You know how some things make you lose your mind
And some people make you lose your heart?
(Although sometimes that can happen in reverse!)
Well I have found that some places
Can fill your spirit
And virtually capture your soul with spirituality
For me, two of those places are
And painter Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch
I think it was the sight of the gigantic air balloons, a rodeo of lights floating across the purple-tinged twilight of a warm Albuquerque night that made me want to visit New Mexico.
But then, the sight of a plane idling on the runaway, or streaming through the skies, also makes me want to visit – pretty much anywhere.
When I disembarked in Albuquerque on a steamy fall afternoon, I was as blown up with excitement as one of those magnificent Albuquerque hot air balloons. (No gas infusions por moi!)
Within the half hour, my friend Gloria’s flight from Vancouver had landed and we were on our way to Santa Fe. (And every January I am on my way to San Jose-hmmmm-maybe it’s true what they say about song lyrics influencing the willing and impressionable).
But I digress.
For those of you unfamiliar with Santa Fe, take a moment to go outside on this most glorious of days – stand on your balcony or on your back forty, (No! you do not need your mask or gloves for this exercise), eyes wide shut, throw your arms out to the universe. Now breathe deeply, inhaling the beauty and the inspiration all around you. That my friends is the spirit that thrives in Santa Fe.
Called the Dancing Ground of the Sun by early Native American inhabitants, Santa Fe is famously known as The City Different. The sun shines 325 days of the year – that alone is different – especially for us Canucks, n’est pas!
And while you may not have loved history when you were in high school folks, I can guarantee you won’t mind being steeped in the rich heritage this city has to offer. Even though it is only a small town, it is stuffed (literally!) with 400 restaurants, (the Spanish influence on the cuisine is literally to die for), 250 art galleries, 19 museums, revitalizing spas, a host of artisans who craft stunning Southwestern jewelry in sterling silver and turquoise, and artist jackets that one must have at least two of.
Quite fortuitously, while we were there, Carrie Fisher, (daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher; think Star Wars; think Postcards from the Edge), was performing, at the Santa Fe Playhouse, her one woman show, ‘Wishful Drinking,’ (Can I get an Amen! Amen!) Fisher, who died in 2016, stated that she wanted her obit to read: “No matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.” (Ummmm- I think that ‘wishful drinking’ kinda mighta have been the real thing).
Friend Gloria and I had read all about Ghost Ranch –one of the iconic locations that O’Keefe used to paint and paint at. In fact she owned a home there, Ranchos de los burros – (translation- donkey ranch) – where she would sit on the roof and paint. So we rented a car for two days and decided to explore.
W. E. L. L. let me tell you friends….after the first day of trippin’ north on Route 84, through the desert and along the winding roads cut between magnificent red rocks that produced jaw-dropping vistas around every curve – (breathe here), there was no further discussion needed. We were keeping that car for the full eight days – we just had to make the Ghost Ranch trip a daily event.
The road leading up to Ghost Ranch and onwards to Taos – the known-for-its-famous-residents – (think Julia Roberts), follows the Chama River through the Piedra Lumbre basin. The ancient cliff walls – known as the Shining Stone – change colour with the shifting light of day. At noon, the sandstone cliffs were salmon pink, layered like a white-icing topped cake drizzled with lemon. But on the drive home, the colours had morphed so completely – glorious dark-red hues set against the orange-and-blue skyline – that we wondered if we had taken the wrong road back. (Thank god there is only one road in and out). It was an otherworldly feeling – one that inspires tales of spirits and witchcraft in the folklore of the region’s Native American inhabitants.
Speaking of Taos – (pronounce it hard like you’re saying ‘cows’) – the magnificence of the history there can best be told in photographs.
On that note…..I bid you adieu for another week of wear-a-mask-and-come-out-of-your-damn-room-although-we-are-not-quite-out-of-lockdown-yet my friends.
And just remember….if you are ever feelin alone.
So…if you’re done done done to the max with being locked up and locked down, here’s a little inspirational morsel from Georgia to pluck ya right up.
“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing.”
Amen to that Georgia. Amen to that!
Photography by Cece M. Scott @copyright
#Hot air balloons
#Santa Fe Playhouse