How many shades of brown can you imagine? We just went to Santa Fe for a day trip and I believe that we saw them all. Picture a city that you almost can't see from a distance, because its public buildings and houses blend into the landscape so perfectly. Picture tiny winding snowy streets, lined with beautiful adobe walls. Picture every kind of adobe house in every shade of brown and tan and russet, and you will begin to have an idea of Santa Fe.
I wish I had photos to share with you. There was snow, lots of snow, capping the walls around the houses and piling up against the coyote fences. The air was cold and it smelled of those delicious piñon and mesquite fireplace fires. The city was surrounded by mountain ranges dusted with snow. What a beautiful place, and unlike any other American city--The City Different, indeed.
We were invited to visit the family of one of my son's dearest friends. There, in a warm little adobe house, we learned the secrets of making enchiladas the real way--stacked and topped with fried eggs. I got to see the actual process of making chile (red chile sauce, I've been calling it) at the side of an expert, instead of reading the how-to out of books as I so often do.
We sat around a table and shared companionship and swapped stories. It was hard to believe that we had just met these people. I felt so at home, I didn't want to leave.
We slid down the icy driveway waving good-bye to our new friends, and drove out into the empty New Mexican spaces under our big, big turquoise sky; then down through the mesquite-covered foothills, and out through the great flat plains, and so back to our accidental prairie home.