If you’re new to my blog and want to know how this road trip began, click here for the first post. For our time in Casper, Wyoming, click here. For our experience with the Total Solar Eclipse, click here. For our drive through Colorado (aka the drive from Hell) and the oasis also known as Trinidad, click here. This will be my last post on our great adventure to see the Total Solar Eclipse among other things.
Our stay in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was a welcome respite from the fairly hectic traveling and anxiety-ridden anticipation of the Total Solar Eclipse that took place the first half of our road trip. Once we were in Santa Fe, we chilled. We relaxed. We drank coffee every morning on the quiet patio.
We walked to Whole Foods, replenishing our snack stock and buying ingredients for at least one nice meal at “home.” We walked to restaurants that were nestled in and among private residences. We walked to the plaza and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.
I’ve been a fan of O’Keefe for a long time, admiring the woman as well as her art. She always impressed me as being stoic and unconcerned with the opinion of others. She would do her art regardless. In reflecting on her transition to the artist she became, she wrote:
This was one of the best times in my life. There was no one around to look at what I was doing — no one interested — no one to say anything about it one way or another. I was alone and singularly free, working into my own, unknown — no one to satisfy but myself (emphasis mine).
As a writer I struggle with the tension between satisfying readers and satisfying myself. It’s not always the same thing.
Another aspect of O’Keefe that I’m drawn is to her humility. I’m not saying she was a humble person. I don’t think it’s possible to be both humble and world famous. The ego won’t allow it. But she had humility in that she knew her celebrity was the product of chance. She once said, and I have to paraphrase because I haven’t been able to find the quote, that she just happened to be in the right place at the right time. If she had been born at another time, perhaps her art would not be celebrated. It was all timing. Well, talent and vision, too, but without timing …
The Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe is a wonderful place, small, but full of O’Keefe’s life work and then some.
On our second full day in Sante Fe, my husband wanted to do a time lapse … of something, anything! As you might remember from a previous post, his efforts to do a time lapse of the Milky Way over Hell’s Half Acre failed. In order to do a proper nighttime time lapse, you need clear skies; even out in the western states, clear nights can be hard to come by. You’re at the mercy of Nature so you learn to take what you can get. We set out for the mountains, specifically Hyde Memorial State Park. The first part of the drive took us through a strange landscape of Flintstone-like mansions. Ah, we thought, here’s where the wealthy live, in their adobe bubbles. I am so bored with the uber-rich these days I can’t be bothered wasting my iPhone’s battery life on pictures of their overly expensive, tacky compounds so … nothing to see here.
Finally, we entered the park and found a decent turnout with enough of a gap between the trees for Greg to get a clear view of the sky. While he fiddled with his photography, I took my own pictures and played with stones.
I think it was at this point when I remarked to Greg that I had probably spent more time outdoors on this trip than I had the previous half year in Florida. I exaggerate but the sentiment is true. Regardless of the time of day or night, on this trip I was never beset with bloodsucking mosquitoes, skin-burrowing chiggers, or biting ants. I would live in the moment without having to swat away flying insects or scratch myself raw. Saying goodbye to the west was not going to be easy.
On our last night, just to make it harder on myself, I looked up at the sky as we walked back from dinner …
Saying goodbye had to happen. As it turned out, that was a good thing since Hurricane Harvey was on the path to wreaking havoc and destruction. We had planned to go home via Dallas, Texas. Instead it was the Texas Panhandle, then Oklahoma, Missouri ever so briefly and, finally, the long slog through Alabama.
It was a good trip overall and even though I don’t like to drive, I will definitely be more than willing to drive back to Santa Fe or even Trinidad the first chance we get. Santa Fe is my new dream city (sorry, San Francisco) and Trinidad is my new dream affordable city.
Thanks for riding along with me on this great adventure. Regular sporadic programming will now resume.