Chapter one ——

ART and the CROSS, a New Mexico story. This is a story about young people caught in emotional and sexual abuse that began within their families. It is unique to New Mexico and immediate area because the Penitents of northern New Mexico still continue their rituals and the kidnapping of Indian children still happens occasionally. This story is based on actual happenings. It is also unique because the abuse was within the environment of art, religion and the landscape, culture and traditions of New Mexico. This partially written story was removed from another internet site for unsure reasons. The story was not allowed to be completed, which would have resolved all the conflicts. I was not then or now encouraging emotional or sexual abuse. I was simply defining the problem to reveal the solutions, but was not given that opportunity; so hopefully on my own site I can complete the story, “Art and the Cross.” by Jim Pecha, B. Arch. Christian Artist, Minister of Creativity, copyright 2012

It was a beautiful late August morning. A slight breeze was coming in through the Tijeras Canyon of the Sandia Mountains, the eastern boundary of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Lewis Carrow parked his car as close as he could to the entrance of the grocery store, but was still a good distance away. He looked up at the clear blue sky and felt a coolness, the first sign of fall in the air. It was a relief from the heat, but also made him feel a little anxious, probably because as a child, fall meant the beginning of school. As he locked the car door and began walking towards the store he heard a woman scream. It was not a cry for help, but one of anger. Her scream triggered a scream of anger within himself. Jacques Corot immediately looked around, but didn’t see anything unusual. Then he realized that he had just experienced a change of person, from Lewis to Jacques, but he knew it was because he felt Lewis was unable to deal with situations, from his childhood, where Jacques was capable. A flood of memories erupted into his mind. He remembered his Mother asking him to pose for her as she showed him her drawings of nude men and women from her university night drawing class. She had recently been talking about the penitents of northern New Mexico whipping and crucifying naked men at Easter. She had mentioned wanting to enter a painting into the New Mexico State Fair art show of the Penitents. His imagination placed him in front of her easel completely naked with his arms outstretched and upward as if crucified. He was eighteen at the time and had just graduated from high school. He remembered how his Mother liked to see him in his skimpy swimsuit sun bathing in the backyard. He was at the peak of his sexuality and it was intertwined with pictures from the art books and the families Big Bible of Christ’s whippings and crucifixion.                    

Then the woman screamed again. This time Jacques scanned the parking lot carefully. The movement at the entrance of the store caught his attention. A young couple was walking out of the store. The woman was agitated, but the man was calm and began looking to the right and left as if anticipating trouble. The woman turned and gestured to a man within the store with her hand. As they walked into the sunlight Jacques could see that they were probably Navajo. She was probably a mix with Spanish because of her height and slenderness. She was beautiful even at a distance. Her long black hair to her waist was being tossed around her shoulders with every step. She wore only a short white cotton vest tied in the middle with a single string. Her turquoise blue shorts had what appeared to be a scarf rolled up and fed through the belt loops, She was barefoot. Jacques could see why the young man was concerned. He wore an old red plaid shirt without sleeves, which revealed his muscular arms. His blue jeans were brownish and he wore brown hiking boots. The woman saw Jacques and adjusted her direction towards him. Then she let out another scream that stimulated visions, of a galloping war party coming through the canyon towards him, within his mind. She was naked and riding a large multicolored horse and would scream every time she felt fear.

Jacques felt a little apprehensive as the couple came closer. She was a vibrant, obviously angry, young woman. Her medium-sized breasts bounced with her steps. Her abdomen was sunken inward and there seemed to be red marks there and on her legs, but he could hardly take his eyes away from her face. Her cheekbones dominated her facial structure, she wasn’t wearing any make-up, but her lips were an intense brownish red. Her eyes were a dark brown, almost black. As the couple approached Jacques, the woman glanced intently at him and sneered. Whet had he done to deserve that he thought. I don’t even know her. Jacques then gave a quick look at her body as she passed by. She had whip marks across her abdomen and on her legs. He turned as they passed and saw whip marks on her back as well. They did have an organized pattern. Was that something new in style these days along with tattoos and piercings? He had just read about a Russian psychologist that did whip therapy as a way to get people out of their depression.  Jacques kept walking until an engine roared to life behind him He turned to see smoke billowing up from the tires spinning on the asphalt pavement. The young Indian woman was driving as they sped out of the parking lot. On the side of the door was painted in white script lettering the name “Julietta.” Jacques wondered if he would ever see her again, she must live nearby, he thought.

Jacques Corot’s mind was no longer on the weather or his shopping trip.

Chapter Two ——-

I had a dream –

The lake was calm and gray, reflecting the overcast sky. Slightly bobbing in the water was what appeared to be a Viking long-boat without oars or a mast. The deck was wooden and highly polished and slick. In the middle of the deck was a circular hole about four feet in diameter and covered with a seal. I intuitively knew that if the seal was broken, water would rush in and sink the boat. I wandered about the deck looking in all directions, but couldn’t see any distant shoreline. As I gazed out over the peaceful water, I felt the boat suddenly began rocking. I turned around just in time to see a large muscular man coming towards me. I quickly sorted out my options, but staying on the boat seemed the only sane thing to do. Although I wondered how long I would last with this aggressive man heading my way. Then we abruptly engaged in a wrestlers hold. To my surprise, I found that I could hold my own against him. We struggled with one another for maybe an hour, moving about the slippery polished yellow-orange wooden deck. I realized that there was not going to be a resolution to this conflict, it was going to continue until one of us became exhausted. We continued on and on. I remembered that if the seal was broken in the center of the boat the fight would end, but then we probably both would drown; so that wasn’t an alternative. Somehow, I also realized that I was struggling against evil. I remember thinking many times that I could be more productive in my life if I didn’t have so many emotional weeds to deal with, but those weeds also gave me content in my life and stimulated passion. I now started thinking about my other dreams and how, when put together, seemed to be expressing knowledge about levels of spiritual awareness, especially the one that I labeled “a very personal luminescent dream.” Did this dream have anything to do with the young woman I just crossed paths with, Julietta? I wondered if she was involved with something evil that I was subconsciously picking up. If this latest dream was true, I was going to be in a long drawn out struggle or relationship with Julietta.

