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Geological Formations In New Mexico, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:24am

I just got back from two nights at an old friend’s house, in the hills above Santa Fe. I keep predicting high desert outside my window; it will take a while longer for my imagination to come home.

You can see why.

The day after I arrived we went hiking in the Tent Rocks national park. At the entrance, cacti,

and erosion in apricot stone.

Once you get up into what they call the “slot canyons,” you can really see the formations known as “hoodoos.” They look like people. That’s one of my friends, taking a photo of her own. She is in fact a person. Not long ago she hiked 100 miles around Mont Blanc. It’s good to have a buddy who can set an example.

But look at those rocks. Extraordinary, no? All kinds of imagery comes to mind, the most anthropomorphic being families. Grownups grouped together, chatting, children down the way hoping nobody puts an end to their fun.

After our hike we went into town for a little gallery wander, then out for dinner in the evening. We returned for a chat around the dining table before bed. I’ve known these women since college, it’s a real joy to catch up.

Here are some things I learned from our conversations:

  • A cookbook called Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables is good. Sounds excellent for eating more green stuff.
  • You can try to reduce inflammation in the body using cryogenic cooling. As one who suffers from soft tissue aches and pains, I’m interested.
  • Puppies. They are really cute.
  • Sunrise. The view from our host’s beautiful and simple house. Apparently Netflix is setting up a production facility in Albuquerque. I look forward to all the Golden Skies Of Future Television.

The stripes are me, reflected.

The third day we went up higher, to aspens and evergreens.


Yes, that’s snow. Some more fell as we were getting started. I kept laughing. My thin down jacket, cashmere beanie. and stretch walking pants were not warm at all. Little bits of frozen water clattered down my arms. One of my friends loaned me her vest, that did the trick.

I recognized fronds of fern-like yarrow on the forest floor.

I am reminded that the universe hands out exhilaration freely – in compensation for my anxiety maybe. I was transported.

Literally and figuratively.

And now back to editing my book draft. To letting the white roses make rose hips and fall dormant. To anticipating our rainy season and teaching reading to kindergarteners who don’t speak English at home and refining a process for stirfries. To preparing to vote.

Thank you again to my friends of many years.

Have a wonderful weekend, every single stem and stalk of you.




44 Responses

  1. Tent Rocks (or, more formally Kasha-Katuwe National Monument) is marvelous. It’s one of my favorite places in NM. Not for nothing is New Mexico called the Land of Enchantment. There, one feels more connected to unseen energies. So glad you were able to go and take it in (while reconnecting with friends; what could be better? :)

    1. @Alexandra Halsey, I guess it’s good to use the formal name – I think it acknowledges the Native relationship more, right? And it was connection – that seems to be a theme in my life these days. <3

  2. This is both fascinating and beautiful. Thank you for sharing. As someone who doesn’t eat red meat, I’m interested in that book. How nice to catch up with old friends.

    Happy weekend to you. Tomorrow we leave for the coast!

  3. I love Santa Fe! Our best friends have bought their retirement home there and we have been lucky enough to visit them several times. They like to hike, which is not my favorite, but they also like to eat, which is. So it works for us.

  4. Absolutely Love Santa Fe! Curious as to where you and friends dined? Enjoy casting that ballot

  5. We have gone from hot to cold here. Thank you for reminding me that there are other places to be.
    When you find something that reduces inflammation and the pain associated with it please let me know.
    It is so good to see you out in the world. I love the way you notice the forest floor.


    1. @luci, You are welcome! And I’ll report back if the cryospa helps. It was good to BE out in the world, especially one so beautiful and different. <3

      I will note that I looked at the floor in part because I had tripped on a rock when we were hiking Tent Rocks and fallen to my knees, because of too much looking up:).

      Lessons everywhere.

  6. I love New Mexico. I have not visited for many years. It truly is the – The Land of Inchantment. There is a certain magic quality to the light, and the reflections on the rocks.

  7. Lovely pictures and stunning views…
    How lovely for you to be able to get away and explore with a good friend who knows the lay of the land. Those are really interesting rock formations! Thank you for sharing them.

  8. Beautiful pictures. I couldn’t help but think of Smurfs when I saw the rocks. I had assumed that New Mexico would be the same as Arizona, but those rocks are unique. Must get there to see them for myself!

    1. @MJ, Smurfs, ha! It’s really worth a visit just for that hike. And then of course the town has all kinds of stuff, festivals, opera, spas, etc.

  9. Beautiful. I think high desert is my favorite country. My dad mapped the high deserts in New Mexico and Arizona; I found them magical. The terrain was beautiful as was the sky. I felt connected to the variations of the day’s skies as well as the night’s stars. Your photos remind me of the lovely smells, particularly the new smells that arrive as the season changes from summer to fall. Glad you had an opportunity for a visit.

  10. I recently visited Joshua Tree National Park for the first time. What a magical place! Sometimes a change of scenery to a place of great beauty can help spark a change in our hearts and minds. A good hike, gallery wandering, and dinner with old friends sounds like something I should be planning right now!
    You’ve inspired me.

  11. Hello Lisa, By coincidence, I just got a postcard from a friend in New Mexico, showing an O’Keeffe rendition of the mountains.

    And speaking of voting while in Taiwan, I have my absentee ballot ready. There are still a few judges I have to check up on, but I plan to send it in on Tuesday.

  12. What an experience. You are fortunate to live in a country with such amazing extremes of geology and geography. Desert landscapes fascinate me and I find them both exhilarating and calming at the same time. Glad that such a walk could bring so much peace.

  13. Such beautiful pictures and prose , thank you. I just smiled reading and remembering. We lived for 6 years in Albuquerque. I loved the light and sky, we Bought 2 water colors of the sky in Santa Fe when we moved to the PNW. They bring me joy and memories when I look at them. Just had an explosive bookclub meeting over politics. I am sad. We have one who is priviledged enough to put her head in the sand over politics/believing women/sexual assault. I can’t just sit and not engage anymore, but haven’t found a way to do that in a helpful way. I try to study and learn how to to engage in a meaningful manner, but just red rage lava comes pouring up and out. Wine probably did not help .I will go look at my big sky pictures and smile and remember and calm down.

    1. @Elizabeth, A move from New Mexico to the PNW – a profound shift.

      And I am sorry about your book club. It’s possible that as the midterms approach even these well-structured civilities will degrade. So hard to remain silent when someone is advocating a position that feel tragic or destructive.

  14. Such a stunning part of our country. In these times of so much political turmoil, I do find peace and a remembrance of my love of this country in nature.

  15. That landscape is breathtaking! Makes you grateful to be alive and able to experience such beauty.

  16. I might be mistaken but isn’t New Mexico’s motto on their license tags “Land of Enchantment”?

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