I have a good buddy – Danna – who lives up in the Pacific Northwest. She and I have been friends for roughly 16 years or so. Her area of the country is what I would consider to be the “enchanted emerald coast” and she knows I live in “The Land of Enchantment”.
It’s the ‘grass is always greener’ syndrome hard at work here, although speaking literally in this case, her grass is definitely much greener because well… here in all of this “enchantment” we have no grass – for the most part. At least, not like they do up north.
When we share photos back and forth of each others’ local escapades, I’ve noticed a tendency towards the emphasis of exaggerating or minimizing the beauty of our surroundings, hence the title of this blog post.
Not long ago, I sent her a text message with the following photo and titled it, “pile of rocks” – because, well technically that is correct.
Perhaps it goes without saying that the landscape that we are graced with in Northern New Mexico truly defies all logical description and perhaps the literal is the logical.
Nah… I just like to be “funny” sometimes. And she’ll send me text messages with stunning panoramic vistas of the Cascades with simply “trees” as the caption. So yes, “Dirt.”
One of my favorite pastimes is to take long and winding drives through the back country of the desert southwest. For the most part, these little day trips happen in the northern parts of New Mexico, the high country between Santa Fe and the Colorado border.
Abiquiu, New Mexico – not to be confused with Albuquerque, New Mexico (as stated in it’s Wikipedia Entry), is just barely a census-designated location about 50 miles north of Santa Fe.
Like much of New Mexico, it has long and bloody history spanning over several centuries and influenced by Native American tribes, Spanish conquistadors, American colonialists and modern Americans. That is the extraordinarily oversimplified version which can’t come close to doing all of these stories justice. However, that’s something I’m not qualified to broach adequately.
What I will say is: I felt it was more important to mention that first, than speak about that which almost everyone already knows about – Georgia O’Keeffe. Yes, this area is where she called home from 1929 – 1984.
Shortly before the Great Pandemic of 2020 took hold, I was able to go onto the Georgia O’Keeffe museum property grounds and photograph some of the restored buildings and structures from that era. Walk where she walked, see what she saw.
I don’t consider myself much of an artist and I didn’t really care for much of the “vibe” of the more populated, or more pretentious aspects of Ghost Ranch, but away from everyone and the kitschy, heavily commercialized feel of the place, it was interesting and lovely.
I can certainly see how someone can come out here and find inspiration in a place like this. It’s equally impressive that they were able to survive in this extreme, harsh climate.
Pile of rocks, indeed.
At the end of the day, when dealing with the harshest of extremes, being able to find the grandest of beauty is truly a gift.