"Here's a clue, for what it's worth . . . There's a paradise right here on earth"

That's just one line of the song --
We'll get to the chorus in a few minutes.

We're back from The City Different, which is so elegantly situated in the north central region of The Land of Enchantment.

And, as always, the trip was both Different and Enchanting.

I'm just goofy about New Mexico --
don't think I don't know it about myself.

I've seen you all nodding and whispering behind my back, but I'm fully aware that I fly my New-Mexico-Freak-Flag with alarming abandon.

And I can assure you I'm not alone.

Every time I go there, I have at least one conversation with someone who visited and then HAD TO MOVE THERE. Georgia O'Keefe and D.H. Lawrence aren't the only ones --
it happens to regular people, too.

And although we weren't able to shop for property this time, we did have a marvelous week visiting our favorite haunts and discovering new delights.

Gabriel's was better than ever, which is difficult to imagine, and after our first dinner there (you read that right) I glanced across the patio to see this man enjoying what the Gabriel's sign calls "Guacamole as Art."

And I wanted to tell him, "Bill,
while I've long admired

your foreign policy,

your taste in food alone

should have won enough votes

to propel you to the White House."

Of course we also did other things on our trip (to fill up the minutes between meals), enjoying art for the eyes as well as for our mouths.

One of the new artists whose work we most enjoyed was Jono Tew

"Road, Sky and Cerro" (detail), Jono Tew, , oil on canvas

whose beautiful, dream-like New Mexico landscapes were as full of life and movement as the sky itself.

We also visited "The Gauguin of Canyon Road," (self titled) Ed Larson, whose naive style never ceases to please the folk art lover in me. Ed is an artist of many talents and many political opinions, who in addition to his paintings, carvings and assemblage, designs quilts (that I one day hope to see in person).

"Rock Valley Iowa," Ed Larson, 1994, 53" x 42"

Ed doesn't display the quilts at his barn/studio, which is probably a good thing since I've had to clean a layer of dirt (and even a dead fly!) off the paintings we've purchased from him. They're some of our most prized pieces.

And when we're not eating and/or looking at art, our favorite thing to do in New Mexico is drive around listening to good music.

There's a rather grimy music store there that carries a diverse selection of both new and used cd's, and we never fail to find a gem or two to take along on the road.

Some months ago, my photographer (who is also an accomplished musician with an astounding record collection) recommended this band to us

so we were delighted to find a used copy of this cd just waiting to provide the anthem for our trip.

We weren't disappointed.

Along with 4 other diverse musical treasures,
Little Feat sang us to the top of New Mexico

and back on one of our favorite drives.

The beautiful thing about this drive is that you start out in the red rock desert northwest of Espanola

and then climb

through Georgia O'Keefe country

to the high cattle country

"Woodland Passage," Patrick Matthews, oil on canvas

and through aspen forests.

Then it's down, and across the Rio Grande Gorge
which sneaks up on you in the middle of a vast expanse of flat scrubby desert.

With a trip through Taos (and a stop at La Lana Wools, of course!) it's home to Santa Fe
via the High Road

through Carson National Forest

and finally across the Nambe road.

In Hinckleyville,
it's what we call A Perfect Day.

Plenty of air to breathe and breathe,
food for the ears and eyes,
the body and the soul . . .
plenty of room for new ideas to blossom
and old troubles to fade away.

"Fence Country," Jono Tew, oil on canvas

Perfect Days.

Oh yes -- and here's the chorus to the song I promised.
We sang it to the top of New Mexico and back again:

Heaven's where you find it,
Don't you know it's true --
Heaven's where you find it
Standin' right here, right in front of you.

Ahhh . . . Home again.


Amelia and Justin said...

Welcome back! Your trip sounds marvelous. I can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

april said...

glad you had a great time. i think we all should bookmark this post for winter. i'm guessing might want to reread it then.

p.s. i really like your new painter. those are amazing paintings and it captures the grandness and the beauty.

Judy said...

Who can read this post and NOT cry out, "I want to go! Take me!"

susan m hinckley said...

I want to take you! Let's go!

VO said...

Fabulous trip for me. If you don't have Little Feat's cd: Feets Don't Fail Me Now you should run right out and get it.

Glad you're back!

Allie said...

I've never wanted to go there but you're changing that!!!!!

susan m hinckley said...

I never wanted to go there either, but my husband did. So when I told him to take me somewhere of his choosing for my 40th birthday, guess what he chose? And it was a really happy surprise for both of us. Way back when we were dating (and I was a teenager) he used to tell me "I think I'd like to retire in New Mexico," and I'd say "Ewwww. No way. I at least think you should visit there first -- and that will change your mind." I'd never been there myself, except to stick my foot in at four corners. But I wanted to grow up and get away from all things west. Yet further scientific proof that teenagers are dumb.

VO -- thanks for the recommendation! Amazon here we come.

luanne said...

welcome home! you make me want to take a driving tour through new mexico... when we moved to phoenix we only did the interstate across and had a fairly forgettable overnight in santa rosa. we've been to santa fe only once (flew in/out via a shuddering turboprop) but wandering the canyon road galleries was great fun. we missed gabriel's though, john is a longtime mark miller fan so we went to coyote cafe to pay homage.

funny how age gives us different perspectives... in my youth, i could not comprehend the appeal of the desert, but now i love it.

susan m hinckley said...

It's a little embarrassing when I consider the amount of loud complaining I did in my youth about how ugly the desert was (growing up in Utah) because now I am eating the words so very publicly.

I still complain about Wyoming, however, every time we drive across it. My husband has always considered it very beautiful, and I say "ugh." So if I begin to wax poetic about Wyoming someday, will you please all tell me that perhaps it would be best if I just shut up?

abi said...

OK well you go with your bad NM self then! It is understandable for you to like it - just because of the good mexican food. I can accept that as a valid reason. And we (john and i) would have voted for Bill R. - but NM needs him badly.

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