87 – El Malpais

During the drive from Flagstaff to Santa Fe I stopped at El Malpais National Monument for a couple hours to explore La Ventana Arch.

Easy to get to, La Ventana is located along highway 117, about a beautiful, 20 minute drive south off Interstate 40. There is much more to see within the 114,000 acre monument and 263,000 acre conservation area, but as I had limited time, not wanting to arrive at my friend’s house in Santa Fe too late, I decided to just stick to the area around the arch where I could explore in as much detail as I liked.

La Ventana is the largest accessible natural arch in New Mexico, though I suppose it pales in comparison to many of those found in Utah. Nonetheless, it is still a stunning geologic formation in an awe-inspiring landscape.

El Malpais
La Ventana Arch
A wall like a man
Reclined, embalmed, entombed
Like a mummy
Like a Buddha lying down
Replete in wisdom
Watching the world
Having watched the world
Having never lived and so never to die
Sees the life of Oasisamericans,
The invasion of the Spanish,
The death of the natives,
The force of belief in Manifest Destiny
What atrocities has this lord not seen?
What beauty has this lord not witnessed?
Judging not
Silently observing


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