Monday, September 24, 2012

the valley is full

In spite of having new editing work to do, around noon yesterday I suddenly wanted to go on a road trip. Turned out that Ron felt the same and with the new car sitting in the driveway and the promise of great gas mileage, we packed up some chocolate, apples, water, camera, and set off. We weren't quite sure where to go, but found ourselves heading toward Abiquiu. It's been a while since we were there and I'd almost forgotten how incredible that landscape feels.  Once again we are assailed by the subjects of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings all around us! We were in them! The Red Place, The White Place. Chimney Rock, Ghost Ranch. And, of course, the Pedernal (Ghost Mountain).
Lots of our own memories reside in that landscape. Hot summer day with our two best friends - one of the Gambler movies (Kenny Rogers) being filmed there -- the "Indian" extras with bows and arrows and full Hollywood war paint galloping toward us, scaring us, and then inviting us to stick around and chat.  By the following year all four best friends had moved to Taos. There was swimming at Abiquiu lake with granddaughter Kira when she was a child; introducing Spike-the-dog to car and lake the first week we had him and he confidently waded into the cold water up to his floppy ears; the incredible week-long poetry workshop at Ghost Ranch with Joan Logghe who later became Poet Laureate of Santa Fe; another writing workshop (where I assisted) and we hiked with Natalie Goldberg to her secret green-water pond and I watched a bunch of hopeful writers plunge in, splashing and swimming until someone spotted a water snake and everyone ran out shrieking! And nobody's cellphone worked and our caravan of cars got lost on the way back. Or the time I went to Ghost Ranch alone and stayed in a Zen-like room and spent mornings under the trees with my notebook writing bad poetry and good journal notes that eventually led to published essays.
All of it is still there. The chairs, the pond, the mountains and sky, the magic, the inspiration to write and take pictures. We noted the same apple tree I photographed in the late 1980's with my new (then) Canon Elph camera (APS film) -- heavy now with 21st century apples. That camera (which I still have) was my first taste of a compact point & shoot that never disappointed in sharpness and dependability. I'm still a Canon fan, only now we've gone digital and smaller and I'm into instant gratification. Wonder if that film is still available somewhere? Wonder if I want it?

early autumn haze
on the painter's mountains
we leave with apples
                     in the camera 

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