Afar, Home, New Mexico, Texas

Happy Birthday, Blue Mesa

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

Blue Mesa Blog turns 1 today! The biggest thank you to all my loyal readers. I’d like to raise an imagined glass of your libation of choice to you for all the kind words you’ve shared this year.

In exchange, I’d like the share a few words by Edward Abbey that have always served as something of a guiding evocation for my travels…

May your trails be crooked, lonesome, 
dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. 
May your mountains rise into and above the clouds, 
May your rivers flow without end, 
meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, 
past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest 
where tigers belch and monkeys howl, 
through miasmal and mysterious swamps 
and down into a desert of red rock, 
blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, 
and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm 
where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, 
where deer walk across the white sand beaches, 
where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, 
where something more beautiful and more full of wonder 
than your deepest dreams waits for you – 
beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.

— A Prayer for the Traveler

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

A Prayer for the Traveler, Edward AbbeyBlue Mesa Blog, Texas, New Mexico, Big Bend National Park www.bluemesablog.com

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New Mexico

The Morada

New Mexico www.bluemesablog.com

The Morada is nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside of Taos, New Mexico. The mountains are named for the red light that appears to flow down them at sunrise and sunset. In the day they provide a blue backdrop to the Stations of the Cross that culminate in a high black cross, a favourite subject of painter Georgia O’Keefe. The Morada itself is a long adobe structure with doors and windows the colour of a clear sky.

New Mexico www.bluemesablog.com

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New Mexico

Tent Living

Tent Living www.bluemesablog.com

When you stop bathing, you become progressively dirtier for about seven days, and then your body attains a sort of equilibrium where it stops producing sweat and gathering more dirt. I found this out when I didn’t shower for two months. I was living in a tent in a forest in New Mexico on an archaeological dig. I spent days carefully troweling the ground until I was sitting in a hole deeper than me. I woke up at dawn every morning and fell asleep before dark every night. Hard labour made for peaceful slumber, interrupted only by the incessant calls of magpies in the early morning that signaled it was soon time to pull on the clothes you had kept warm at the bottom of your sleeping bag and crawl out into the cold to see the sunrise.

Tent Living www.bluemesablog.com

Tent Living www.bluemesablog.com

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The Hat www.bluemesablog.com
New Mexico, Texas

The Hat

This hat was custom made for my mother at the O’Farrell Hat Company in Santa Fe. I love that it looks distinctly western, but is more restrained and elegant than your usual ten-gallon cowboy hat. The pale grey felt and silver on the hatband look particularly exquisite with her hair. It doesn’t quite suit me yet, but it is one of those timeless pieces that will remain beautiful for generations of Texas Women to come.

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New Mexico

Santa Fe

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Santa Fe www.bluemesablog.com

My memories of Santa Fe are infused with the smell of burning piñon pine. It smoulders in the city’s fireplaces through winter, perfuming the rooms and streets with a smell at once smoky and sweet, with hints of oud wood and frankincense, both fresh and deep, like a pine forest’s humus floor after a storm. It flavours the food you eat: the blue corn tortillas, salsa verde enchiladas, the cappuccinos (and everything else) at the divine Café Pasquals’, the cinnamon-and-cayenne-spiced Mexican hot chocolate at Kakawa Chocolate House, the bread at Sage Bakehouse, the crepes at the crêperie in La Fonda, the escargot at Clafoutis French Bakery and Restaurant, the tapas at La Boca, the tortilla soup at The Shed, and the steak at Geronimo.

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Santa Fe is a city people return to, perhaps because that piñon smell cannot be found anywhere else and you start to crave it with a hunger that can only be satiated by going back. Many people, particularly Texans, seem to make annual pilgrimages into its arid mountains, lured by the promise of monsoon rains in the summer and snow in the winter. At Geronimo I once overheard a big, cowboy-hat wearing man with a strong Dallas accent ask, “Waitress, what’re them little orange bb’s on my plate?”

“Caviar, sir.”

Santa Fe www.bluemesablog.com

The locals are welcoming, serene, both rugged and elegant. There’s a particular type of woman, tall and lithe, who wears her long white hair down or in a knot, who dresses beautifully in black or local earth tones of copper red and sage green, and can be seen out walking to work in the early morning. Then there are the young, dreadlocked free spirits, the jewellery-makers, the earthy types, the artists and the writers.

Santa Fe www.bluemesablog.com

Santa Fe www.bluemesablog.com

The city’s nights are cold and aromatic. They give way to bright, crisp mornings as the sun pours over the mountain and warms the adobe buildings in a rosy glow. The pace of the days is different, a phenomenon often called “New Mexico Time”. You can adorn yourself in silver and turquoise, wrap yourself in shearling, and spend hours over breakfast or wandering the streets, looking at a single painting in the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, perusing the galleries on Canyon Road, or sitting outside at Tabla de Los Santos in the evening with a glass of wine. You can write, paint, photograph, or simply sit and watch, breathing in the unforgettable smell of piñon.

Santa Fe www.bluemesablog.com

Santa Fe www.bluemesablog.com

Santa Fe www.bluemesablog.com

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