A little R&R

April was a much-anticipated month for me, for reasons that have nothing to do with the house we're building. April was the month I sat for the Professional Engineer, or PE, exam. 

This is an event that I've been studying for and working towards, for roughly half a year. Every day, I'd go into work and work a full day. Then, at 5:30 or so, I'd put aside that work and grab my books, and study for 2 or 3 hours. Basically every day.

It's been a tough road, not just for me, but for Margaret as well, who's had to tolerate my absence and lack of energy. 

So when the topic came up of what I wanted to do after I was done, I thought, "I want to go RELAX and BREATHE." And that's why we spent a lovely weekend last month in northern New Mexico. 

Pedernal, "OKeeffe's Mountain", as seen from Ghost Ranch. 

Pedernal, "OKeeffe's Mountain", as seen from Ghost Ranch. 

In particular, the Ojo Caliente, Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch part of that wonderful state. O'Keeffe country. The Chama river valley, where I did my vision quest five years ago. 

A Ghost Ranch tree immortalized in one of O'Keeffe's paintings. It still stands today, 80 years later, 

A Ghost Ranch tree immortalized in one of O'Keeffe's paintings. It still stands today, 80 years later, 

If you're a fan of Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, as I am, I don't need to tell you about the unique power of a desert landscape on your head and heart. 

The area's remoteness, dryness, harshness, strips away my sense of security, routine and thoughtlessness. While the incredible colors, shapes and forms awaken the soul and senses in a way that, for me, only the desert can do. 

Why do we do anything in life? Do we have purpose? Do we have legacy? 

Pot sherds in the ruins of a Pueblo above Ojo Caliente.

Pot sherds in the ruins of a Pueblo above Ojo Caliente.

Ghost Ranch. Timeless forms, yet ever changing. 

Ghost Ranch. Timeless forms, yet ever changing. 

For me the desert has always welcomed, never judged, It simply holds things up for us to look at, offers opportunities to reconnect to something timeless. To drink so deep, where there is no water to be seen.  

The Chama valley stretches below Margaret and Molly, with the snowy heights of Pedernal watching over. 

The Chama valley stretches below Margaret and Molly, with the snowy heights of Pedernal watching over. 


Despite being in the desert, the property we stayed at was nestled in a lush Oasis of trees, shrubs and farms in a high canyon of the Jemez mountains. Up a twisty 8 miles of dirt that makes CR1A inRidgway feel no where near as remote. But the solitude here was most welcome.

Despite being in the desert, the property we stayed at was nestled in a lush Oasis of trees, shrubs and farms in a high canyon of the Jemez mountains. Up a twisty 8 miles of dirt that makes CR1A inRidgway feel no where near as remote. But the solitude here was most welcome.