Thursday, January 27, 2011
360 Degrees of Uninterrupted Blue
Yesterday I drove up to Santa Fe for a meeting with a potential client. Living where I do, that means taking the "back way" up along the Turquoise Trail, a 65 or so mile scenic amble up and down the Ortiz mountains through the historic towns of Golden, Madrid, and Cerrillos before emerging into a section of short grass plains and the startling menace of the New Mexico State Penitentiary. A few miles later, the Trail terminates in I-25 and its handful of exits leading into Santa Fe proper.
The day was so sunny and so warm, I was getting drowsy from the drive and was most certainly overdressed, even though I wasn't even wearing a coat. My potential client's home, a ubiquitous several-million-dollar green-built construct situated in an exclusive subdivision made possible by the displacement of dozens of species of our state's native wildlife, was warm like a sauna and so bright thanks to huge banks of windows and skylights, we were all squinting at each other across the table.
People who make a living measuring things like this have deduced that New Mexico enjoys about 312 days a year, give or take a day or so, of clear skies. Not semi-clear, not partly cloudy, but 100 percent crystal clear blue, whose only interruption is the occasional bird or jet contrail.
I've been here all my life and all this light still has the power to amaze me on the few times a day I emerge from my office to go play ball with the dog or check the gate for a package from UPS or run the Jeep over to the mailbox. It's the retinal equivalent of a knock on the head, which probably explains why so many out-of-staters with the economic means, like my potential client, find themselves thoroughly smitten enough with New Mexico to discard their former lives and make the Land of Enchantment their new home.
All this light!
All this space!
All this cultcha!
The process of shedding their former corporate selves is accomplished with remarkable speed: off with the power suits, on with the batik and Birkenstocks; bye-bye to the crisp reliability of generations of Presbyterian heritage, hello to candles and crystals and new age incantations; see ya later 401ks, whose depths are plundered to fund magazines and foundations and holistic lifestyle initiatives that hire natives like me who try not to giggle while cashing our checks. Because these hippies? They got cash.
Which means that although my future may not be as bright, at least I gotta wear shades.