"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.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cloud watch encore!


Thor's home in New Mexico

Dramatic clouds dominate a dramatic landscape...ask Willa Cather in Death Comes for the Archbishop

The mountains grow clouds, or are the mountains the roots of clouds?

Vertical in a horizontal landscape.

Rain and rainbow over the Sangre de Cristos at Santa Fe.
Sunset in the Blood of Christ mountains and skies over the Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi.
Last light in one of the fabled cities as lights of gold twinkle.

Skies and lands of contrast and magic.
Where the spirits of the Land of Enchantment dwell.
Golden dawn "female" rain at the southern  end of the Rocky Mountains.
To the south of Santa Fe about 60 miles as you hit the Great Plains for a 500mile trek home, looms the blue bulk of the Sandia Mountains. At their feet stretching across the Rio Grande valley is Albuquerque, where I grew up. The weather changes here and by mid-morning, there's only a single cloud in the sky.
The Sandias are fault-block mountains, with the eastern slopes tilting toward the Great Plains like some listing aircraft carrier hit by massive explosions. Indeed, the Sandias rise like an opened trap door to over 10,000 feet at what is called "The Crest," and are crowned with Pennsylvania limestone over rugged granite cliffs dropping steeply to Albuquerque, 5,000 feet and more below. The rock that matches the crest is 5,000 more feet below the Rio Grande river, a rift valley--massive tectonic explosions indeed--10,000 foot-displacement. The Sandias are so named, because the granite cliffs turned red in the evening sun and have a narrow green rim of Ponderosa pine. To Coronado and the hot, thirsty conquistadors a long way from Spain in 1540, they resembled sliced, juicy watermelons--Sandias.

You may click on any of these images to make them larger. Bienvenidas a mi tierra y corazon.

1 comment:

  1. I miss how the clouds form over the mountains. I understand the thermodynamics of it, adiabatic lapse rates and all that, but it is still magic.

    Your photos remind me of some of Rudolfo Anaya's books where he talks about the Kachinas in the mountains.

    ReplyDelete