Day 1: I started my day in Florida where I looked up at the sky for a moment of zen and saw a sky so blue, it was becoming purple. It was sunny out, not dawn, and up against the vivid green leaves of the trees, the contrast was intense. It was an explosion of color.
Later on the plane, with every single seat full, I thought about it being the only circumstance where we Americans are accepting and understanding of being so close to strangers. I was touching my fellow passengers (arm-to-arm and leg-to-leg at many times) and though I don’t think it’s anyone’s ideal way to travel, it’s understood and forgiven. There is something completely against nature about a group of humans racing through the air in a metal object 30,000 feet above the earth. We all know how completely insane that concept is and it’s as if we’re all survivors, huddled together with every minute that passes on the flight.
Toward the end of my flight into Albuquerque, I witnessed the most magnificent sunset. I had the best seat in the house for that show. Fire orange sprawled the horizon, bleeding into a yellow becoming a green-blue, which floated into that indigo of night and outer space. The sun was a flaming ball I could actually watch, as it disappeared below the mountains.
In the twilight, the cars below seemed to be zipping past, as if the view of the road was a film in fast-forward.
Getting to Santa Fe from Punta Gorda is a pretty long trek (but I’m not complaining). It begins with a two-hour car ride to the airport, continues with a five-plus-hour flight that makes one stop (but is otherwise a “direct flight”) and ends with an hour-long trip by car (or in this case shuttle). It still blows my mind that I can be in two drastically different places all in the same day.
Day 2: The chamisa caused an allergy flare-up, but I didn’t let that stop me from bargain hunting with Mom, enjoying New Mexican food at Tortilla Flats (a staple) and driving 15 miles up the Sangre De Cristo mountains to see the aspens changing colors. On the way up the mountain, we saw rare blue woodpeckers, a family of deer and…trailer after trailer of movie equipment, horses and most likely, movie stars. The trailers were coming from the ski basin, where some movie or show had obviously just wrapped up filming.
At one point, we stopped at a scenic lookout to take pictures, when I saw a caravan of trailers and luxury vehicles rounding the winding road. I was definitely on display and felt like a tourist, so what else could I do but strike a Vanna White pose, smile and wave? Well, I got some of their attention as the guys leaned out the windows to wave and yell hello. My mother was star-struck, with her eyes and mouth wide open, shuffling her feet and saying excitedly, “They looked familiar!” She swears Dennis Quaid and Johnny Depp were among them. But alas, they did not stop to invite me to the after-party.