The heavens swirl in a tornado of shrill cries and powerful gray wings. Thousands of sandhill cranes rise into the sky and the pale light of evening. Their long skinny legs tucking up and stretching out behind them. The cottonwoods and soupy marshes appear blurred and otherworldly in the dim light at day’s end. Every ray of sunshine might allow you one more glimpse of a herd of deer grazing quietly in a soft green meadow, or a tom turkey strutting about in the soft grass, his copper-colored tail feathers fanned out in full display.
The word desert does not usually conjure up the word enchantment, but there is one section of desert that can be considered akin to enjoying a beach all to yourself on a bright, sunny day. The temperature feels perfect—in the upper sixties with zero humidity and not a cloud in the sky. You lie on one of the numerous sand dunes while feeling the gentle breeze. This momentary getaway is so refreshing, so relaxing, you do not want to leave.
One by one we boarded the old ranch van. Our tour guide, Karen, drove us to a restricted part of the ranch that includes Georgia O’Keeffe’s home. We walked in the arroyos and horse trails, being careful not to step off the trails and damage any of the fragile flora or fauna. The longtime drought had taken its toll on the landscape. Karen pointed out the tiny plants that were struggling to survive the hot, arid climate of New Mexico.