Not long after we crossed the state line from Texas into New Mexico, I discovered that New Mexico's state motto is really, really true. It totally IS the "Land of Enchantment". I wish I could find words to describe how beautiful it was, but I can't. And neither could I snap a picture that would adequately illustrate it. I was literally speechless as we drove, and I couldn't take in the landscape fast enough.
Much like Texas, the land is flat and expansive. But the further west you go, the more "southwestern" the scenery becomes. That's the best way I can think to describe it, especially as someone who'd never experienced the western part of the country before. Hills became mesas, the flat table-top rocks that burst with reds and browns. Grass pastures became desert-like, with green shrubs scattered throughout vast fields of brown. Below are just a few of the many, many pictures I took as we drove through the "Land of Enchantment", though none come close to actually showing how stunningly beautiful the state is.
We stopped for lunch in Moriarty, New Mexico, and I snapped the following two pictures of a Route 66 sign an old Route 66 business that long ago closed up shop.
On the return trip, we spent the night in Gallup, New Mexico. We headed out the next morning at 5:00 a.m. Mountain Time, and somewhere between Gallup and Albequerque the sun came up, creeping up over the mesas that lined the sides of the interstate.
One of the things I love about reading and writing fiction with romantic elements is the way that the hero and heroine discover new things about each other... how they come to see the ordinary as beautiful and captivating. I like to think that the wonder I felt as I fell in love with New Mexico, mimicked a little bit of what we writers put into our characters as they fall in love with each other. As each new landscape came into view, as the beauty of the sunrise stole my breath, perhaps I revisited the wonder and excitement of falling in love. And hopefully that wonder will find its way to my characters.
Inspiration... it's everywhere. And I found a whole heck of a lot in New Mexico.
Happy reading and writing!