As the crow flies, my dear friend Ayo is 586 miles away from my home city. My other friend, Maggie, is more than triple that at 1,633 miles away. But thanks to our group text, named ‘Better Than You’ after an inside joke, we can cross that distance in milliseconds. It’s no modern marvel — we all are well acquainted with technology’s ability to connect us across the country. I like comparing it to something more fantastic though; like Madeleine L’Engle’s “Wrinkle in Time”, it’s as if we have pulled the ribbon of time and space together, and sent a telepathic thought across the void to the minds of two friends at once. But I digress.
Texting across the nation is commonplace, but seeing one another’s faces in person is a rarity. This is why, in April, the three of us decided to take a road trip together through New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.
It feels unfair to keep the secret splendor of New Mexico to myself, so I will tell you now, it’s one of the most unique, strange, mysterious, and beautiful states I have ever visited. It’s bloody ‘US’ history goes further back even than New England, thanks to the Spanish Conquistadors that invaded the area (we all know history precedes colonization, but bear with me). In more recent years, history took a turn for the weird, with alien crash sites, towns named after game shows, and in most recent years, the addition of the famed art experience, “MeowWolf.”
The Land of Enchantment was the backdrop for our escapades in friendship. Text messages are great, but how about when your friends willingly follow you into a lukewarm hot spring off the Rio Grande with a muddy bottom and weird pond scum creatures skittering about? DMs on Instagram are fine, but how about walking through MeowWolf’s psychedelic maze backwards in the middle of the night, playing music for each other on the neon pink ribs of a fake dinosaur skeleton? Facebook Messenger is alright, but how about sledding down the dunes at White Sands, your dear friend’s figure serving as the sole mark on the expanse of pale ancient grains. Email is cool, but how about speculating on the shape of the clouds together, zooming down the interstate, while one person recaps the entire plot of a Gossip Girl?