Pedernal Plains

On the way home from a great weekend up in Northern New Mexico, we drove through Coyote, near Abiquiu Lake. The gathering July monsoon clouds were perfect and the early afternoon air was crisp and clear. I found a good vantage point looking across some open plains rising up to the north side of "Pedernal", or as Georgia O'Keeffe called it – her "Faraway Nearby."

Pedernal Plains

The earth is parched and dry, the plants beg for the clouds to accumulate and offer some relief. The irony is that the landscape is so clearly erroded by water, there is no question as to it's anticipated arrival.


Pedernal, Abiquiu, New MexicoPedernal From Ghost Ranch

There exist more "lush" areas by desert standards, places that are preserved from over-grazing. Here the native grasses get a more reasonable respite between the munches that eventually become our filet mignon. Seen above from Ghost Ranch, Pedernal rises into the sky above Abiquiu Lake to the south. Once you've witnessed this, you have arrived.


Pedernal, Abiquiu, New MexicoAbiquiu Meadow

From a the seat of an aircraft at 30,000 feet above the desert ground it may seem a bit drab, but with boots on the ground and on location, one is immersed in the seasonal dynamism of the high desert landscape and atmosphere. Quickly the focus changes. This is only the beginning of your journey.


Chimney Rock and Pedernal, Abiquiu, New MexicoChimney Rock - Ghost Ranch

On hikes like these elevation becomes a right of passage, not because of your height from the ocean floor, but by virtue of existential experience.

Crawling up the passes on the way to Chimney Rock brings to mind the metaphor of primordial amphibians climbing up and out of the soup, unaware of the implications that may trickle on-and-on...into forever. Climbing to this point, and arriving at it's climax evolves one's perceptions in a beautiful way. At this vantage point, it's clear that we stand on the shoulders of millions and millions of years of geo-morphing. The layers of carbon-dated fossils and dinosaur bones within entice a journey into the past...far beyond the human settlement of the area.

It's called Ghost Ranch for a reason.

Gazing across the landscape, looking inward and all around all at once, dimensions melt into One.

Time from this vantage point is sublime.

The seemingly infinite layers of experience flatten in my lens, and I wonder how this all happened, and more importantly, why.

~Amadeus Leitner



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