"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.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Manzanos in the morning

Pen and ink, on a steno pad, the view from the Albuquerque airport,
The great blue hulk of the Manzano mountains, stretching more than 50 miles southeast of Albuquerque are far less populated than the Sandias just north of them. On a cloudy day, looking east with the sun behind them you can barely see the streaks of snow on the highest peaks. The tall one is Capilla peak, more than 9,000 feet high, about 5,000 feed above the Rio Grand valley to the west. There's a fire lookout tower on the very top, and you can hike up there. I did so many years ago, from the other side.

These peaks captivate my imagination, and I've painted them twice, as did my Dad...but those views is from the north. On the opposite side in the foothills are Spanish land grants and small villages, and the beginning of the Great Plain, stretch all the way back to Oklahoma.  sketched this Veterans Day, waiting on a flight home from my uncle Mike's funeral in Santa Fe.  The mountains are part of the Rido Grand rift valley, thrust up on the east, while the west dropped.

Manzanos is Spanish for Apples, and when the evening sun and clouds are right, they do seem to turn red. I think Coronado and the Conquistadors of 500 years ago, homesick and thirsty marching up the valley from Mexico and El Paso del Norte, wistfully named them this, hungry for the apples from the orchards of Castillian Spain.

1 comment:

  1. To me the Manzanos have always been the poor cousins, and more mysterious cousins to the Sandias.

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