Wondering where the lions are.

On the 20th of February, I traveled (via four airports, three planes, two airlines, and one bad ankle) to Albuquerque, NM to visit with my aunt after whom I am named. She has lived there for over 40 years and I had, until this trip, never been in the state, let alone her home there, despite years of wishing and promising otherwise. It was well past time for me to make this trip!


And what a trip! The air is thinner there — the altitude being what it is — and drier, and the sun shines a little longer and more frequently than it does around here. We spent the first day close to home while my head adjusted to the change — not too painful, but painful enough for me to worry over whether I had packed enough Tylenol.

We managed to see the film Bless Me, Ultima that day. If it comes to your neighborhood, see it! And I sampled some of the local cuisine. Green chiles, red chiles, Christmas chiles, and sopapillas and posole. Yum!


The second full day we went to Santa Fe (mostly because I wanted to visit the Georgia O’Keefe museum) via a stop at Madrid — a former coal-mining town and then ghost town with little-to-no water of its own — where we poked around a bit and had a delicious late lunch at the No Pity Cafe.


The third day, Bandelier National Monument via Jemez Springs and a stunningly beautiful drive through the Jemez Caldera.


I could not keep myself from humming Bruce Cockburn quietly in the Frijoles Canyon.

Sun’s up, uh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren’t half as frightening as they were before
But I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Walls windows trees, waves coming through
You be in me and I’ll be in you
Together in eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Up among the firs where it smells so sweet
Or down in the valley where the river used to be
I got my mind on eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I’m wondering where the lions are…
I’m wondering where the lions are…

Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake …

… Thousand-year-old petroglyphs doing a double take
Pointing a finger at eternity
I’m sitting in the middle of this ecstasy

Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun,
Polished and precise like the brain behind the gun
(Should be!) they got me thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I’m wondering where the lions are…
I’m wondering where the lions are…

Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
One of these days we’re going to sail away,
going to sail into eternity
some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I’m wondering where the lions are…
I’m wondering where the lions are…


We spent my last full day wandering around Albuquerque’s Old Town and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Then I flew home on the 25th.

Too short, just right, and more than enough all at once.

For the record, I am aware that Bruce Cockburn was probably inspired by Vancouver Island, BC, Canada when he wrote Wondering Where the Lions Are. Also, I saw petroglyphs, and there are two in the third photo from the end of this post — click to embiggen. Oh, and I saw a coyote, a mule deer, and a pair of sandhill cranes, too. But no lions. More’s the pity.

About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. I recently graduated from a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am an aspirant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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5 Responses to Wondering where the lions are.

  1. I’ve never been to NM–(and i doubt I will get there) but North America is beautiful–Every were I have traveled, I have been awed. Your photos make me wish i could take off tomorrow and go.

  2. Fiona says:

    What a wonderful entry! Gorgeous photos, and I love the quoted words (completely unknown to me).

  3. D'Alta says:

    I love New Mexico…the high desert and the low, the wide open spaces where one can reach out and touch tomorrow, the food–red, green, Christmas, and the yarns… Working with some of the latter on a scarf growing into a shawl… Land of Enchantment, you have stolen my <3

  4. Pingback: New Mexico, and other knitting | Every Fibre of My Being

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