Friday, May 14, 2010

A Gift of Enchantment

Leaving Cimarron, NM
Eagle Nest, NM (from the moon roof of the car)
Winona on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, near Angel Fire

Rio Grande Gorge near Angel Fire

Winona and Mary at Ore House in Santa Fe

San Miguel Mission, Santa Fe circa 1610

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe

Santa Fe Gallery

Mother's Day 2010 found me on the road with my dear friend, Mary, from Wichita Falls, Texas. She gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received for my coming birthday. She gave me the gift of home in the form of a trip to New Mexico,the home of my heart and where I was raised. I graduated from high school in Lovington in 1969.

Crossing the state line brought tears to my eyes. I have always found the diverse beauty, culture, and attitude of New Mexico to be more than I can bear at times. The sky was as blue as I remember. The wildflowers dotting acres of sage, mesquite, and cacti splash the roadside and life with color. We spent our first night in Tucumcari. I stood at the hotel window entranced by mesas in the distance. The next morning I had breakfast with two friends from high school, Dianne and Sam. Forty years dropped away like nothing.

Then, on to Santa Fe one of the oldest cities in the nation. Santa Fe is rich with art, culture, a careful bridging of the past with the present, and natural beauty. Adobe buildings, old and new, dot the countryside before giving way to a city rich with history. Before Santa Fe became a city of artists it was a city of faith. Cathedrals, missions, chapels, and the importance of faith are evident in every area. I was especially enthralled with the Loretto Chapel and its mystery of a spiral staircase built in the 1800's by an unnamed carpenter using only three tools and no nails. The carpenter disappeared as soon as the staircase was completed. The San Miguel Mission was built in 1610. It has witnessed revolts, peace, and unscrupulous overseers in its time. The Mission contains the oldest bell in the nation, forged in 1392.

Santa Feans are proud, and rightfully so, of the Native Americans, paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, buildings, food, flora and fauna in the area. Creativity abounds and seems to be a prerequisite for living there. As a writer my creativity focused on the history and story imaginings. I have a tote bag still full of ideas, thoughts, and postcards. I'm not enough of a photographer to do New Mexico justice.

Undulating mountainsides with boulders trapped in some long ago free fall amaze even the most skeptical. Arroyos, gorges, and small washes meander as testimony to the presence of rushing and deep waters covering the desert and mountains eons ago. Crevices carved in the sides boast colors not found in a crayon box. The Rio Grande Gorge near Angel Fire rivals the Grand Canyon, not in size but in beauty.

Taos, a community of laid-back artisans and shopkeepers invites New Mexicans and tourists with selections as unique as their owners. Near Angel Fire naked ski slopes glare from the mountain. It is easy to see that winter brings activity and joy to visitors and locals.
Horses, cattle, sheep, and antelope share large ranches with snakes, coyotes, mountain lions, and other wildlife. New Mexico is a harsh land. Perhaps that is one of her greatest treasures.

I have tried, without great success, to convey to the readers the beauty of New Mexico as well as my love for her. Georgia O'Keefe, famous New Mexico artist, once said, "If you ever go to New Mexico, it will itch you for the rest of your life." She was right, indeed, she was right. New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment . . .
Again, I cried crossing the state line. I will return "home" again one day. If I can't return in body I'll return in spirit and, perhaps, in a story.


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...


Jan Rider Newman said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with us, Nona. I'm itching. Oh, am I itching. I've been there twice, and once was enough to convince me it is the home of my heart, but twice isn't nearly enough. Praise God for New Mexico, New Mexico, New Mexico!

Linda Broday said...

Winona, my sister and I recently visited Ruidoso and Hobbs where we were born and raised. How odd that you're from Lovington. Wow! We grew up within spitting distance of each other. Like you, we loved going back to New Mexico and our roots. There's no other place like it. So hauntingly beautiful.