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.

102 comments:

Daryl said...

What an amazingly wonderful birthday . happy belated but heartfelt wishes to Bennie!

The Green Stone Woman said...

It sounds like you had an evening of enchantment.

I have been to New Mexico once and I was indeed enchanted with it, especially with Taos, which was such a neat artist community, although very commercialized I understand, but the desert was wonderful and endless and beautiful. I did not visit the mountains, where I understand you live, but I hope to some day.

Maggie May said...

It all sounded wonderful to me.
Belated Happy Birthday wishes to Bennie!

aims said...

I agree - New Mexico is a Land of Enchantment.

What a perfect birthday present. Congrats on another year Bennie!

Celebration of Life said...

What an "enchanted" evening! I think the spirit in the chair was singing!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I want to go there. I want to go there!

Laura said...

Sounds and looks absolutely enchanting : )
I just love your stories and Happy belated Birthday to Bennie too! I hope to visit Sante Fe soon...My best friends husband is new medical director for a radiology and breast center there and bought a adobe house that we plan to visit soon! May have to stop at your gallery and say Hi! Love and Light, Laura

aims said...

Just back to say that your cloud analogy is absolutely brilliant - and so very very true! Thanks girl!

San said...

Daryl, Bennie and I thank you for the wishes. It felt like my birthday too!

San said...

"Wonderful and endless and beautiful." Such an apt description, Irene. I hope you return sooner rather than later.

San said...

Thanks, Maggie!

San said...

Another year is right, Aims. I believe with each year, we appreciate such things a bit more.

San said...

Jo, I believe you're right.

San said...

Elizabeth, I hope you do, I hope you do!

San said...

Laura, so you're coming to Santa Fe--what wonderful news! Do stop by!

San said...

Thanks, Aims, for letting me know that. It means a lot to me.

Velvet Ginger said...

NM certainly is the Land of Enchantment...especailly when you "take that wrong turn at AlBuhKoyKee!"
Thank you for visiting...I miss you too San!!!!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I had an art teacher that had a summer place in NM and always talked about going to the opera...your photo and descriptions made it all come alive! Indeed NM is the Land Of Enchantment. The sky alone makes it so!

andrea said...

I so very much want to visit New Mexico. It calls to me. One day...

Dianne said...

enchanted indeed!

the Opera House appears to be a place where you can feel, not just hear, the music

San said...

Rubye, the wrong turn's what it's about in New Mexico.

Welcome back.

San said...

Mary Ann, the sky is a big factor in the whole enchantment package. You got that right.

San said...

Andrea, I hope you make it here soon. I believe you would be in your element.

San said...

Dianne, I'm with you. And isn't the feeling as/if not more important than the hearing?

~Babs said...

It's way too long since I've been enchanted in your land, but you can bet I shall return!
What an exciting opera 'house'.
Even a Soap Opera would be enchanting if staged there.

Aaah, the chairs were performing an encore,,,just for San and Bennie.
Magical night,,,,even without a birthday; extra plus with!

Kim said...

What a beautiful story and beautiful photographs to ensure the reader understood completely.

You know, every time I have been to Northern New Mexico (specifically the Santa Fe/Taos area) I can feel that 'enchantment' all round me. So many special moments there...you are sure the spirits are there to make it all pleasurable and magical for everyone.

Thanks for reminding me, San!

chewy said...

What a wonderful setting for an open air opera house. Mystical as well as an enchanting evening.

AnotherQ said...

Lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

SandyCarlson said...

What a great way to celebrate Bennie's birthday. That is one interesting place. I swear I could hear the music as I read your post. Land of Enchantment, to be sure!

Randy said...

Beautiful shots San. Don't you just love living here, I know I do.

ellen abbott said...

Ahhh, the faint aria at the end and the ghost chair...

Sparkling Red said...

"Land of Enchantment" is the best license plate slogan I've ever heard of! And open-air opera does sound enchanting. It must have been a lovely evening.

Poetic Artist said...

What a enchanted place. You are so blessed to be in New Mexico and the Opera would be wonderful outside under the sky.

david mcmahon said...

Hope Bennie had a great day. And thank goodness for real-life lands of enchantment, San.

Shrinky said...

Oh san, what a magical way to spend an evening, and wasn't that a perfect way to end it?

One of the most enchanting evenings I spent was at an open air opera in Verona - it was held in the Colosseum where Christians were once thrown to the lions, it is still very much as it was originally built, you couldn't help but feel the energy of those ghosts long past. The moon was full, and the acoustics amazing. It was a night I shall always remember.

indicaspecies said...

What an enchanting evening in the Land of Enchantment!

My best wishes to Bennie and congratulations on the mention at Authorblog's Post of the Day.:)

jsd said...

Wow - what a beautiful and enchanting evening. I wonder if you saw stars? I miss the stars here -- the cloud cover never seems to go away. In the winter it never gets truly dark outside instead there's a near constant ethreal light.

