By admin on February 9, 2012
I woke to a brisk blue morning in Amarillo, Texas. I-40 in Amarillo runs a gauntlet through a visual assault of competing signs, each screaming for our attention to a particular chain motel, fast food restaurant or tire store.
But it all quickly fell away to nothingness. Leaving Amarillo to cross the rest of the Texas Panhandle into New Mexico was a trip back in time. The road in front of me stretched out to the horizon with land on both sides as flat and featureless as a table.
Except for the occasional wind turbine, its sleek, white modern design in such contrast to the crumbling land where it stood, there was nothing. An occasional abandoned storage shed or rusted grain silo reminded me that there had once been lively commerce here, but that was over now.
I entered New Mexico and gained an hour back in my day. The land got more interesting and a little wilder. The unrelenting flatness gave way to occasional flat topped hills and vistas of mountains in the distance.
The speed limit changed to 75 and everyone took advantage by going at least ten miles an hour faster.
I was moved by the many roadside shrines left to loved ones who had died there. Always wooden crosses. Some simple, wooden, unadorned, unnamed. Others painted white and draped with plastic flower garlands, surrounded by gifts from loved ones, with the name of the beloved painted carefully on the crossbar of the cross. All were reminders of the fragility of life.
Turning north off of I-40, I made my way to Santa Fe to find the wonderful hilltop home of my neighbors Kelley and Neil who have so graciously offered their home here for my one night stopover and for my return as well when I will have a little more time to linger.
I was met by their caretaker who opened the house and showed me all I would need to know.
I walked down the hill tonight to the old part of town and had a wonderful meal at Boca, a tapas restaurant they had recommended.
I enjoyed grilled artichokes with Spanish goat cheese and mint, Catalan olives, Marcona almonds, and Manchego cheese with a good glass of Rioja as I read my book, John McPhee’s Basin and Range, and watched the locals come in out of the cold.
- I walked home from town on a cold dark night climbing the hill on the dirt and gravel road to the bright blue door of my guest quarters for the night, so happy to be here and in need of a good night’s sleep.