Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Road to Hondo

That's a title for a western if I've ever heard one.

We headed north to catch the last rays of the sun on the great plateau that stretches from the junction of US 64 and NM 150 to the village of Arroyo Hondo. With Peggy at the wheel literally and figuratively she’d get fodder for paintings and I’d photograph whatever came my way. When we do a pre-dinner tour the Hondo-Seco loop is always an option. On this occasion we passed the junction known as the OBL or Old Blinking Light so named for a blinking traffic light that pre-dates our arrival in Taos. If we had turned right on NM 150, Ski Valley Road, we'd have begun the counter clockwise Hondo-Seco loop.

When we'd driven a mile or so north on NM 522 two subjects came to mind. Five miles north of the OBL is an industrial strength corral on Taos Pueblo land. I told Peggy that the corral had possibilities and that we should to keep an eye out for it. Before we got to the corral, I saw a fence that I mistook for the corral. Then another. My bumper sticker says, "This vehicle stops for fences." We stopped for two before we reached the corral. It's a good thing too since the glow of the sunset falling behind Tres Piedras illuminated the fences, the sage and prairie grass. It cast long shadows on the parched earth. The reflective stock tank beyond the corral proved more worthy than the corral itself and the shadows of the fence as they crossed the rutted path were brooding and dramatic. It and made for a quintessentially northern New Mexico scene.

At the junction of Hondo-Seco Road was a richly tagged old gas station that I'd passed a hundred times. The western light was perfect.

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