San said...

Babs, you're right about the soap opera, you clever one.

And about the encore. You will have to visit again. Soon.

San said...

Kim, it's hard not to believe in spirits when you're here.

You understand. As always.

San said...

Dar, "mystical" is a good word here. Very good.

San said...

Thanks for visiting, Q. I love it when you do.

San said...

Well, Sandy, when YOU swear, it must be true!

San said...

Randy, yes, like you, I feel blessed to live here. And blessed by your visit I might add.

San said...

Ah, Ellen, I thought you'd hear it too...

San said...

Spark, isn't it just a perfect slogan? Although it fits the space that envelops you too.

:)

San said...

Poetic Artist, I'm sure you would love it.

San said...

David, Bennie's birthday was a gift--for both of us! Thank you.

San said...

Shrinky, those would be some powerful vibes. I must get there!!!

I have always wanted to go to Italy. You are egging me on...

San said...

Thank you for the birthday wishes, Celine. And for letting me know about David's acknowledgment.

How kind of both of you.

San said...

JS, we didn't see a lot of stars that night, but usually we do here. The night sky is one of New Mexico's richest resources. We seek to guard it from light pollution.

Your winter ethereal light sounds heavenly though.

Carol said...

I love the word "enchantment" and your post was an enchanting description of an enchanting night.

I was touched by a couple of your replies to your commenters - that Bennie's birthday felt like it was yours, also. Isn't it beautiful that when we celebrate with another, we get to not only share fun with them in that moment, but we are also truly celebrating LIFE of which we are a part?

Belated bday wishes to Bennie. He's a lucky man.

murat11 said...

San: Always loved y'all's old skool license plates: color, symbol, slogan/mantra, just one of the many things that makes y'all the southside heaven on earth: gotta give it up to western Montana for the northside.

Kim said...

Hmm...I wonder if I might spot a Spirit Chair when I visit the Land of Enchantment in October...

Sunshine said...

Belated Happy Birthday to Bennie.. You must have a great time thr San.. I never been to that place hpfully in future i would have chance to see.

sukipoet said...

the opera sounds magical. that moon sure is magical, and it has been here too. Love seeing the shot of the mountains.

Bennie said...

San, it was a magical night at the Opera. Thank you for such an excellent and surprising gift. The Soprano had me pinned against my seat and I can't even begin to tell you what the Coloratura did to me. It was fantastic.

But you forgot to blog about our tailgate dinner. We had salad, Tapenade, Brie, Jarlsberg, bagette, thin Italian breadsticks, a bottle of Pinot, and one melted Ritter Sport which we were afraid to open, least we become a chocolate mess. It was the perfect meal sitting on camping chairs and using our cooler as a table right behind the trunk! With those inspirational Sangre de Cristo mountains as the view. Those Opera tailgaters with the French checked tablecloths and fifty year old bottles of Bordeaux had nothing on us!

"The Letter" was so perfectly staged and performed. I loved the libretto, which was in English and allowed the singers to poetically deliver the words never and ever repeatedly in a languorous and rapturous style.

As we enjoyed the Opera I thought often of how much I love you. You are the love of my life and without you I would have to take a knife while leaning against the balustrade, raising one arm toward the heavens, and attempting my best impression of the great Pavarotti. It would be a fitting gesture if you were to walk up just before I twisted the blade into my chest and begged me to stop in the style of Beverly Sills! I'm not kidding.

Thank you to all of San's blog fans that wished me a happy birthday. I'm so glad you read San's so-well written and original blog. She deserves the support and I know she appreciates each and everyone of you.

And finally, I do believe every land can be and should be the Land of Enchantment. May the spirit of New Mexico, especially on these sweet summer evenings, reveal itself to your piece of country.


Bennie

lime said...

i have always thought that was one of the coolest state nicknames too. i only ever drove through NM in a hurry to get home from california but one day i'd very much like to get back and have a chance to explore.

katie jane said...

What a beautiful night it must have been. All the spirits, living and otherwise, were singing for Bennie's birthday.

I have never been to your area of the country but you make it seem simply wonderful.

San said...

Carol, yes, the older I get, these celebrations of others' special days do become a celebration of life itself! Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

San said...

Paschal, "The Southside Heaven on Earth"-- if they ever decide to change the nickname, that might work.

San said...

Kim, YAY--you're coming in October! I will alert the Spirit Chairs to make themselves visible.

San said...

Sunshine, thank you. I hope you will be able to make a trip here one of these days.

San said...

Suki, you live in a rather enchanting place too. Then again, wherever you live is bound to be so.

San said...

Bennie, I'm the one who's now pinned to my chair. By the beauty and love in your comment. Thank you for sharing the enchantment with me all of these years.

And I completely agree with you--every corner of the world can be/should be a Land of Enchantment. It's all in the attitude.

