"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
On the highway north from Santa Fe, on the east are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the tail end of the Rocky Mountain chain. To the west are the Jemez Mountains, a volcanic caldera and also the location of another human caldera, Los Alamos, home of the atomic bomb. Ahead of you along the Rio Grande is Espanola, Taos, and "del norte, much of northern New Mexico.
As a kid, I remember the first time we came to Espanola to visit my uncle Mike who taught there. We came upon the remnants of a great prehistoric inland sea. Eroded sand, rocks and formations of what had been mud stretched out across the landscapes like bleached skeletons of long dead dinosaurs.
Beyond Pojoaque and before you enter Espanola, you can turn east on a state highway that heads up through a Cottonwood-cloaked valley toward Santuario de Chimayo's shrine and holy dirt, and even higher on the "High Road to Taos" to Susan's favorite town, Truchas, at 8,000+ feet at the base of the 13,000 foot Truchas peaks, my favorite New Mexico mountains.
On the way to Chimayo' you pass this "hoodoo" for lack of a better term, part of the bleached, eroded landscape that reminds me of prehistoric creatures. I've tried to paint it several times, but I get too caught up in being literal, and somehow it loses its power.
This view is looking northwest, back toward Espanola in the valley below. I was going to make this a photo at the top of my blog later, but after Alan Bates of Tulsa, fellow blogger (Yogi's Den), listed on my blog sidebar and fellow New Mexican, responded to a facebook post about Espanola, it got me to thinking. This country makes you want to tell stories.