Photo Essay: Southwest Journey
Part 2: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Whenever Joe and I spoke to people about our travels while we were in the midst of our road trip, we often mentioned our desire to experience the American Southwest. “Go to Santa Fe,” everyone said. “You will love it.”
We went. We didn’t love it.
There were things about Santa Fe that we liked very much, but overall…meh. We just didn’t resonate with the vibe as we did in Asheville and Portland, Oregon. This is a completely personal evaluation. Your experience may vary ;)
A “cousin” of Joe’s (friend with same last name) summed it up best when we mentioned we were headed there from her home in San Francisco. Like Joe, she was a visual artist. Her comment was, “It’s very beige.”
Not to say there’s no color. There is. There’s a vibrant art scene, which ostensibly prompted the response that we would love it there. And we did love the art and visiting the many galleries.
The architecture of the old city was charming. And although very beige, the detail was exquisite.
The dog we were pet-sitting was adorable and the funniest animal I’ve ever had the pleasure to share a home with. Uma, a basset hound of advanced years, was quite amiable and her many quirks just added to her charm. As long as she was not disturbed in her daily routine, she was satisfied. One small change, however, and she fell into deep depression, which I could not bear to witness.
Once she trained me in her ways, all was well. Truly, though, just looking at her made me laugh. She was long, a bit weighty, with short little legs—so very low to the ground. Joe desperately wanted to photograph her from under her chin to capture that flap of skin and fur that bobbled as she walked, but she wasn’t cooperative about posing. This was the best he could get, taken from a vantage point of lying on the sidewalk:
Other things we enjoyed about Santa Fe: Good food with easy availability of vegan fare; proximity to Abiquiú, the home and studio of Georgia O’Keefe; and a nice park downtown.
One very cool thing that we encountered was a practice in a community outside of Santa Fe, where we visited the home of a photographer friend of Joe’s from Miami who had relocated to the area. There were no street lights and residents were prohibited from using outdoor lights at night, except for safety getting in out of their homes or vehicles. Why? So you could see the stars. And wow, what an experience.
I do not have a photo. However, just typing in “New Mexico stars at night” into the search bar uncovered this link: 5 Dark Sky Parks for Stargazing in New Mexico. Wish I’d done that while we were in the neighborhood!
One other very positive experience while we were in Santa Fe: Joe asked his friend if he knew of any ghost towns to visit and photograph, and the two of them spent a memorable day out in the desert. Joe didn’t see any ghosts, but he was able to capture that “abandoned” look he loved.
Well, now as I go through my files for photos and my mind for memories, I’m thinking, “Santa Fe’s not so bad. I’d go back.” Just not in late summer…maybe that had a lot to do with the hot, dry, burnt-out feeling that permeates my memories of this leg of our trip.
Hope you enjoyed sharing this memory. If you’ve been there, or plan to, please leave a comment with your feedback.
Until next time… My best Shelley