David and I arrived in Santa Fe on Saturday night, after a drive through Southern Colorado that we both found stunning and comforting at the same time. Land more like home, hillsides colored with vegetation rather than layers of rock, open valleys with horses and cows, and the southern end of the Rockies making a jagged ridge of the far horizon. We came here with the intention of spending time with Marsie, experiencing the delights of this city, and being civil and obedient. In other words, relaxing. We’ve achieved all those goals.
After four days in Santa Fe I now understand why people are smitten with this city. The russet and cashew-colored adobe buildings, with their low profiles, soft rounded edges and decorative wooden doors are soothing to walk among. The coyote fences made from rows of standing sticks are unlike anything at home, able to last in the dry air under perpetually sunny skies. The people are friendly and talkative and everyone has a story of how they came to be in Santa Fe. There is art on every corner, in a gallery or a courtyard or the central plaza. Mountains define the horizons, whether up close or distant, and there is a network of trails throughout the city, including the 5 mile trail we hiked yesterday that took us to the top of Atalaya Mountain, a 1,500 foot climb to look over Santa Fe below. And the food is simply fabulous. We’ve had a couple of meals here that compare to anything we’ve had anywhere.
But it’s more than all these things by themselves. There’s a slower vibe here, an appreciation for beauty and the sensual delights of a hospitable climate and stunning natural world. The colors are vibrant and striking and subtle at the same time, with sage brush spreading across red earth, interspersed with the deep green of pinyon pine and juniper. In the mountains ponderosa pine hold their broad needle fans up into the sky to contrast their sun-sheened green with the deep blue. It makes me feel relaxed, and that’s no small thing for me.
We fly back to New Hampshire today. It’s been a grand trip and we’re already planning the next western adventure. In the meantime, David is busy organizing a NationalParksProtest movement, so check out his blog Old Man Bad Back. Want to take back our national parks and make a statement about the government shutdown? This is your chance.