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|Land of Shimmering Light
|Route 66, Turquoise Trail & Beyond
|Route 66 was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. Making its way
through eight states, it served as a major path for those migrating west during the 1930's
Dust Bowl. It became a fixture in popular culture with the help of a song and a TV series of
the same name in the 1960's. It began a slow decline after the Interstate system arrived, but
has since experienced a strong revival. Many preservation groups have saved iconic motels,
shops and neon signs along the road. Missouri was the first to declare the highway a "State
Historic Route," and now historic markers line the entire 2,400-mile length of road. In 1999,
President Clinton signed a National Route 66 Preservation Bill which has been crucial in
preserving and restoring historic features along the route. Pixar's 2006 popular animated
movie "Cars" generated a resurgence of public interest in Route 66. Various sections
of the famous road have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
|The Turquoise Trail is a National Scenic Byway in New Mexico, connecting
Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Believed to be an ancient path, it travels through
spectacular scenery and fantastic geological formations. It was named
for the rich turquoise deposits found throughout the area.
|When I started this page, the subject was Route 66, but, as I've often said, Friday's
Journals sometimes travel their own path and I just follow along. It drifted from Route 66
to New Mexico's Turquoise Trail and on into other parts of that state. Some of the photos
are from the two famous roads, some are from other places, but, they're all from New
Mexico. The state's nickname is "Land of Enchantment," but artist Mary Ourso calls it
the "Land of Shimmering Light," and claims it has a quality of always-changing light that's
different from any other place in the world. I don't know if that's so, but I know that New
Mexico has drawn painters and photographers to its light and landscape for a long
time. When you spend awhile looking at pictures of the state, it's easy to see why.
|How often at night, when the heavens are bright
With the light of the glittering stars,
Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed,
If their glory exceeds that of ours.
-- Dr. Brewster M. Higley, "My Western Home"
|I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
- Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
-- John Gillespie Magee, Jr.