Los Griegos Neighborhood

Located in the scenic North Valley area of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Los Griegos was originally a grant of lands given Juan Griego in 1708, and annexed by Albuquerque in the late 1940's and early 1950's.  This quaint neighborhood has an active neighborhood association, many longterm residents, and a myriad of age ranges.  In short, Los Griegos is a great place to live and raise a family!

Los Griegos Neighborhood Association has created this site to provide and store information related to LGNA activities, and to promote and preserve the sense of community and the history of Los Griegos.  All members of the Board are volunteers. If you would like to volunteer please contact one of our board members.

Marking the hands of time in Los Griegos

by Steve Maurer©

There is a certain dirt yard in the Los Griegos neigh­borhood of Albuquerque, a barrio where lawns are a luxury few can afford.  This yard has prob­ably always been dirt, ever since the late 1800s when one Juan Vigil first built a "four viga" adobe house there.

When I first came to live in Juan Vigil's house, the yard continued uninterrupted into the 3/4-acre field beyond.  Unlike the yard, the field had been cultivated when Los Griegos was a thriving agricultural communi­ty.  The post-war growth of the city engulfed Los Griegos, transform­ing it into a barrio, and the ditch that had brought water to the fields was eventually closed.  Only tumbleweeds and a few grasses man­aged to eke out a precarious existence where Juan Vigil had once raised chiles, beans, and maize.

During the fifteen years I lived in the adobe house, the yard's southern boundary became defined by a row of Russian olives I planted there.  A garden, corral, some rustic outbuildings, and a few animals brought life back to Juan Vigil's legacy, but the yard remained as always: barren dirt.  It was here that a curious thing happened each Febru­ary.

With the arrival of warm weather, small holes opened here and there in the packed dirt, and out of these holes poured shimmering, living threads of silver. Desert ter­mites emerged from underground by the hundreds for their annual swarming flight.  They rested on the ground as if to adjust their eyes to the bright world above, then flew up, filling the air with glittering wings that mirrored the myriad tiny pieces of broken glass in the dirt below.

Year after year the termites emerged at the same plac­es: near the Russian olives, in the middle of the yard, by the goat fence that hid the trash cans, and by the dead stump of a once enormous cottonwood that probably shaded Juan Vigil when he laid the adobe bricks for his house.  Year after year sparrows, finches, and starlings unfailingly appeared also to feast on the protein-rich termites.

The swarming flights lasted for less than a week then the termites disappeared into their dark and mysterious underground world.  Soon after though, the day came when the liquid calls of the first migrating cranes fell through the morning air.  Year after year the termites swarmed and with­in a few days the cranes would be drawing dark lines across the blue New Mexico sky.

The days are getting warmer.  Even though I no longer live there, I know that any day now, gossamer wings will hover above a dirt yard in Los Griegos, for the clock that moves termites and cranes alike has signaled another spring.

Cottonwood on the Griegos Lateral


The Art of Mayordomo