Mary Senter

archival photographic print
11 x 14 in.
$100 (unframed)

archival photographic print
14 x 11 in.
$100 (unframed)

When I moved away from New Mexico more than twenty years ago, the sense of loss was so profound that it hurt to think about it.

My favorite stretch of HWY 3, near Villanueva and the Pecos River is unspeakably beautiful but embodies loss: Loss of Indigenous tradition by conquistadors and missionaries; loss of life to European diseases; loss of country as it changed hands from the Pueblo peoples, to Spain, to Mexico, and then the United States; loss of livelihood due to shifting economic conditions; loss of family as young people moved away and old people died off; loss of culture as new populations moved in and then moved on. Echoes of this loss remain in the ruins that populate the region.

These decrepit, empty vessels of a former thriving life mirror what my soul became in the years since I left New Mexico. This vacancy was filled when I finally went back and drove down that enchanted highway, the red dust billowing in my wake, the wind in my hair, the sun on my arm, and a song in my heart. I thought of all of those people who loved this place with me and lost it, too.

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© Mary Senter