This one was previously alluded and linked in a horoscope (cf, Cancer) – 13 miles of bad road. 13.1 miles. According to the monks’ website.

It really was a spiritual journey, and little bit of family history, personal remembrances, and 13 miles of bad road. Won’t do that again unless I can get a rent car with full insurance. Or a truck. Or a four-by.

The monastery is located a few miles north of Abiquiu, NM – famous for Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch, the site and soul of her latter works. One of the most influential artists, and I suppose, the journey really begins, now that I think about it, in Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV, Sin City) – at the Bellagio, the light-on-content art show. O’Keefe was well-curated, with just a few pieces, and that whetted my appetite for more. Last summer, it was the mid-western comment about “those evil flowers,” a remark I will always remember and be amused by, while visiting the real Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, NM. The Monastery – Benedictine Abbey – the entrance to the road is merely a mile or so north of the Ghost Ranch Visitor Center (Closed on Monday).

The landscape, the stark, high desert, it’s every bit as beautiful and breathtaking as it seems. More so. Headed out of town, climbing up, first from Espanola then to Abiquiu, the colors of the desert run together, reds, whites, grays, ochre and yellow dirt, the blue sky that is only found in New Mexico, and the carved shapes of the mesa and cliffs, the gorges and canyons. Easy to quickly comprehend the artist’s sentiment and attraction to the land and its shapes.

The Monastery is at the end of the journey, jus a little past Ghost Ranch. The journey itself is worth the experience, catch it on one of those not-too-rare sunny Northern New Mexico days, some clouds, endless expanse of blue sky. At the end of the road is rudimentary sign, “No hunting, no fishing, no camping, this is private property,” and then a parking area, just gravel on the side of the road, and the road goes on, leading towards the chapel. There’s a guest house off to the left, and the bubbling stream, river in my definition, then the chapel peeks out of the trees.

The layout, in my mind’s eye, to this chapel is different. It’s, it certainly felt like, it was four equal arms to a cross, not the usual three short arms and one elongated shaft, so the effect was there were four, equal compartments to the chapel itself. More circular, less separation.

It’s one of the most beautiful chapels I’ve ever been in.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sarah Jul 29, 2010 @ 9:42

    One of those places where the Universe is open to us–and we to it.

  • Lindy MacDuff Jul 29, 2010 @ 21:57

    Thank you for sharing these gorgeous images from New Mexico and the information. I had almost forgotten how beautiful it is there.

  • Rossel Jul 30, 2010 @ 0:25

    perfect blue sky. the shot from the window is dramatic. i love it!

  • ashok Jul 31, 2010 @ 14:26

    Very much enjoyed reading this, enjoyed the pictures. I do like how you talk about the colors of the desert running together. The few times I’ve seen the desert – out in Arizona – what actually struck me was the distinctness of the colors there. Some very colorful plants and other objects would stick out of the ochres, browns, and intense blue sky.

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