierta de mi mano
es uno de vuestros muchos tronos
Yo os susurro:
Qué diminutos, mis pequeños Dioses
Qué preciosos, mis pequeños Diosas
¡Cuantos diferentes maravillosos tamaños
y formas tenéis!
La canción de cuna de la tierra
os arrulla en el viento y los ríos
En otoño, manos con esperanza os recogen
para plantar la futura cosecha
Plantas secas marchitasen y desmenuzan
mientras el helado invierno os pisotea.
Vuestro primero y último grito es "¡Semilla!"
El frío helado os pisotea y os rompe
abriendo vuestras pequeños féretros
Vuestras semillas se derraman fuera y
se dispensan sobre el suelo
Pequeños animales os recogen para su invierno
Cuatro vientos, ríos, pájaros celebran el regalo sagrado
Todas las pequeñas Dioses y Diosas llamados "Semillas"
han llegado a bendecirnos
Mientras ellas crecen,
ellos serán nuestros compañeros
y nos enseñan amor y paciencia
Ellos han llegado a darnos
fe universal en ellos
cuando ellas calladamente empiezan
a brotar debajo del suelo
“Necesitáis creer en milagros
incluso antes de que aparezcamos”
Los Dioses semilla nos enseñan su synergéticas
bendiciones mientras ellos se transforman y crecen:
"La bendición de Dios Padre, Dios Hijo, Dios
y la mía te alcance también”
Los valles, campos, agua y campesinos eco:
“…y la mía te alcance también”
Nosotros no debemos estar sin las pequeños Dioses y Diosas.
Nosotros no debemos olvidaros
Compartamos nuestras semillas
Compartamos, reunámonos y juntos alabemos
las Dioses semillas
No debemos dejarlas morir.
Pintura y Foto de Sylvia Vergara
Extracto del Sueño de Isis
Por Sylvia Ernestina Vergara
(Traducción Español / Inma Lopetegui)
El huele a los campos de trigo y cebada
Las aguas del Nilo se estremecen en el estanque de sus ojos
Sus manos son las del gran faraón, dios y poeta
Sus orejas están hechas de música maravillosa
Sus sandalias no están pintadas de sus enemigos
para ser aplastados con sus pisadas
Sus sandalias están hechas de flores y hierba
De su túnica de lino, retoños de maíz están creciendo
Sus labios y su sonrisa sabe a las frutas y
los vegetales recogidos al amanecer
Su piel es morena y vibrante como los campos inundados
por el Nilo, listos para plantar
Sus movimientos fluyen como el gran río de Egipto
Su espíritu está lleno del hermoso lenguaje de los animales que
crecen vigorosamente bebiendo las aguas de sus orillas.