Thursday, August 6, 2009

Place of Enchantment

I always got a kick out of driving a car with a license plate bearing the slogan "Land of Enchantment." I was disappointed when the state of New Mexico changed the design a few years ago. We still have a distinctive license plate, but it no longer proclaims our state nickname. And "Land of Enchantment" is simply perfect.

Where else will you witness a scene like this?

That's what Bennie and I saw Monday evening, as we drove north out of town, past the village of Tesuque, and turned left, headed for that dramatic structure nestled back into the mountains. The short journey through pinon-studded high desert was enchanting, in and of itself, but the real enchantment lay ahead.

We parked and descended into the soaring space of the Santa Fe Opera House, an open-air venue. Four tall diaphanous curtains swayed on stage. The murder victim sang an aria from behind those curtains, which served as portals into truth and the subconscious. Beyond the stage, the almost full moon revealed itself, time and again, from mountains of cloud cover. The cloud forms mimicked the actual mountains beyond. It was a magical backdrop for "The Letter," the world premiere of the opera based on Somerset Maugham's play.

The occasion was Bennie's birthday.

When we returned home, we found the Spirit chairs illuminated by the same moon. Someone was singing an aria in the distance, in the direction of the foothills. The sound was faint, barely discernible. At the same time, it seemed to come from that very chair.

Just another night in our back yard, a Land of Enchantment.