New Mexico’s Mountains Sirens Entreat Antipodes



Mary and my visit to our daughter’s home in Angel Fire New Mexico revealed a confounding conjugal of incongruent concepts; opposites do indeed, attract: the attractant agent, be it magnetite or myth, appeared to be of a profound, formidable force. Heather and Dave had purchased a home in New Mexico and Mary thought us delinquent in parental obligations, and a visit was way overdue; and besides, neither of us had ever visited New Mexico. With the precursors of love and curiosity, we flew into Albuquerque on the eve of the Christmas holidays; rented a SUV packaged with a SIRIUS XM Radio and GPS, which concomitantly engendered a lyrically lulling reverie and a robotic compliance to the episodic, punctuated monotone road directions committing us to I-25 Hwy North. The long drive in the desert imbued our optical senses to a Georgia O’keeffeian-like harmonious arrangement of line, color, and notan (the Japanese system of lights and darks) artistic appreciation of a duplicitously austere environment peppered with succulents armored with spines, random swaths of sage, and lone sentries of pion pines and junipers. The collective landscape of N.M. was of a Grecian framing with Pythagorean perpendicularity of a horizontal desert and abruptly vertical mesa edifice. The week visit in the enchanted state was to corroborate a ubiquitous Numina essence and a conspicuous converse duality: our daughter’s livelihood is of the sea, yet her residence is fortified in the mountains; geographical juxtapose Bandelier National Monument and the Department of Energy Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of the Atomic bomb, suggest a compass landscape distance that is emblematic of a science continuum with the technically enhanced northern ‘moderns’, scientists in a lab splitting atoms, and to the south, the technically deprived ‘ancients’, troglodytes, The Pueblos, were splitting rocks in their caves; and, the “high desert” in spite of its austerity and paucity of life it evokes a reverence that is generally remitted to rainforest and reefs teeming with life.


Heather, our eldest, is a child of the currents; where her residency induces morphs of plankton- pollen archetypes, enabling her to drift and waft in two glorious realms of nature: the azure seas of the Caribbean, soup dense with microscopic crustaceans, and the blinding white powdery snow, conifer laden, mythical mountains of New Mexico. With the wind to her back, she has become the proverbial citizen of the world, where she either is landing in an airport or docking in a harbor, personifying the lyrics of Alanis Morissette’s Citizen of the Planet: I grow from a special seed…I linger in the sprouting/ Until my engine’s full/ Then I move across the sea… 

We arrived!

Heather, our eldest, is a child of the currents; where her residency induces morphs of plankton- pollen archetypes, enabling her to drift and waft in two glorious realms of nature

We were greeted by The Pritchard Company: Dave, the South African import; the metaphorical pollen grain gametophyte, Heather; and, George, the mute philosopher.   With eyes wide open, the sublime mountain landscape was blinding; the ground was blanketed with snow and breeched by the perpendicular pagoda hierarchy limbs of the diverse species of conifers.  Their home, our bed and breakfast for the following week was incredible. It had the vantage panoramic view of a light house; where— when we would position ourselves on the back deck, a promontory into a sea of snow and evergreens, we were imbued in mountainous splendor. The floor plan was open and spacious with a décor that accounted for their enthralling international travels of Africa, Caribbean, and now, the mythical mountains of New Mexico.  


George, The omniscient


I meet George for the first time. He was [still is] a three foot orangutan fashionably donning a brown Mountie Hat and sunglasses. Folklore has it, that George was Dave’s wing man when sextant navigation [the instrument was first invented in 1759 by John Bird] was in vogue. Incredulous yarns were spunned of the dynamic duo’s carousing Caribbean cantinas: presumably, in search for the perfect beer. George is a listener; epitomizing the deportment of a bartender, or maybe, a psychologist in session, which if one was to entreat his attention, one would perceive a subtle, authoritative head-nod implicit of erudition. It was his “body language” nuance that recommended Dave’s ideal Christmas gift, the wheel barrel.

We had one short week to be immersed and baptized into New Mexico’s occult. Heather, with the lofty aspirations to have us visit as many NM historic benchmarks as we possibly could endure, assumed the roles of concierge and taxi driver. With the verve of New York City taxi driver, she careened curvy mountain roads with no hint of apprehension; fearless, to Taos, Santa Fe, Chimayo, and Bandelier National Monument. Once we arrived on destination, Heather morphed into the gracious concierge fulminating with NM tidbits of esoteric facts, which held us spellbound and entertained for hours on end. One was compelled to acknowledge the religiosity that suffused the culture of NM with the ubiquity of the European Christian and Pueblo icons of Latin crucifixes and Kokopelli caricature of a hunch back flute player, the fertility deity, adorning the walls and shelves of countless retail enterprises. It confounds me that, even though, we are in the 21st century there is still the head nod of approbation towards religions of the paternalistic ancients, whose supposedly god inspired scripture condones genocide, bigotry, slavery, and chauvinistic misogyny—and, comments absolutely nothing about science; yet, it, like the ignoble weed, perseveres.  According to the Hostetter’s sages, ma and pa, the evolutionary meme, religion, mere survivability reflects its relevance. People, the parental sages, of faith wielding the bludgeon instrument of reason, with much to my chagrin, does, evoke pause: damn the perspicacity of the elders. I am philosophically conflicted, not with the questions of immortality or the existence of god/s, for I am confident and resolute in the answer to those questions; however, explicit in the First Amendment is a litigious guarantee tolerance to all religions, as it should be, but herein lays the contention. Tolerance is, with some respect a complicit condoning, and religion has become so politically vitriolic and anti-science; confusing Genesis with Evolution, the incomprehensible perplexing ignorance of a fetus anatomy and physiology with that of a new-born, and the imbecilic denial of global warming attributed to man burning fossil fuels; in that, turning a blind eye and deaf ear is no longer an option. The wall between church and state has been blatantly breached and reason has been compromised—what to do? Oh, look Mary at that colorful Kokopelli.   

Heather personifying all the attributes of Job, patiently entertained all our whimsical wishes to visit historical benchmarks that may appear on the surface antithetical to our life philosophies: Mary and I are of the atheistic persuasion, formerly of the Catholic hood, paradoxically visited with delight iconic Catholic chapels espousing its supernatural dogma defying medical science with claims of miraculous salubrious healing rights….We, the boss lady and I, had bared witness to time worn Catholic missions, cacti, and coyotes inextricably of the desert with double entendre: simple but complex; stratified with perplexity, personifying the duplicitously simple poem, The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams. 

so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


…what can we surmised from Jesus taking refuge in the desert for forty days; George intimating to me that the perfect Christmas gift for Dave is a wheel barrow; and, an atheist referencing the bible, could it be, sirens actually do exist and entreat antipodes…