Almost two months had gone by and I had forgotten about Julietta. I went on a hike into the Sandia Mountains foothills in October. I parked the car at the trailhead at Embudito Canyon and began walking up the trail.It was a beautiful fall day, clear blue skies and cool. I decided to take the maintained trail instead of the path along the arroyo; so I could gain altitude quickly and maybe see some mule deer to photograph. After about a half hour I stopped for a drink of water and turned to look back at the city below, picking out landmarks across town. Then I focused my attention on the parking lot by the trailhead to see my car. As I counted how many cars were there, I noticed a black jeep. I put my camera to my eye and looked through the telephoto lens to see if the white script lettering name of Julietta was on the door, and it was. My heart did a thump, remembering the dream, her beauty and her sneer when she glanced at me. I turned the camera towards the trails. Was she on the maintained trail with me or the arroyo trail? I saw a few hikers, but it was difficult to pick out people at this distance and perspective, among the large granite rocks, tall cholla cactus and thick apache plume bushes. I knew she was down there, but where. I wondered if I would have the opportunity to meet her.

It was near impossible to see the trail from the distance I was from the trailhead. I sat down on a rock along the trail and braced my camera on top of my knee to steady it. I slowly moved the camera along where I thought the footpath should be located. My eye  became fatigued as I squinted through the lens; so I put it down and began thinking about Julietta. I felt a strong attraction to her, but who wouldn’t? She was a natural beauty, no make-up, honest and full of passion, yet troubled. Those whip marks on her body made me sad. Either she was allowing someone else to whip her or she was doing it herself. Children who have been abused usually carry that abuse with them through their adult years, and if they don’t have any insight into it yet, like I didn’t for many years, they express anger in various ways. Maybe that’s why she sneered at me at the grocery store’s parking lot. It is rare to find other people willing to risk that anger to relate to them. I had crossed paths with a lot of abused people over the years and almost all of them had worse stories than mine. I gazed out across the canyon below and the city of Albuquerque in the distance and thought about how so many people saw abused kids and adults as opportunities to abuse them even more, those are the sadistic people, like my Mother. I remember the looks she gave me of pure enjoyment when she realized she had me between a rock and a hard place. They are the really horrible people on this planet, but most other people are afraid to deal with them, like bullies on the playground; so they are able to continue their bad behavior.

Then suddenly a bright reflection caught my eye as I stared blankly towards town. I pulled my camera up quickly and focused at the location of the flash of light. At first I couldn’t make it out because of the angle, but it was someone pointing a photo lens in my direction. The sun, which was high over the mountain was at the perfect angle to reflect off the camera lens, since I was on the south-facing wall of the canyon. Now I had an area to watch. I saw first a white baseball type cap bobbing up and down along the trail, occasionally stopping, but the bushes and rocks blocked most of my view of whoever it was. I followed the person as best as I could. Finally, a clearing between rocks opened up. It was a woman wearing a tan sleeveless top and matching shorts with a black belt holding three blue water bottles. Her feet and shoes were hidden behind low shrubs. She had a camera with a long lens connected, held by a strap around her neck and also a blue back pack. Then I saw the long black hair. It was fed through the hole in the back of the cap and hung down to her waist. It was Julietta. I felt satisfaction, relief and concern. Was it coincidence that she was here on the same trail today? She stopped again and peered through her lens in my direction. I decided to find out if she was following me. I took off up the side of the canyon, leaving the trail, through thick scratchy bushes and tall cholla cactus. I moved quickly around the large granite rock outcroppings. It was about another half an hour before I stopped to rest and look down the side of the foothill. It took a long time again to locate her, but I did, and she also went off the trail where I had. I thought she must have  a GPS guiding her to be so accurate. I sat down and watched her. She was in pretty good shape, didn’t show any fatigue coming up the steep slope. She must have known that I had stopped because she stopped and simply looked up towards my position. Then she went sideways along the hill and continued until she reached a megalithic flat-topped granite rock. The top was about four feet or so above her head. She hiked around it until she was at the back side where she was able to climb a juniper tree and step over to the top surface. She stared out at the view for a while as she loosened the backpack and let it drop to the rock. She then reached down to the pack and pulled out a large black bath sized towel and laid it out carefully. Standing up again she pushed her shoes off her feet and then laid her camera down in the shade of her back pack. She began removing her clothes. I realized she was going to do some nude sunbathing in front of me. Normally, I would have taken some pictures of such an event, but I could tell by her expressions, as she turned towards me, that she was humiliating herself in front of me. Then she pulled her wide black thick belt out from her shorts and began whipping herself, front and back, before  she lay down in line with the bright morning sun. I felt sad for her. I felt overwhelming sympathy for her. I had experienced where she was right now. —to be cont.

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