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The Road to Magdalena

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I can't think of another place on the planet that has the pull on my heart that Magdalena, New Mexico does. It's the perfect storm of landform, wildlife, vastness, beauty and memory, and it takes me apart. Saturday afternoon was to be the only time we'd have to sneak off from the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR to visit our sacred spot. This time, we took not only the kids but a few friends: Paul Baicich, Wayne Peterson, and Marilyn and Mary, who we met at the festival. It was different, but lots of fun to take other people along and share this magical place with them. Please note that I am showing a modicum of style, including full-length trousers.Since we'd been fieldtripping all morning, we'd need something to eat other than Clementines and Corn-nuts, a snack which I'm quite sure will cost me thousands in dental repair someday. We made our way straight to Magdalena, passing a sentinel cow along the way.
I wouldn't say that Evett's is going to make a Zagat rating any time soon, but we weren't picky, and, it being Saturday, we missed the Magdalena Cafe by 20 minutes. I hear it has a killer pecan pie. I love Evett's for the old bank it's in, its atmosphere and funky signage, as well as the clientele. Here's ornithologist and conservationist Wayne Peterson with a Baxter Black lookalike. These cowboys had some serious cookie dusters, the Yosemite Sam look. Check out the patina on that hat!
Paul Baicich is probably the nation's greatest proponent of the Federal Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, more popularly known as the Duck Stamp. If every nature lover and bird watcher would just buy a $15 Duck Stamp every year, what wonders in habitat acquisition could be accomplished! Here, Paul tries to get a sanitary stamp for his collection. I love those relics from the 40's and 50's, when everything was touted as "sanitary" or "hygeinic." Bill and I did a bit of prosyletizing on the Duck Stamp's behalf, displaying ours prominently on our binoculars, and talking it up to other birdwatchers. An alarming number of them were completely unaware that people other than duck hunters could (or should) buy Duck Stamps, and what the $16 cost goes to (habitat acquisition). A Duck Stamp will get you in free to any national wildlife refuge in the country, and ours paid for themselves in one weekend. Paste one on your binoculars for the ultimate in cool birdwatcher bling. Then, all you have to do is wear your binocs to get into any national wildlife refuge, free of charge. You'd be wearing them anyway, right?

While we fooled around and waited for our tacos, Bill, Mary, the kids and I walked up the street to this shop. I had a fever for some turquoise, and we thought it would be fitting and cool if we could find some in Magdalena. The little Trading Post called to me, and I answered.
We found a necklace that will be just the thing to top off my Coldwater Creek outfit for my show opening in Pennsylvania the weekend of Nov. 29, and it was about half what it would have cost in Taos (but then, what isn't?) Sweet William bought it for me, and he got some hand-beaded earrings for Phoebe, too. Liam was satisfied with a stretchy snake from the gum machine. Little boys rock, and they're cheap to maintain, too.
A curious kitty watched us from a nearby porch. She'd have to wait to see my turquoise necklace, and you will, too. There are just too many images for one post. More Magdalena tomorrow!


Huh! I have a duck stamp (in case I ever decide that I can bring home my own dinner) and I had not idea it gets me into any NWR for free. Awesome. I was happy enough just knowing that the fee was going to good use and to see all the different related artwork each year.

Great to 'travel' with you as usual. I love the group photo at your sacred spot. You and BOTB have remarkably similar posture...does that come with years of marriage? Somewhere before matching Hawaiian shirts, I think?

Julie! I was just Googling for photos of Magdalena, NM in honor of a tasty chili dog and a chocolate malt served in an old-fashioned footed soda fountain glass that we had for lunch one day at Evett's in, oh, lord, mid 1990s? And there was one - taken by you! I'm putting together a little PowerPoint to accompany an audio version of an essay I have coming out soon, for my mom - her macular degeneration makes it easier for her to listen to audio and look at images than read print. May I "borrow" your photo? Sadly, Evett's is no more, and Magdalena is being touted as a "ghost town" trying to reinvent itself as an arts center. We had a delightful day there all those years ago - we came out of Evett's to see a lone horseman clop-clopping down the street on a scruffy palomino, and vanish around the corner. I half-expected Rod Serling to step out from behind the train station. How lovely we share a memory!

@Julie Stielstra, Sure, go ahead. I wouldn't be able to find the larger version--too long ago. Thanks for the blast from the past. Sigh.

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