Mad, Magic New Mexico
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it ~ Roald Dahl
My memory of New Mexico is a long series of moments tinged with magic. The Rio Grande sparkling in the afternoon sun as Flemming and I drove alongside, through the gorge it carved. That lightness of being escaping the city and heading south over the broad flatness of the state with those incredible clouds for a canopy. The exhilaration of standing in an antenna dish in the Very Large Array looking across the plain to the mountains holding storms at bay. Running down the spaceway at Spaceport America and how incredible seeing something as earthly as a tarantula on its threshold felt. Being scored by the cleansing sun in White Sands. Hanging out in the quiet of Alamogordo watching the light change over the mountain outside of town, with the Ravemobile – a Dodge Avenger with a wicked stereo – reassuringly close by. Chasing the ghost of Billy through old Lincoln.
And always, the pounding drive of the music in time to it all.
New Mexico invaded my senses from the first meal of green chile chicken soup I had with Brian in Cecilia’s Cafe, to the last sip of fine tequila the night before I left. They call it the Land of Enchantment; that, for me, had a lot to do with suddenly seeing stuff from my younger daydreams play out in front of my eyes. New Mexico, home of Billy the Kid, the world’s first atom bomb, the world’s first commercial spaceport, this great stuff called chile, horses, rodeos, the open road, the wild West, the Rio Grande, canyons, mountains, the reality of science and history in living motion, and along with it all, a multitude of colours and contrasts. There was almost too much to take in, even just on the surface.
So much happened in the ten days of September that I was in there, and such great people to finally meet after years of talking over the internet. New Mexico is home to the most awesome Brian Miller and family, and it so happened that Dan Milnor and Flemming Bo Jensen were hanging around too. A confluence, if you will.
There was heaps to see, stop for, endless miles of unbelievably flat plain to try and fall off, big roads leading into infinity, and of course, the VLA and a bonafide Spaceport suggestively hinting at the future.
I struggled to shoot at all on some days, confounded by the alien dilemma of wanting to take a picture to solidify the memory, and equally not wanting to take said picture because the operation would diminish each precious second. I will admit that on the majority of occasions, I chose to forgo the picture. Perhaps this is what happens when one is overwhelmed by the immensity of the here and now.
There is something about this state that evokes weightlessness, boundlessness and an utter, beautiful freedom I’ve never felt before. A madness for which there is no cure.
Real magic lives in New Mexico.