Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sunday musings

San Miguel Mission, Santa Fe NM

Late this afternoon, we returned home from a road trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's the end of the kids' spring break weeks, and we thought it would do us all some good to get the heck outta Dodge for a few days. We left early Friday morning, for a seven hour drive. The van was equipped with a borrowed DVD player, with two screens and three sets of headphones. We loaded up our music CDs and a book on CD for Dan and I, a case of bottled water and a cooler full of snacks, and away we went. Once we were south of Colorado Springs and the traffic thinned, it was a beautiful drive. The open ranges of New Mexico were golden with winter grasses, dotted with cattle and antelope and occasionally sheep or llamas. The red adobe buildings blend in with the dirt landscape, and at this time of year, the sky is deep blue and clear as can be.

We spent most of Saturday in the historic district of Santa Fe, seeing the Palace of the Governors, the shops, the old churches and missions. It was a cool enough day, and it felt good to find a cozy restaurant for lunch and to warm up a bit. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assissi and the Loretto Chapel were my favorite places. The cathedral is so beautiful, with stained glass windows and a large baptismal font in the center of the church. In the Loretto Chapel, the plain adobe walls and rough beams were in sharp contrast to the faux marble altar, the infamous, circular staircase and the delicate statues in the Stations of the Cross. The controversial Archbishop Lamy was largely responsible for bringing a Catholic influence to the area, and an interpretation of his story is written by Willa Cather in Death Comes for the Archbishop. I've added it to my TBR list (again!)

I was reminded of the recent movie Little Miss Sunshine, as we traveled along, peacefully for the most part, but still with our share of snarling and growling at one another. Five different personalities in a Chevy mini-van, traveling 1,000 miles in three days. I think back to my family's travels when I was growing up, from the East coast to Arizona, to Colorado -- but that's another story. It seems that no matter where we go, the biggest highlight for the youngest two kids is the pool and the vending machine at the end of the day. My oldest son doesn't get it. "How can they be so excited about a pool that's the size of my (10x 11 sq ft.) bedroom?" With three drivers in the car, it does help with the traveling. When my son is driving, I sit waaay in the back of the van, because my white-knuckling makes him crazy, so my husband sits in the passenger seat. When my husband is driving, I sit in the passenger seat so we can listen to our book (a lousy choice this time, I can't even say the name, but he was a good sport to put up with this "chick" book for 5 hours). When I'm driving, Hubby sits in the waaaay back so he can watch DVDs with the younger two, and then #1 son sits up front with me where I play my "Golden 70s" CD and sing along. He buries his head in his pillow and pretends to sleep.

I love to travel and half the fun is coming home again, because home is my favorite place. On this trip I was so struck by the view as I drove over Raton Pass, into southern Colorado. The snow covered peaks stretched along the western horizon for as far as I could see. "Look, look!" I exclaimed, smacking the knee caps of the kids behind me, and they each lifted one side of their head sets, "wwhaa-aat?", annoyed at being distracted from their movie. I love this state, it's beauty never ceases to amaze me. The mountains are gorgeous and have so much to offer, but the plains have a special beauty in their own right. The soft rolling hills that change color with the seasons, with a backdrop as spectacular as the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes, when I'm driving around town and I come over a hill and see the view lying before me, I try to imagine what it was like before all the urban sprawl took over. The buffalo, the antelope, the Native people who lived here. It's so different now, but the view is non-the-less spectacular. I feel so humbled by it all, and once again I'm in awe of His gift.


Becky said...

Home is my favorite place to be too. I love to see new places, but home is where I'd rather be.

Sounds like you had a great, whirlwind, trip. I have never been to the Southwest. But you described much of what I picture it to be like.

Welcome home!

Christie Belle said...

What a great time! I love traveling too, but it is always nice to get back home. It sounds like you saw some really beautiful things:)

Judi said...

I loved reading your post. It was very descriptive. I almost felt like I went too! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

gail said...

Saw your comment on another blog and cruised on in! Love the description of your trip here, Santa Fe is a neat place to visit. But yes, you have a beautiful state! We just got back from Colorado a couple weeks ago; we flew out to go skiing. I remember the days when we would drive from MS to Colorado with 4 kids in a van, almost 24 hrs, to ski for spring break! Now we are lucky to fly; usually only about 2 of the kids will go at a time!
Sorry you still have snow when you're wanting spring.
Like the movie characters/movies you have listed...and some great books too!