Friday, April 11, 2014

from Albuquerque

If I had to describe Albuquerque, I would probably say something about the colors here. I've never known it to have a dense cloud cover (it must, at some point, but I've never seen it). The blue sky and the pale landscape are a good match and I could spend a lot of time just staring at the way the two interact, especially now, in spring, when you add to it the pale green of the emerging leaves.

to Albuquerque-21.jpg

But this isn't how the day started for me. My Albuquerque friend has a high school senior at home and though I have very faint memories of what it was like to go through those last weeks of school with my girls, I have a fresh reliving of those times by going through the day with her as she attends to the various needs of her soon to be graduating daughter.

I eat a lovely breakfast of baked granola, yogurt and fruit..

to Albuquerque-1.jpg

But I quickly see that this is my luxury. My friend has a long to do list and so after I've eaten, she scoops up her own breakfast (to be finished in the car, like this)...

to Albuquerque-4.jpg

...and we head out to -- of all places -- Walmart. (Can I blog about this? -- I ask her wickedly. She, good naturedly doesn't protest.) Her daughter needs various items for a school project and when we're done with Walmart, we are at Michael's and when we're done there, it's time to go to pick up food  for the lunch the parents are hosting for the graduating class -- a meal of meats from Rudy's.

What, you don't know Rudy's? You'll find it in the southwest: it's a Texas BBQ place. Pulled pork, chopped beef, roasted chicken... all meats, all spiced just so, but of course, aided too by the BBQ sauce, which you can take either in the tame or not so tame version. It is all about meat at Rudy's.

to Albuquerque-9.jpg

I go to the high school with my friend and try to be helpful in serving this mega lunch, but really, I'm most helpful when I stay out the way. And so I watch and note the incredible appetites of especially boys that age. (My friend and another mother are helping them load their plates here.)

to Albuquerque-14.jpg

As the lunch continues, I retreat and take a short walk in the area, admiring the mountain that frames this city and of course, the light that is as ever brilliant.

to Albuquerque-15.jpg a dry sort of way.

to Albuquerque-16.jpg

I wonder how it is to live in year-round sunshine. When I have a clear day back home, it feels downright celebratory. I can't imagine not spending a portion of it outside. Would it be different if it were my everyday?

While my friend finishes her duties of shuffling her daughter and running errands, I go out for another walk -- toward that mountain that is rhe backdrop for this city (though it is hard for me to treat Ambuquerque as a city; it's twice the demographic size of Madison, but it feels significantly less dense).

to Albuquerque-16-2.jpg

Though I'm told that spring blooms peaked some weeks back, I still see plenty of them. Plums, crabs, and, of all things, lilac.

to Albuquerque-3.jpg

I never quite get to the mountain. It's hot and after an hour I turn back, too thirsty to continue. But I find the scattered housing here to be interesting to look at. It's what you imagine New Mexico should be like. It fits the image. An example:

to Albuquerque-7.jpg

And now, one glance over my shoulder...

to Albuquerque-14-2.jpg

..and I head to my friend's home. Her husband is back from work and in hearing about my various excuses for walks he tells us we should pile into the car and drive into the hills. For the beauty of it all. For the view.

to Albuquerque-9-3.jpg

We walk a bit of the trail and look out at the plateau that stretches toward the next range and I have to admit quietly here that it reminds me a tiny bit of Sorede: from the Pyrenee hills, you can look across the great Languedoc plain to the peaks of the Corbieres and for a minute I think that I am there, not here and of course, I quickly adjust because Sorede is in the past and New Mexico is here before me.

to Albuquerque-15-2.jpg

to Albuquerque-10.jpg

to Albuquerque-7-2.jpg

to Albuquerque-12.jpg

I listen to my friends talk about their great  pleasure at being so close to the hills, so immersed in the blueness of the skies (you remember how Sorede boasted 300 days of sunshine each year? apparently Albuquerque claims it has 310) and I think how great it is that these diverse landscapes capture such loyal followings!

to Albuquerque-17-2.jpg


Later, much later, I talk to Ed about the chickens. He tells me how laid back they've been, how easy to let out of the pen the whole day (oh dear...). I'm thinking, it's terrific to leave him in charge every now and then. The chickens now have a second best friend. And that's a good thing.