Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stark Beauty

I writing this from Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the beginning of a week's vacation. This is a return to my boyhood home. I grew up in Albuquerque and lived there from age 3 to age 19. I left to go to college at Southern Methodist University and have returned for annual visits.

New Mexico is a deeply spiritual place because of its stark beauty. There are arroyos and mesas, as well as sparsely vegetated hills and plains. The upper Sonoran desert that surrounds Albuquerque and much of Santa Fe contains varied hues of brown, red and orange.

Yet, it is the mountains that are most spectacular. You can literally see "purple mountains majesty." And, at sunset, the mountains are so red they appear as if on fire. The mountains outside Albuquerque are named the Manzano's, Spanish for "watermelon" because of their red color at sunset. The mountains of Santa Fe are called the Sangre de Cristo's or "Blood of Christ," again a reference to their red color.

The sunsets are also glorious here, mainly because of the dust in the air. Often, the sunlight is filtered through cumulous clouds, making the sky seem alive with light and color.

Places of beauty nourish the soul. My response to such great beauty is gratitude to be able to witness it and praise to the Source of creation.

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