Monday, March 26, 2007

A trip to the Land of Enchantment, a strange experience, but no astrology.

Garrison Keillor remarked on his radio show this weekend that Spring Equinox inclines us all towards adventure, after a long, dark and cold winter....but, "Be careful", he added, "there'll be another storm coming!"

We set out on our own spring adventure last Monday morning, one with Aries Sun, born a day after solstice, and one Aries Moon with itchy feet, travelling west, hoping to avoid a wave of stormy weather hovering over this part of the U.S.A. With the anticipated destination of San Antonio postponed, we aimed even further west, eventually reaching Santa Fe in New Mexico. We did, indeed avoid the storms - until Friday. Heading back eastward, we ran into many waves of severe weather, culminating in a violent hailstorm in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Hail the size of marbles soon covered the highway to a depth of an inch or two, coming down with great force for about 20 minutes. Luckily we were able to shelter the car under the I-40 overpass. Thunderstorms followed us all the way to Hereford, Texas. We spent the night there, and the television weather channel warned of tornado watches and "rotations" (precurser of tornadoes) within 10 miles of Hereford. Eliza Doolittle said "In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly happen", but she hadn't been to Hereford, Texas! By Saturday morning all was well, blue skies were back, and by Saturday evening, so were we.

(Clicking on our photographs should produce a larger version).

On the journey out, last Monday, we came across a Bob Wills memorial monument in a little Texas town called Turkey, the birthplace of this legendary figure in country music history. Later, after we had crossed into New Mexico, we saw the Billy the Kid museum and his grave, at Fort Sumner.

On Tuesday afternoon we reached Santa Fe, and spent 3 nights there in a delightful "casita" (apartment). The city was as lovely as I remembered it from a brief visit in the summer of 2005. This time the weather was, thankfully, much cooler. The city's unique look and atmosphere stems from its pueblo style adobe architecture, all in an earthy pinkish brown colour . There's a complete lack of the usual skyscraper-style city buildings. Not for nothing is Santa Fe known as "The City Different" , and New Mexico as "Land of Enchantment".


We wandered the streets, drooled over expensive merchandise in the stores, and explored some of the artists' studios and galleries on Canyon Road. The altitude (over 7000ft above sea level) affected us both a little. When walking around we experienced a slightly 'woozy' feeling, not altogether unpleasant, rather like having had one drink too many and needing to take a nap.



On Thursday, 22nd March, the spotlight was on HeWhoKnows - it was the "big" birthday!

After a trip into the surrounding countryside, which proved reminiscent of some Georgia O'Keefe paintings, in the evening we propped up the bar of the La Fonda hotel in Santa Fe's famous plaza. Here I had a strange
experience.



We had wandered into the hotel lobby thinking it to be the entrance to an arcade of shops. We noticed a bar, still early evening quiet, and decided to have a birthday drink there. I considered taking the seat near the wall at the end of the old copper lined bar, but decided it looked rather dark. I pulled out the next stool along, then felt guilty for leaving a single stool empty, in case a couple might want seats later on - but still, it somehow didn't feel right moving to the end stool. Later in the evening, when some live entertainment was about to begin, it was announced that a well-loved regular in this bar, a lady well known in Santa Fe (ex-singer or musician, I think) had died of cancer on Monday. The seat at the end of the bar had been her usual place to sit. The barman brought her usual drink and placed it there, in her memory. The hairs on the back of my neck began to prickle !

A couple of hours later, as we walked back to the "casita", we came upon a street singer in the doorway of an elegant store. He was no ordinary street singer, however. He had guitar, fiddle and two accordians at his feet. A small crowd had gathered. Eventually, one by one they drifted away, and we got to chatting with him. I suspect that he is not as old as he appears at first glance. I'd have loved to know his date of birth! A charming fellow, fine musician, and a great personality was he, by name of Michael Combs. When he heard that it was my husband's birthday he sang a special birthday song for him, in Spanish, afterwards explaining its meaning. This rounded off the great day beautifully - leaving us with a magical memory. He then sang a Beatles song, in honour of my nationality! He asked how an American guy and an English "lady" had managed to meet. When we told him "on the internet" he laughed and said he has often thought about re-writing the pop song "On the Radio" as "On the Internet" - he sang us a few lines of the new version.

On the journey home, on Saturday, we stopped in a little town called Dimmit, Texas to get a shot of a mural depicting the town's history, painted on a long stretch of wall. At the far end of the mural was an inspired touch - the "Future Room", with packing cases outside the door. these labelled "Faith" "Hope" and "Charity". I guess we all will need little else, as we travel through that doorway to The Future.

5 comments:

chrispito said...

Twilight! What a beautiful post! It makes me want to run away on a road trip :)

Twilight said...

Thank you Chrispito -it's kind of you to say so!

Barbara said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, that was a great post xxx

Twilight said...

Thank you Barbara - that's nice of you to say so! It was a very nice trup.

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