Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ghost ranch

Today, to Ghost Ranch and to Georgia O'Keeffe's house in Abiquiu - a wonderful treat to have private visits to these places (O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch house isn't currently open to the public), and a huge privilege of my current Fellowship.  At first, we had key problems getting into Ghost Ranch - this is the view through the tall coyote fence outside, and on the horizon is the Pedernal - the Cerro Pedernal, or (how could I not warm to this) Flint Hill.  This was the mountain O'Keeffe painted - you can see it from her courtyard - and her ashes are scattered on top.

One can't, of course, take photographs on either of the properties.  But one can turn in the other direction, and see the rocks that she painted - not too subtle in the nearly mid-day sun, and I'd love to see them in dawn or sunset.  One can, though, see the stripes of color - and also - not so apparent in these images - how depth is curiously flattened.  Seeing her house in the landscapes, however; seeing the views from her studios and adjacent bedrooms; seeing the bleached wood and stones and (of course) skulls that she collected; seeing her flourishing lettuce and corn and chile and marigold garden; seeing how she could make sparse designer-style furniture out of plywood and bookcases out of orange crates - above all, seeing how the changing light must have been a continuous part of her life - all of this made me come away with a hugely deepened appreciation.

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