Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Last day in New Mexico

with 22 comments


We drove out of Santa Fe on the morning of October 19th knowing it would be our last day in New Mexico. By late afternoon we’d be back in Texas—not Austin, but another Texas A: Amarillo (which is conveniently the Spanish word for ‘yellow’). We planned to take sinuous Interstate 25 to check out a much less famous Las Vegas than the one in Nevada, then dip down to Interstate 40 and eastward into the Texas panhandle. Not too long after we started following Interstate 25 I saw a sign to exit for the Pecos National Historical Park, which I’d never heard of. It sounded interesting, so we turned off on New Mexico Highway 50 and drove east to the little town of Pecos. That’s where I saw the colorful roadside row of trees that I take to be cottonwoods (Populus deltoides subsp. wislizenii), but if someone said they’re actually aspens (Populus tremuloides) it wouldn’t surprise me.

Then it was south on New Mexico 63, where before reaching the entrance to the park we stopped at an informational display about the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Who knew that an important battle of the American Civil War took place in New Mexico? As Wikipedia explains:

The Battle of Glorieta Pass (March 26–28, 1862) in the northern New Mexico Territory, was the decisive battle of the New Mexico campaign during the American Civil War. Dubbed the “Gettysburg of the West” by some authors (a term described as one that “serves the novelist better than the historian”), it was intended as the decisive blow by Confederate forces to break the Union possession of the West along the base of the Rocky Mountains. It was fought at Glorieta Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in what is now New Mexico, and was an important event in the history of the New Mexico Territory in the American Civil War.

There was a skirmish on March 26 between advance elements from each army, with the main battle occurring on March 28. Although the Confederates were able to push the Union force back through the pass, they had to retreat when their supply train was destroyed and most of their horses and mules killed or driven off. Eventually the Confederates had to withdraw entirely from the territory back into Confederate Arizona and then Texas. Glorieta Pass thus represented the climax of the campaign.

From that stretch of NM 63 we had a good view of a broad and imposing mesa:



Looking 90° to the right, in the distance we could still make out
the snow-topped Sangre de Cristo Mountains that we were leaving behind.




✦        ✦        ✦


Been a while since I commented on recent spam I’ve gotten. The awkward English in a lot of spam points to foreign origins. Take, for example, “Thanks the information” and “I discover something tougher on diverse blogs everyday. Most commonly it is stimulating to learn content from other writers and use a little something from their website. I’d would rather apply certain using the content in this little blog regardless of whether you do not mind.” At least it didn’t say irregardless.

Some comments are actually in a foreign language. Google Translate tells me the “установка окон иркутск” I received the other day is Russian for “window installation [in] Irkutsk.” Too bad I don’t live in Siberia, or I might jump on the offer. Here’s one in Portuguese: “Muito boa a materia, gostaria de ver uma sobre pousadas no pantanal.” It means: “Very nice material, I’d like to see one about inns in wetlands.” Maybe the poster of the first comment can fly from Siberia to Brazil to install windows in the wetland inns that the second commenter conjured up.

And then there was the mysterious “A red apple invites stones.” An internet search indicates that it’s an Arabic/Kurdish/Turkish proverb. One website explains it as meaning “Good will be envied,” which seems a plausible interpretation. While searching for an explanation I came across a page with 85 Kurdish proverbs. Check them out, and you can be the first kid on your block to sprinkle your conversation with Kurdish proverbs like “Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once” and “When a cat wants to eat her kittens, she says they look like mice.”

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 8, 2022 at 4:27 AM

22 Responses

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  1. The picture at the top shows a fall scene in all its glory. You can be proud of having discovered and captured such a magnificent autumn landscape on your recent journey.

    Peter Klopp

    December 8, 2022 at 9:52 AM

    • I can’t take too much credit for that fall color because we found it in many places as we drove around in northern New Mexico. The frequency with which it came doesn’t make me any less grateful for having witnessed it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2022 at 8:12 PM

  2. Every image could be a postcard! I loved the top one with the lovely fall color and blue sky.


    December 8, 2022 at 10:06 AM

    • I imagine the top one is like scenes that you get to see each fall but that are largely foreign down here in central Texas—which is why I was so happy our visit turned out to be so well timed to the fall foliage.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2022 at 8:13 PM

  3. Well, stone the crows, I don’t understand the first proverb “A red apple invites stones,” I thought it was peaches and plums that had stones, maybe the translation is at fault, it’s kinda the pits?

