A Mystical Land of Enchantment

The night lights of albuquerque.
The night lights of albuquerque.

WE WERE DRIVING UP A MOUNTAIN near Albuquerque and my friends cautioned me not to look back. “Wait until we cross the mountain and return.” It was near dark and was my first visit to New Mexico— other than a drive through en route to California one summer about ten years before. I took their advice and was rewarded with a spectacular view! At night, the lights along the streets of Albuquerque define the checkerboard pattern — long straight thoroughfares with perpendicular intersections. How strange for a Louisiana boy accustomed to streets laid out along rivers and bayous. It was an unforgettable moment in my travels.

In 1912, the United States Congress admitted New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment”as the forty-seventh state. The state contains a portion of the area previously known as the “New Mexico Territory.” 

Texas native, Caleb Pirtle has made a career of travel and has this to say about his neighbor state: “There is something mystical about New Mexico. You feel it as soon as you cross the state line. The high desert. The lava flows and volcanic rock. The hidden recesses of dark canyons where the cave dwellers lived, where the Anasazi people vanished without a trace. Streets of Old Lincoln where Billy the Kid fought his way to freedom, a city so unchanged that it’s said Billy would immediately recognize the place if he ever came back. The land was blessed by the religions and superstitions of Native Americans. And the sun and the moon and the animals were looked upon as deity. It’s still believed that the land is a vortex, filled with auras, a direct gateway to the mysteries of space, linked forever to a great beyond that’s reflected in the pictographs and petroglyphs of its canyon walls. New Mexico is different. It wraps you in mystery and keeps the answer to its puzzles buried deep in the mountains of its landscape.”

Aside from one of the more famous New Mexicans, “Billy the Kid,” (who actually was from New York but lived most of his life in the Southwest) I discovered some interesting folks that are from the 47th state. Some on the list were surprising:

Bruce Cabot actor, Carlsbad
Dennis Chavez senator, Los Chavez
Mangus Coloradas apache leader
Edward Condon physicist, Alamogordo
Robert Crichton author, Albuquerque
John Denver singer, Roswell
Pete Domenici senator, Albuquerque
Harvey Fergusson author, Albuquerque
Sid Gutierrez astronaut, Albuquerque
William Hanna animator, Melrose
Neil Patrick Harris actor, Albuquerque
Conrad Hilton hotel executive, San Antonio
Peter Hurd artist, Roswell
Ralph Kiner baseball player, sportscaster, Santa Rita
William Henry Bill Mauldin political cartoonist, Mountain Park
John Madden sportscaster, Austin
Demi Moore actress, Roswell
Harrison Schmitt politician, Santa Rosa
Kim Stanley actress, Tularosa
Slim Summerville comedian, Albuquerque
Al Unser auto racer, Albuquerque
Bobby Unser auto racer, Albuquerque
Victorio Apache chief

Please click the book cover image to read more about FCEtier and his novels.

Claudia Berry made her first appearance in The Tourist Killer.

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