Galisteo Basin Preserve Green Cemetery Garden

There is a circular nature to the natural environment and life in general that for Western culture in this linear-focused, hyper-active era, is often invisible. But in truth, it is no less real than ever, as will become more obvious when wandering through or contemplating in the Garden.

The Garden is nestled between large Juniper trees on the banks of the colorful and winding Arrollo Los Angeles in the Galisteo Basin Preserve near Santa Fe New Mexico. It is accessed by a walking path that meanders alongside the arrollo and connects to a parking area about 200 yards away. The Garden is visible from a long distance by a tall, beacon-like sculpture that marks the center-point of this circular environment. Surrounding the sculpture is a narrow ring of water that is in turn ringed by a flagstone terrace, circular stone seating and a concentric path which connects walking paths at the north and south edges of the Garden. And wrapping all this are low plantings of juniper shrubs and pampas grass. In the mid-ground are the hills and promontories of the Preserve that surround this area and beyond those are the Ortiz, Sandia and Sangre de Cristo mountains, forming a broad outer circle on the horizon. Finally, above all this is the sky-dome of Northern New Mexico: cobalt blue during the daytime, a blaze of color at sunrise and sunset and an infinite array of stars and planets at night. From this circular Garden, the seasons, earth and sky expand in ever-concentric rings. Beyond the Garden are several viewing and gathering areas that align with the Garden's center along the lines of significant solar-season events. For example, one of the viewing areas to the NE and the Amphitheater to the SW are on the same line with the center sculpture on the Summer Solstice sunrise and the Winter Solstice sunset. These events and their points on the compass mark the longest and shortest days of the year, respectively and also major turning points in the cycle of the seasons. The solar equinoxes can also be experienced from another viewing area as can solar-noon and the alignment with the solar meridian. All these events are quiet, subtle yet powerful reminders of the circular nature of our existence.

The Green Cemetery, an almost-invisible element itself, extends to the NE. From the Garden and surrounding viewing areas, visitors can experience a level of quiet and contemplation not easily found in this age. And with that foundation they can consider, among other things, the physical, philosophical and earth-sky connections between the Green Cemetery with all that it represents and this unique environment in the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

We invite you to experience the Garden for any reason at all, whether as part of a Green burial ceremony; visiting a loved one; meditation or simply to rest and take a short leave from the frenetic 21st century. Regardless of season or time of day, that experience will be restorative. You are always welcome.

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