The weekend of May 6th, I went to New Mexico. Never been to the Southwest, actually. I've skipped right over from Austin all the way to San Francisco. This time I flew into Albuquerque, which I do not recommend to the faint of heart. Those effin mountains make for a bumpy mofo of a flight. I think I nearly grew an instant ulcer on the way out of there.
The sky is big there - you can see for miles. It sounds obvious but it's weird when you're used to being able to see, at most, down the block. I got talked into upgrading to the convertible at the rental place, and it was worth every one of the $33 it cost me ($11/day extra). Brand-spankin-new Chrysler Sebring with two, count 'em, TWO miles on the odometer. Push-button convertible top, so you flip a few handles, push a button, and the top is down. Or up. Easy-peasy. The sun, though, is really bright, so I had to keep the top up from 10-2 and wear a lot of sunscreen for early morning and late afternoon drives.
Went out to Shiprock, and did not take pictures because, really, what's the point? You can point the camera and shoot all you want, but you'll never get the scale of it into a photo. I did however, take pictures at Aztec Ruins National Park, which is actually an Anasazi site (ca. 1000 AD). I asked the park ranger if they'd ever change the name and she sighed and said "Probably not. It's just too late." The guys on the self-guided tour who were walking behind me, one of them kept saying "The aztecs did this, the aztecs did that..." even though every last bit of signage & interpretation BEGINS WITH "This is an Anasazi site." It was hard not to correct him, over & over. Blowhard.
I always think of Cezanne when I see a curving lane like the one in the second picture, his "Turn in the Road" paintings (there are several). This landscape could not be any less Cezanne, however. I wonder what he would've done with such scenery, such brownness and aridity.
I did keep seeing things that made me think of O'Keeffe. I don't have the vocabulary for the geological formations of the southwest, but I think these might be called arroyos:
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