As a young girl, I would visit the Taos Pueblo with my parents and siblings. Back then, the pueblo had very specific areas where tourists could go. I remember walking through the streets and wondering how people lived in the very thick-walled pueblo dwellings, particularly on the upper levels. And I remember looking at the light blue painted doors and door frames, and wondering if the color had a special significance or meaning. Everyone called it “Taos Blue” — it was such a beautiful shade of blue.
Today, the Taos Pueblo has a very nice visitor center, and has expanded the areas where tourists can roam. The portion of the pueblo that is still off-limits is clearly indicated, but many of the homes have developed small businesses in the front rooms for expanding their economy. Different families have everything from photography to jewelry to pottery, and artifacts. Some families have small dining areas for a cool beverage or sandwich, and an opportunity to sit and chat with the residents for a while.
My husband and I have been to Taos a few times in the past couple of years, and we have had an opportunity to chat with some really wonderful people and to make new friends as we wandered about the pueblo. One of the questions at the top of my list was to get a better understanding of the blue doors. This came up as I saw a few doors that were painted different colors, not the traditional turquoise blue I remembered. Yes, most of the painted doors were still “Taos blue”, but there some doors were painted red. That startled me a bit. So, of course, I asked. And the answer was quite revealing – there isn’t any requirement to paint doors the turquoise blue color, other than that it is a very pretty color and has been a tradition for centuries. People of the pueblo still follow the traditions of no electricity or running water, but some are choosing to enhance their doorways with distinctive colors.
Yet the turquoise blue doors of the Taos Pueblo will always make me think of Taos Pueblo. We purchased some wonderful photographs by Debbie Lujan of the pueblo with the blue doors prominently shown, as well as a few other artifacts to bring home. Though the blue doors may not be a requirement at the pueblo, they will always bring back great memories of childhood trips to the Taos Pueblo, and will always transport me to the peaceful harmony with nature that the Taos Pueblo and its residents enjoy.