August 9: Forgot to mention that the evening before, we located the Rio Grande Valley State Park. I hustled down a sandy path to the river to catch the sunset; it played hide and seek around a bend behind a clump of trees. It surprised me to walk right down to the Rio Grande, and even step in that famed river if I wanted (though no clue how deep it was where we stood). On the way back to the car I sang “I’m an old cowhand from the Rio Grande.” I left my New York consciousness behind me on the sandy path.
Before getting on the road to Taos after the fiery, fiesta fueled breakfast, we visit the beautifully designed Albuquerque Museum. The museum has a stunning collection of contemporary art as well as the works of famous Taos artists (not Georgia though, we’ll find her in Santa Fe). A current exhibition “American Jewelry from New Mexico” surveys, through more than 300 spectacular objects, all aspects of jewelry adornment from prehistory to the present. Some of the earliest adornments included in the exhibition date to approximately 450 ce and were made with materials, particularly shell, which was imported into the region from the Pacific coast, hundreds of miles away. Particularly alluring was the contemporary wall sized piece installed by NMSU art professor Julia Barello, made up of hydrangea flowers constructed from MRI film. With close inspection one can see bone parts, etc. It’s easy to see how New Mexico is the “Land of Enchantment.”
An outside sculpture entitled “Border Crossing” holds a weighty relevance today.
Driving from Albuquerque to Taos on the mountain road, the sky blackens, lightening streaks across the horizon, and the rains plop down ferociously. “Oh Dear God, the mountain road in the splashing rain…thunder, lightning, some high winds, could this be the monsoon the chatty museum guy mentioned to us when we told him we were headed to Taos?
But the downpour only lasts seven minutes, and the skies clear again and all is tan and brown and pinkish hues, with sagebrush clumps, and flat, flat, flat. Bright blue skies with fluffy white skies as far as you can see. I love New Mexico.