Thirty minutes after I hopped into the front seat of my friend’s SUV at the Albuquerque airport yesterday, three car seats and boosters across the middle row, and nosed out into the sunshine, windows down, excitedly catching up, I was in love with this city.


Maybe it’s the Sandia Mountains, ever present, turning even the most mundane parking lots into tourist-worthy vistas.  Or the high of seeing a bosom friend for the first time in five years.  The blue skies, stretching forever over open expanses of nothingness.  Or flat streets, with quaint stop lights, lined by Pueblo style architecture – a subtle pallette of browns and golds.


It could be the casual laid back, anything goes, style my friend describes as “Out here, it’s nothing to pull up beside a $3,500 Subaru with a $15k bike on top. Anything goes.”  A style that seems to fit the dozen or so open, non-judgmental, and easy-going folks I’ve already met.


Or maybe it’s just different.  And different is enough for someone who’s spent 27 months soaking up motherhood and allowing herself to socially and geographically implode.  Who can’t believe there isn’t a single diaper, wipe, pacifier, or extra set of baby pajamas on her person…or that none of the car seats in the middle row are mine.


But I can’t get enough.  My friend and I met up with a couple of other preschool moms to walk around the Albuquerque Zoo today while I partially ignored the animals to photograph walls of dirt and sticks.  And an Albuquerque native shook her head in wonder and said, “See, I would have never thought to take a picture of that.”


We sat on the grass on blankets on the green and I found myself repeatedly drifting away from the conversation to take in the bare Cottonwood trees.  Not that we don’t have strikingly beautiful (and still bare) trees in Atlanta right now, they’re just, well, different.


But maybe it’s just. that. beautiful out here.  Everywhere I look, I want to point my lens.  Capture that which has captured me.


We’ll experience more when we take a cable car to the top of a mountain later this week and hike along an even higher elevation than this one down here in the valley, an elevation so markedly different that it has caught these Georgia lungs off guard.


I can’t wait.  I’m all in.  Even if it leaves me breathless in every sense of the word, in awe of The One who made it all.


This is love.  And I haven’t even caught a sunset yet.


Vegas, I’m totally cheating on you!