The Dark Side of the Mountains

The Dark Side of the Mountains
The Dark Side of the Mountains

Mountains and light – ever changing and with the interplay being part of the magic of New Mexico, “Land of Enchantment.”

On a glorious day in October of 2014, friends Laurie and Tim, along with my mom, spent a day exploring parts of New Mexico we had not seen in some time. Tim and I were both celebrating a birthday, and the trip itself provided many wonderful birthday surprises.

All day long we saw clouds. Some were big, bright, white puffy clouds against a brilliant blue sky. Some were dark storm clouds. And then there were these clouds that produced some shadows but allowed (and created) rays of light at various points. It was late afternoon, and we were on the east side of these mountains on the journey back to Albuquerque. The mountains from our vantage point would have been in shade, even had there not been clouds.

As we rounded a curve, the rays appeared, ever-so-briefly. We stopped for photographs, and actually had a “rural New Mexico” moment when we met another couple.

Many images from that day had a special meaning to me from the moment they were created. Less than a month later my calm, routine life was shaken by a seismic event that has given some of those images an even more special meaning. This image is one of them.

Southwest Christmas

Southwest Christmas
Southwest Christmas
Southwest Christmas
Southwest Christmas – a native gourd among grasses and leaves reminds one of a colorful Christmas ornament

New Mexico has many traditions associated with Christmas:

in Albuquerque and

in Northern New Mexico.

to name but a very few.

New Mexico also has some very well known gourd artists, who make beautiful art objects out of the lowly gourd. Perhaps the first to bring this art form to national prominence was Robert Rivera.

Gourds grow wild all over New Mexico. Sometimes they are thought of as a nuisance, sometimes just a common occurrence.

I saw this gourd peeking out from a tangle of grass on a cloudy day, and it reminded me of a colorful Christmas decoration, as did the skeletonized leaves with their bluish color. I saw it as a very natural expression of a Southwest Christmas!

I wish all of you a beautiful and peaceful winter holiday period. Consider celebrating it in New Mexico sometime. 🙂

Merry Christmas to readers who celebrate.

Happy 2015 to all!