Had the great good fortune to be able to help a friend drive from California to Santa Fe. Found the whole trip through low and high desert terribly moving. It was only as I was leaving it on the last morning, that I realized this is where nature reclaimed me. I was twenty-eight years old when I first came to this land of juniper, pinyon and bare rock. I was ignorant of the natural world, numb to its gifts both seen and unseen. The high country opened me as cleanly as a surgeon with a scalpel. It flensed and cleansed my soul. Slowly, day by blue sky day, the desert filled my hollowed core with spirit, mystery and wonder.
At the Georgia O’Keefe museum, I stood in front of “The Chestnut Grey” and cried. O’Keeffe, too, came to the desert a spiritual neophyte, and she was filled. Through her art she was able to communicate the sacred bond we all have with the land yet too often fail to realize. I have been fortunate to see many of her original works, and they are powerfully moving – not so much in what they portray but in the reverence that occupies her canvases, in how she was able to perceive the ordinary, feel the sacred beauty at its core, and filter that essence from eye to soul to canvas. That is the ineffable magic of all art. It is the sacred gift of all life. I cried that I was alive at this moment on earth, alive, and awake enough to see and share the essence of the sacred.