15 May 2007

It's hard to come back from New Mexico

New Mexico is pretty depressed, and probably has been since 1927. We lived in Albuquerque when I was about ten, and that's perked up some, and of course Santa Fe and Taos have, but apart from that, it's a slow, remote kind of place. Little attention to matters of fashion. Lots of attention to beauty.

This virgin was carved inside a tree out back of Albuquerque's San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town. Like a lot of beautiful things in New Mexico, it's not announced - just there for you to stumble on and be transfixed by.

She has an arresting, rather simian face.

I just about fainted when I saw this sign in Truth or Consequences. I do believe that this is a representation of what folks used to call a "Chinaman." Nothing rusts, and nothing's wasted in New Mexico - this sign had to have been in place for decades. I think the last time they took it down to touch up the paint, they reckoned the pigtail was a little offensive and busted it off. They left his buttons on, though.

Everywhere we went we saw fantastic preserved commercial art. This is Socorro or Belen, I think.

Outside Las Cruces, once a makeshift burial ground for victims of Apaches, now the second-biggest city in New Mexico.

Not sure this store in T or C was ever open.

Mineral hot springs are good for you!

The Very Large Array, outside Socorro. We were lucky enough to tag along with a school group, so we got to go everywhere - even inside the control room.

Tell you what: for making do, New Mexicans put New Englanders to shame. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is using this equipment today. (They've got some newer stuff, too.)

Is the sky ever like this in New England? I think not. Hubbo (apologies to Ann and Kay) was nearly blinded.

Near McCartys, on the Acoma reservation, the start of a very long trail over the lava from Acoma to Zuni Pueblo. This is one of the youngest lava flows in the continental U.S. (The very youngest, at 1000 years old, is the Valley of Fires, near Tularosa, where the eruption flowed at a rate that would fill 13 bathtubs a second, and went on that way for 43 years. That was a pretty good one, too.)

I don't have to tell you I used this occasion to say the word "pahoehoe" about a hundred times.

No lighting at the Lightning Field. Devastating hail in Alamogordo, mild hail in Gallup, crazy snow in Santa Fe, but no lightning at the Lightning Field.

Inside the Lightning Field accommodations, where we spent our paper anniversary. It was made out of three abandoned homesteads pushed together. Quite rustic; a great place to commune with my Chevron scarf.

The beautiful slot canyon at Kasha-Katuwe, or Tent Rocks, outside Santa Fe.

Some of the many tent rocks.

Just outside Taos, the Greater World Community of Earthships. They're all completely self-sustaining, getting their power from wind and sun. In the high desert, they get eight inches of rain a year (which is legal to collect in New Mexico, unlike Colorado). The water is re-used four times before being returned to the outside. It totally reminded me of Tatooine, and I half expected to turn around and find Aunt Beru handing me a tall glass of something blue there.

We were there for two weeks, and put 2000 miles on the car. I shall never tire of New Mexico. Can't wait to go back.


Alayne said...

That looks gorgeous! Happy Anniversary Max and Joe -

simone said...

Happy anniversary, Max & Joe! New Mexico looks really amazing to me. I've never been anywhere near the desert so it seems like another planet to me. So exciting!