The Land of Enchantment
The word comes from the French, enchanter, meaning, "bewitch, charm, cast a spell," which is in turn from the Latin, incantare, "to enchant, fix a spell upon" - cantare from "to sing."
This place most certainly weaves a spell. To the east of Albuquerque the nearby Sandia Mountains rise an abrupt 5,000 feet above the city. At the highest point Sandia Crest pushes skyward at 10,680 feet.
I'm completely enthralled by the way the Sandias transform to deep pink as the sun sends her rosy light to them on her way to evening slumber.
In the distance, to the west of the city, are five extinct volcanos - Black, Bond, Vulcan, Butte, and JA - appearing as dark blemishes on the browned hills.
These volcanoes are located in Petroglyph Monument National Park, where I walked New Years Day to view some of the more than 25,000 messages carved into volcanic rock, some left by humans at the edge of prehistory, and later many marks from others who would pass by and add their voices to the conversation, Pueblo people, then Spanish wayfarers and priests.
Out in Los Poblanos Fields Open Space, dozens of Sandhill Cranes angle along on broken-stick legs, poking their long, sharp beaks into hard, bright soil in pursuit of insects, all the while chattering to each other in little plastic voices.
Overhead, restless Canada Geese beat the air with their wings as they move from field to field. I stand below and look up, hear the compression of disturbed air, feel the music of their honking as vibration deep in my solar plexus.
I have been here in New Mexico for just over two weeks, but already I feel rooted in this ancient soil. How did that happen? Somehow, I've been beguiled by this ongoing symphony of earth and mountains and skies and rocks and all the creatures thereon and therein.
Last Friday I moved down to a new rental place on a small farm in the South Valley, arriving just in time for the full moon. Out across the fields coyotes howled and sang in appreciation, and I stood in the narrow back yard and gazed around in wonder. In the moonlight the golden leaves still clinging to the craggy old cottonwoods turned silver and shivered in the evening air. From somewhere nearby came the soft lowing of cattle bedding down for the night.
Years ago when I was completing my MFA, a writer friend from the program and I were playing around with titles for our required theses. Jokingly, I came up with Seeker of Magic for mine, and we both laughed. All these years later, though, I wonder. Maybe I was confessing something essential to myself.
So be it, then, New Mexico. Here I am, and there you are. Let the enchanting go forth. I yield myself to your charms.