On my bookshelf I have a small softbound volume called New Mexico Handbook, written in 1989 by Stephen Metzger. While it's a fairly useful reference book, I've kept it for a single quirky paragraph that straddles pages 222 and 223, about the drive from Lovington to Portales.
"Imagine a gorgeous waterfall plummeting 500 feet off a mountain cliff into a pool of clear water," Metzger writes. "Imagine lush vegetation, cool breezes, and balmy evenings. Now keep that image in mind as you drive across this barren stretch of desert because out here, you won't see anything like that."
A lot of first-time visitors and newcomers to our area probably share Metzger's impression of the High Plains.
I do not.
On his creative drive up New Mexico 206, Metzger missed the amazing variety of vegetation produced in this sometimes barren climate.
He overlooked an impressive array of wildlife (visitors to our annual prairie chicken festival regularly spy a hundred species of birds in a single weekend).
He missed the soft breath of prairie sunrises, the majestic art of desert sunsets, the heavenly cloud of the Milky Way on a summer night.
We have no shortage of natural wonders in eastern New Mexico, Mr. Metzger. Slow down. Step outside. Look.