Georgia O’Keeffe & Ghost Ranch
What an Adventure!
It’s no wonder Georgia O’Keeffe came to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico for over 50 years to paint, eventually making it her permanent residence. I was so inspired by the awe-inspiring topography, on a whim I submitted an article to Trailer Life about the timeless enchantment that reigns in New Mexico’s 150 to 200-million-year-old cliffs and canyons. (Look for the article in Trailer Life this November, 2017.)
(PHOTO COURTESY OF GHOST RANCH)
New Mexico feels ancient. It feels like a place out of time, as if New Mexico was present when time was created. For hours, I sat in a rocking chair on a perfectly positioned terrace at Ghost Ranch, talking with Daniel, a Native American, whose grandmother was a healer in his tribe. If you’ve ever been to Ghost Ranch, then you know the exact terrace of which I’m speaking — you can’t mistake it. There I rocked, staring off into the distance at the mountain ahead, talking with Daniel about how old New Mexico feels. The closest feeling I’d had before was traveling through Savannah; it feels like people of the past are walking around in the present — you can easily imagine Civil War soldiers and ghosts at every turn. New Mexico is close in it’s unique vibe, but it’s different than Savannah. New Mexico feels ancient, as if the land still resides in the time of its birth, millions of years ago.
We rock, much of the time in silence. It’s the same view that besotted O’Keeffe for half a century. She was enamored by the mountain; it held her heart. In Georgia O’Keeffe a Life in Art, she mentions in the film that God told her that if she painted the mountain enough times that he’d give it to her. I imagine that if someone artistically meditates a lifetime on thing of such serene beauty, the subject can’t help but somehow become a part of the artist.
(above: the mountain God gave O’Keeffe)
God definitely gave her gifts—her paintings, life and residence. When visiting Ghost Ranch in person, it’s easy to see why O’Keeffe was captivated. With it’s mythological, checkered history, transforming from Ranch of the Witches, a hide out for cattle rustlers, a dude ranch, location for films such as City Slickers and dinosaur stomping grounds, one has only to sit rocking on the terrace at Ghost Ranch to know that we are only a small part of something bigger than ourselves.