Thursday, September 3, 2015


My mother is 90 years old and in a nursing home in western New York.  I call her every Sunday and we have wonderful conversations.  About every other week she asks me if I have thought about moving back home  to New York.

I have thought about her question and my answer many times in the last few years.  Have I ever thought about moving back “home”?  I have not lived in New York for 46 years.  I have had several other “homes” since New York was my home.  My home now is New Mexico.  I dreamed for 40 years of moving here, and finally in 2008 my dream became a reality.  Many people dream for years about something that it turns out never happens.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I got my dream.

Much as I love my Mom and my  other family members and friends in New York, my answer is no.  I will not move back there. I love New York as the place of my birth, but New Mexico is the home of my choice.


Several other questions are ones I have heard more than once from people who have visited me here in Santa Fe:  Doesn’t all the brown bother you?  Don’t you miss the green and the other colors from other places you have lived?   It is so brown here; isn’t that depressing?

Brown?  No color?  Depressing?

Truthfully, I see color - vibrant color - all around me here.

GREEN.  John used to say “In New Mexico, green is an accent color” and so it is.
I live with green on my property year round - green pinon and juniper trees.  Green cactus.  The desert turns green in the summer when the monsoons come.  And perhaps the best green of all here -- GREEN chile in the late summer.  Green chile roasting in chile roaster all over town.  Green chile on everything from enchiladas to cheeseburgers.

RED.   Oh yes, red is our other chile color.  The color of red chile is deep and rich.  The chile ristra that hangs on my front portal gives a touch of red to my home.  Red is also the color of the mountains north of Abiquiu, and also the predominant color in many Native American weavings.  And, red is the color of the Zia symbol on our state flag.

BLUE.  There is nothing anywhere that I have lived that rivals the blue of our New Mexico sky.  I think it has something to do with the thinner air at this elevation.  Light plays differently here and our sky is a vibrant and glorious deep blue.  Also, the distant mountains on the horizon (in my case the Jemez, the Sandias and the Ortiz)  appear  blue in the distance, all shades of blue from pastel to deep almost purple blues.

YELLOW.  Forsythias in bloom in the spring, chamisa and sunflowers in bloom in the late summer -- yellow covers our desert world with its bright happy color.  And … yellow is the color of our flag!

FUCHSIA.  Hot pink? Here in the high desert?  We have it!  In June when our cactus blooms the bright pink flowers paint our desert with joyous color

PURPLE.  Russian sage is in bloom here all summer long.  Everywhere.

BLACK.  Black on black pottery produced at San Ildefonso pueblo is world-renowned and exquisitely beautiful.  And there there are the miles and miles of black malpais (lava beds)  at the Valley of Fires west  of Carrizozo, NM.

WHITE.  Think New Mexico and you often think right away of the white fluffy clouds that adorn our sky.  And white in the winter means fresh snowfall around the state and especially up at the ski areas in the mountains.  And for me personally, white is the color of the gravestone where my husband is buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery, overlooking the city he loved.

ORANGE.  Just look at our Mexican Saltillo tile which is used for the flooring in many New Mexico buildings, including my house.

GOLD.  Oh boy  do we have gold.  There is nothing here in New Mexico quite as colorful as the aspens which turn golden all over northern New Mexico, especially in the aspen forests up in some of our mountain ranges.

TURQUOISE.  Next to brown, turquoise could be considered the primary color of New Mexico.  It has been mined here for hundreds of years and is ubiquitous in much of the jewelry made here in the state.  A trip to NM means a trip to the Plaza to look over the turquoise jewelry on sale.

SILVER.  Along with turquoise, silver has been mined here in the state for years, and is another major component of our jewelry here.


From the hot air balloons over Albuquerque in October, to our sunsets that paint the sky with nearly every color of the rainbow all year long,  to all the colors of the native crafts all over the state, color infuses New Mexico all year long.

This is the Land of Enchantment.
This is the Land of Color!