POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer
#014: July, 2005
Good For You, Albuquerque
For a time, our Mayor’s administration had bumperstickers of the above slogan and were busy stroking their and our egos with the effervescent joy of empty praise. There is no better time to recall this phrase than when you are showing off the ‘old home town’ to summertime visitors. And this year with all the rain in the east, visitors seem to be finding their way aplenty to our Enchanted Land with its ‘dry heat’ and little in the way of summer rain despite the so-called Monsoon Season upon us right now.
My wife and I have seen more of Albuquerque recently than in years. Coming down the tram from a fantabulous meal at the High Finance in the cool darkness of a new moon with the sparkly lights of our city and valley shining forth like diamonds was a proud moment for us. Walking the walls of SKY CITY at Acoma Pueblo (and skipping the new casino) was also a spiritually high moment for us as ‘tour guides’ to awestruck visitors. There’s a poem or short story to be told in all of this.
We take our surroundings for granted it seems until ‘fresh eyes’ come from other places. Taking out of towners to the Zoo to see the new African exhibits and passing through the cool blue waters of our fair city’s Aquarium are done all too UN-often. Visitations are ‘a good thing’...Martha Stewart (aka ‘M.Diddy’) would have to agree.
Showing our visitors six ‘varieties’ of enchiladas and explaing the ‘green or red’ phenomena while listening to Mariachi’s play makes this a truly unique place where we live and dwell alongside a ‘mighty river’ in between mountain ranges...fairly ‘bugless’, rich with tradition, culture, and a growing population of new comers.
Feasting again while watching the Isotopes crack the bats (as the Sandia Mountains turn into their famous Water Melon Pink) at the still ‘new’ and gorgeous ballpark in the hallowed grounds of the Albuqueurque Dukes. The pleasures of summer seem heightened when shared with those from lowered elevations. To see the spread of jeweled lights from atop the Sandia Peak after sunset said it all.
We didn’t even mind the Wal*Mart bag seen blowing through the cliffs of Acoma. And we mentioned several times that it was ‘usually clearer than this’, but the drifting haze of wild fire smoke didn’t faze our visitors a bit. This is truly a unique place to live and breathe. The worst elements of our Enchanted Land continue to be not so bad. Hurricanes, gas prices, transit bombings in London, and even the second Iraq war, all seem far away while munching on fry bread and watching Ravens fly.
From explaining the mystery of ‘swamp coolers’ and ‘xeriscaping’, to deciding how many Frontier Rolls one can consume is all part of the show in a High Desert summer. The beauty of acequias, the joys of hummingbirds, crossing the ‘big river’, shopping, mariachi dinners, mountains, mesas, and... well, all in all, the High Desert is one heck of a place to live in. Find some time to enjoy your cool home (inside thick walls with the swamp cooler spinning) but also take time to get ‘out there’ and enjoy yourselves. And drink a lot of water while taking your own High Desert tour . Happy Trails!
Jeff Hartzer copyright 2005