Monthly Archives: June 2012

‘What’s With All the Mexicans?’

Española, NM – So I’m leaving the gas station and I’m asked Excuse me, sir? by a well-groomed man I guessed to be in his 50s. He wasn’t wispy, but wasn’t quite small, either, but his diminutive size nonetheless belied his deep gutteral voice. The sun glinted off his oily bald head. Can you tell me how to get to Santa Fe? he asked. He glanced down at my plates as I gave directions and after he asked what brings me to New Mexico. I live here, I told him. About three months now. His beady eyes darted to… Continue Reading

Exercises in Self-Sufficiency

Ghost Ranch, north of Abiquiú. Both places were made famous by artist Georgia O'Keefe. Abiquiú, NM – One of the most admirable qualities of Rio Arribans is their self-sufficiency, necessitated in many cases by extreme poverty and a climate and topography that are both inhospitable. Self-sufficiency has always been part of the cultural fabric of Rio Arriba. The area has slogged along the fringe of American society since 1848, just as it had as a backwater of the Spanish Empire from 1540 until 1821, the year Mexico won its independence. In many ways, northern New Mexico continues to be pioneered… Continue Reading

Seeing the Past From Atop the World

Part of the ancestral pueblo village of Tsankawi. Los Alamos County, NM – About 12 miles from the main section of Bandelier National Monument is the Tsankawi section of the park, a gem hidden along State Highway 4. It’s worth the hunt because the 1.5 mile walk along the rim of this mesa is like striking sensory gold. Because it’s so far removed from the main attraction you can count on having the mesa to yourself, especially during a weekday. The mesa is covered in tuff, a soft volcanic ash that over eons became a soft white rock with a… Continue Reading