THE “LAND OF ENCHANTMENT” HAS ITS MOMENTS, especially the wide, wide, blue sky, seen in the panorama from my brother’s back porch outside of Taos.
Barbara and I are back from a week of red rocks, 95-degree days and immersion in the world of Georgia O’Keeffe. It was our first visit to New Mexico, prompted by my brother Doug’s move there last February.
Now, the cool September mornings on Center Island have never felt so good, but we enjoyed a dose of Southwest sagebrush, piñon pines and Pueblo culture.
O’Keeffe, known for her sensuous paintings of New Mexico landscapes, flowers and bleached skulls found in the desert, spent much of her later life at Ghost Ranch and the nearby village of Abiquiu, about 60 miles northwest of Santa Fe.
I enjoyed a hike with Doug at Ghost Ranch up to Chimney Rock, which included a view down on O’Keeffe’s former ranch home. The next day we toured the O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, for an interesting look at the life of this creative and reclusive personality.
Another highlight was a drive up to Taos Ski Valley, at almost the same 10,100-foot elevation as Camp Muir on Mount Rainier, to see the golden aspens turning color.
We also helped harvest Doug’s rather ostentatious (by Center Island standards) tomato crop, grown with the aid of many drip hoses and long, hot days. The morning we left Taos, we picked 102 ripe tomatoes, some of which went to neighbors and many of which went in his fridge, aimed toward a large batch of spaghetti sauce — and perhaps a bit of saucy New Mexico salsa.