San said...

Michele, I believe your adventurous spirit would find much to explore here. I hope you visit soon.

San said...

Kate--"All the spirits, living and otherwise, were singing for Bennie's birthday." That is so beautiful. Thank you.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Oooo! THat's spooky! Coming from the chair! WOW!

I like sum operas. I went to wun larst yeer.

Hey, com an see my new video!!

:@}

Tammie Lee said...

Hello San,
Lovely to have you visit.
I would have been sad to have that license title vanish as well.
My oh my that is one lovely birthday celebration and the moon even celebrated his life! Fun.

John said...

San, your dramatic photo of the open air opera house put me in mind of the awnings the ancient Romans had somehow figured out how to hoist over the Coliseum. I don't know if that's a very healthy association on my part, but it's just what popped into my head.

San said...

Bob, somehow I figured you to be an opera fan. You've always appreciated the finer things.

On my way to see your video...

San said...

Tammie Lee, it seems that all good forces were meshing that evening--perfectly.

San said...

John, I believe in those things that just pop into the head. And I find the association makes sense.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you'll return.

Jameil said...

looks so cool! love the opera shot!

Deb said...

Impressive, magical photos, emchanting post. BUT the love one feels when reading many of the comments is equally enchanting and powerful. Wishing you and Bennie many more enchanted celebrations!

diane said...

It certainly looks and sounds enchanting.

Meg Wolff said...

San,
The Enchantress Herself, living in the Enchanted Land!

San said...

Jameil, cool's the word.

:-D

San said...

Oh, Deb, thank you for adding to the love. Bennie and I will have to sit down together and read everyone's words. Again.

San said...

Diane, thank you for stopping by. That means a lot to me.

San said...

Meg, you must be back from vacation. I hope it was great!

C.M. Jackson said...

just beautiful--hope to be back soon!

Sandi McBride said...

Happy Birthday pal! I always wanted a tag that read that, too...Mac always wanted one that said My other car is a boat...or gone fishing...I hope you got everything you wanted for your birthday!
hugs
Sandi

San said...

C.M., I hope you'll be able to return soon too.

San said...

Thanks, Sandi. You could have one that says, "My Other Car is a Keyboard, and It's a Land of Enchantment."

;)

The Moody Minstrel said...

Bringing life to the desert with music, eh? Wonderful!

That opera house is an amazing work in and of itself! I'd love to see it in action!

And the wind cried, "Aria!"

Anna said...

Hey San where is this place of enchantment, I need to be there, I am just having enough of the neighbors gazebo construction project that have been going on for 2 weeks now, lol. All the best for Bennie's birthday. Anna :)

San said...

Moody, you would truly be in your element in the opera house.

Wish you were here.

San said...

Anna, oh no! A deafening construction project. Let me ask the fairy godmother to whisk you away to the land of enchantment. Or at least equip you with earplugs.

:0

Lynette said...

Oooh, the opera house looks like a dream with those wondrous curtains and open sky. San it sounds like you and your husband had a beautiful and enchanting night, thanks for sharing it with us...and Happy Birthday to Bennie!

Thumbelina said...

Truly enchanting San! Sounds like (and looks like) you had a great night.
I'm having to admit defeat and quit blogging for a while at least. The last post is up. I'll still pop by and see you from time to time.

Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates

What a lovely opera house. I love the architecture. And the sky shot was perfect. They sky is so blue with the coming of evening!

Raven said...

Belated Happy Birthday to Bennie! Looks like it was an enchanted evening. Land of Enchantment is so much nicer than Empire State!

Philip said...

Looks fabulous!

San said...

Lynette, we appreciate the birthday wishes. I hope you can come and visit some time.

San said...

Thumbelina, your "last" post was beautiful. I include the quotes because I am counting on your return when the time feels right. Everyone needs a break from it all sometimes.

San said...

Indi, our evening skies can be breathtaking. You would be in your element.

San said...

Raven, Empire State has a nice ring at that. Thank you for the well-wishing!

San said...

Philip, it was!

Sunshine said...

stop by to see how you doing?

Angel... said...

What a amazing Birthday... Happy Belated Birthday to Bennie.. I hope Bannie had an amazing day..San, you are such a sweetheart and ofcourse lucky to have him in your life.

Anna said...

Hey San, are you still in the place of enchantment. Hope all is well otherwise. Anna :)

Regina Dwarkasing said...

Hi San,

Only a few days ago I discovered your beautiful blog and read about the license plates in New Mexico. What coincidence: we bought an RV in NM in March and started our trip throughout the USA in Albuquerque in June! So I had to check if the Land of Enchantment phrase was on our car, you will unnderstand that for sure... Your post even made me start a new digital collage, you can read it on my weblog today. Btw: I saw the Santa Fe opera house when we headed for the Buffalo Thunder Buffet on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks for the inspiration!
Regina