05 August 2007

Greetings from Placitas

We're visiting our friends Floyd and Linda in Placitas, NM, about a half hour north of Albuquerque. They have a wonderful view of the Sandia Mountains, which change dramatically with the light. A friend of theirs quoted the painter Richard Diebenkorn, who lived in this area for a while. He said something to the effect that he thought he'd miss the ocean, but he realized after he'd been in New Mexico for a while that the sky was the ocean here. I can see what he meant, though I'm still a holdout for proximity to large bodies of water.

Every August 4th the Santo Domingo pueblo holds a feast day in honor of its patron saint. Thousands of tribal members converge from all over. They don ceremonial garb, paint their faces and bodies, and form a huge procession, carrying gifts of bread, candles, and pine branches. Corn dances follow. Cameras are strictly forbidden on the reservation for this event, so I have no photos. Floyd's advice was "click it in your head"; I'll do my best.

Our afternoon entertainment was measuring our vitals with Floyd's nifty electronic blood-pressure monitor. You stick a finger into a hole, press a couple of buttons, and the tiny cuff expands to check your BP and pulse and give you a digital readout. Oh the thrill; it's like this generation's equivalent of a handheld video game. Once the competitive excitement ("whose pulse is the lowest?" "yeah, nice reading, but you're on drugs!") wound down, we went out for dinner at a Hyatt resort in Bernalillo. I wasn't expecting much from a hotel restaurant, don'tcha know, but aside from a couple of off-notes, our meals were delicious.

En route to dinner, we stopped at Art Gallery 66, which features whimsical sculptures, garden art and painted furniture as well as prints and paintings. My purchases, before tax, added up to $66. How did I do that? Jer called my attention to these grasshoppers in front of the building, posing on a rusted objet.

The evening's main attraction was an excellent thunderstorm, which we enjoyed from Linda and Floyd's patio until the flashes and rumbles started coming simultaneously and from almost directly overhead. We retreated to the living room, had dessert, and went to bed fairly early in anticipation of an early start on today's big adventure, Tent Rocks National Monument. Words cannot really describe, so I'll let pictures speak.

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