    Robert Parker

    December 8, 2022 at 10:32 AM

    • Looks like my commentary seeded some plays on words in your imagination, and more than just a pear of them. I hope you didn’t get plum tired out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2022 at 8:18 PM

  4. The yellow and blue together are wonderful. I like proverbs in general. The last one is sad. I thought the (ripe) red apple might be stoned to bring it down before reading your explanation. I was once told by a WordPress person that the spam is mainly machine written. I’m not sure how true that is, but I never get one I can see the point of posting.


    December 8, 2022 at 10:37 AM

    • Yellow-and-blue could well be the color theme of our trip, so much golden foliage did we see against blue skies.

      I have a book from the mid-1800s called A Polyglot of Foreign Proverbs, a compendium of proverbs in a bunch of foreign languages, along with English translations. Sometimes even with the translation I don’t understand what a proverb means. Regarding the one with the red apple, I also first thought, like you, that people will more likely try to bring down ripe fruit than unripe fruit.

      It may be the case that a lot of spam is machine-generated. So much of it seems pointless to me. I never click to go to the website the sender is promoting.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2022 at 8:24 PM

  5. The Top one yellow color is Amazing

    Financial Freedom

    December 8, 2022 at 7:40 PM

    • Yes, it was a great sight. I took nine pictures of the trees in that row, composing in various ways.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2022 at 8:26 PM

  6. There’s just nothing like that yellow-against-blue combination, but the next two photos, if less obviously colorful, are equally pleasing. There’s something about the combination of grasses and trees that reminds me of parts of Texas.

    Near the Pecos National Historical Park is Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey. There are some interesting details on this page detailing their history. I love that the Abbey giftshop once was a stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe Trail.


    December 8, 2022 at 7:49 PM

    • Also: your comments about your trip back into Texas reminded me of my own return after my two-week trip through the various grasslands. I headed to Amarillo, too, but dropped south from Elkhart, Kansas on US 95. As I crossed the state line at Texoma, I couldn’t believe my viscerally postive reaction to being back in the state. I put this in the CD player, and rolled right on.


      December 8, 2022 at 7:53 PM

      • A map shows Elkhart is in the lower right corner of Kansas, adjacent to the Oklahoma Panhandle, your last barrier to Texas before you boogied back into Texas. I’d say our return was less rhythmic but did let us partake in some popular culture, as a post next week will reveal.

        Steve Schwartzman

        December 8, 2022 at 8:39 PM

    • I just replied to an earlier comment by noting that yellow-and-blue could well be the color theme of our trip, so much golden foliage did we see against blue skies. That that mesa in the second photograph caught my fancy, and I photographed it again later when we were nearer to it in the Pecos National Historical Park. I hadn’t heard about Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey, as close as we were to it. It’s like the things I assume I walk right past without seeing when I go out in nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2022 at 8:33 PM

  7. The views are beautiful, Steve, and thanks for the interesting commentary on SPAM. I will check out the proverbs.

    Lavinia Ross

    December 10, 2022 at 9:44 AM

    • You’re welcome, Lavinia. Happy proverbs to you.
      The views made me happy because they were of things I can’t get at home.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 10, 2022 at 11:03 AM

  8. The combination of yellow leaves and bright blue sky is glorious, worth turning off the Interstate for.
    The red apple proverb is more entertaining than the spam I get – I’m glad that WordPress does a good job of weeding most of it out!

    Ann Mackay

    December 11, 2022 at 10:51 AM

    • Our timing for fall foliage in northern New Mexico, though not planned, turned out ideal, and the sky was blue on many of our days there.

      Most of the spam I get is of the same sort year after year and not interesting. Once in a while I find one that I can mention in a commentary, usually humorously.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 11, 2022 at 11:56 AM

  9. We also discovered Pecos on the map and decided to visit–actually went back for a second visit at a later time. And my husband knew about Glorieta Pass beforehand, so we had to walk through the woods where some of the fighting took place. This is a beautiful, wooded part of New Mexico.


    December 13, 2022 at 6:46 PM

    • You’re one visit up on us, then. We arrived at the visitor center around the time when a ranger was about to lead a tour for a college group, so we hitched ourselves to that guided tour and learned a lot about the site. Your husband must be one of the few people to have heard about the Battle of Glorieta Pass. It was new to me, as was that part of the state. You may recall that the goal of our trip was to visit places we hadn’t been to, and we succeeded on many counts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2022 at 7:36 PM

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