A Santa Fe Education

There’s no reason that Ansel Head should like Santa Fe. He grew up in Alabama with its hot, humid weather; green was everywhere. By the time he came along, Kudzu had already covered any barren land; and it was well on its way to capturing everything else.

Despite her similar Alabama upbringing, Head’s mother liked Santa Fe the first time she went out for a Garden Club do. Her inherited bank stocks were doing very well; so she bought an apartment and then a house in a gated community on the southern edge of town.

Thereafter, she would abandon Alabama in early June, just before the heat index broke 100, and would stay in Northern New Mexico until the middle of September.

Santa Fe thus became the family’s summer gathering place.

Lacking the questioning mind of an Ivy Leaguer, Head had always presumed he would be happy sweating his life away in his familiar Southern surroundings. But his required attendance at the family events eventually forced the least intellectual boy in the family to see what was plain to everyone else. Santa Fe and its surroundings are amazing!

When that fog finally lifted, Head saw education everywhere, education that even he could absorb and appreciate. There is the weather: Cool and dry. There is the scenery: Endless vistas, arid arroyos, deep gorges, flat mesas, steep mountains, dense forests, desert cactus, and the changing view every 20 miles. There is the history: The Anastasi in their caves, the Indian tribes, the Spanish Conquistadores, the Mexican traders, the Santa Fe trail, the Manhattan Project, and the artist colonies. There is the art: High opera, sculptures, Canyon Road paintings, museums, and folk art that surpasses all of the others with its rich colors and rustic gesture. And there are the people: Pueblo Indians, old hippies, organic farmers, artists, musicians, tourists, straights, gays, rich Texans, movie stars, cowboys, wannabe cowboys, motorcycle riders, Americans of Mexican heritage, the very young, the very old, and everything in between.

If only Head had been endowed with an intellectual mind, he could have absorbed some of what there was to see and learn.

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