Sunday, January 27, 2008
Red or Green?
Well, it's time to do it...step out of New Mexico and back onto Concord Road. It was kindof like a dream really. I imagine that I will revisit it that way, and have a hard time remembering it in the first person. I wish that I could begin to explain the vastness of it. I know that NM makes southwestern VA look like a metropolitan area. You could, and I did, drive for hours never seeing a house, a gas station, a restaurant or post office. Just land for miles and miles. Huge acreage owned by ranchers, I suspect. It isn't green there...it's dry and ruddy...the mountains are red and sometimes pink. There aren't any hardwoods, mostly pine. Prickly pear cactus' grow scraggly out of hillsides. Different types of cactus and cactus grass grow out of the hard earth. On one highway, I passed a rabbit skin thrown over a fence. The tribes in Ruidoso are Mescalero Apaches. They own casinos. There are no big houses, no big business. It is quiet and quiet and quiet. And the people are so nice, so open, quite friendly in a quiet way. It felt like home to me...and I haven't had that feeling about another state in a long time. I think it was the space of it all...the immense area of nothing, the way the land lays still and waiting. I imagined the things that crossed over it....looking for food, looking for shelter. The cars that pass along the one road in miles of land. I love that desolation. And when I did meet people...they were so open to talk about life and spirituality and everything that I love to talk about. I visited the Georgia O'Keefe museum, but they were having an installation, so I could not enter. Instead, we were offered a research tour...where we saw her brushes, paint mixes, collections of stones and bones and dried flowers. I see how she loved New Mexico. I can understand how it called her away from New York. One of the best things that I could say was that I just wanted to see New Mexico. Residents beamed, and told me stories of how often that had people say that they didn't know NM was a state, thought they'd need a passport, etc. It has hurt them, and I understand why. The place seems fragile economically, but spiritually, artistically...it is a universe of wealth. When you go there, and I suggest that you do...be ready to answer the question "red or green?"...it's all about the chile, and you better call it quick.