From Albuquerque we drive north in our rented Ford Escort, playing “The Vanishing Breed” over and over.
It’s cloudy but warm and the landscape looks a lot like California at first, but as we follow the Turquoise Trail into the hills, everything changes. The ground rises, rocky and dotted with sage brush. We round a bend and everything is green. A forest of small trees spreads out before us.
All the while Robbie Robertson and the Red Road Ensemble work their magic.
The workplace is all but forgotten.
The land is an odd combination of very flat and very hilly. We stop along the roadside to retrieve some snacks from the trunk and see our first arroyo on the other side of a barbed-wire fence where three cows graze.
We’re not in any hurry. We can do whatever we want. It’s an uncommon feeling, and we like it.
That was my first impression of New Mexico, a state my wife and I have visited many times since. I'm thinking fondly of the Land of Enchantment right now because I just got word from the Blue Mesa Review that I'm one of five finalists in its annual short story contest.
Wish me luck!