Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hidden Beauty

Early afternoon sun beats down on the familiar winding, narrow streets and warm, adobe buildings of Santa Fe. At every turn a graceful archway, turquoise window frame, or rough-hewn vigas (roof beams that extend beyond the outer edge of buildings) draw my eye. An outdoor market that occupies one street corner overflows with decorative strings and wreaths of chilies, imported kilim rugs, hand-painted ceramic tiles, and heat-infused gourmet foods.

I wander into a crowded store and discover it is the basement of another I have visited during each of five previous trips to the City Different. An indoor ‘mall’ set inside an antique, multi-level adobe structure seems smaller and less attractive than before. I commit street names and junctures to memory, in preparation for future trips.

A series of balconies that surround a quiet courtyard beckon my camera. While standing on one of the tiny overlooks I scan for the perfect shot, but no angle or view seems quite right. Dejected, I prepare to put the camera away. Suddenly the perfect silhouette appears immediately before me – and that single image perfectly summarizes everything I love about this magical city.