Leaving Santa Fe Community College,
I wind northwest on Rancho Viejo road before coming to the intersection with NM 14.
Here, I see Jemez Mountains in the far distance, with the smaller hills that the Rio Grande cuts through nearer.
The Jemez is the rim of giant caldera, the crater of a collapsed volcano that blew about 2 million years ago. The explosive eruption created cliffs of welded tuff near Los Alamos that are hundreds of feet thick, and the pyroclastics are found in outwash as far away as Kansas.
Still on the Santa Fe side of the Ortiz, I drive through the town of Madrid, and then past the old mining slag heaps from the anthracite coal mines that used to operate in the area. Just past this old mine tailings dump, the road begins to climb towards the Ortiz Mountains.
Here I am looking back at the heart of the Ortiz from the downhill run to Golden.
It looks so completely different in the afternoon than the morning view. Here, purple shales are accented by cloud shadows and outlined with the green of Pinyon-Juniper woodland.
Here I am looking at the hills amongst which our home is nestled on the far horizon,
What a blessing it is to live in such a beautiful place and have such an unhurried, restful drive home from work.
I am hard-pressed to call it a commute. It feels like a leisurely afternoon drive.