Recently—although it now seems impossibly remote—I was lounging on the back of a boat in the Pacific. A friend from New Mexico, now a boat captain in Hawaii, leaned over and said in a low, rapt voice, “I think they’re going to let us do a blue-water swim.”
I’ve spent many years of my life in coastal places, but I’m sure I looked back at her with utter confusion.
“The water is so clear—there’s no pollution, no algae, nothing—that it’s perfectly blue,” she explained. “You can open your eyes underwater, and it doesn’t hurt at all.”
Sure enough, the captain, a friend of hers, stopped the boat. We were out in the middle of the ocean, bobbing in a way that made our high-powered craft seem tiny. My friend and I dove in before he could finish explaining (to the paying customers) what a blue-water swim was. I just wanted to see that ocean: pure, perfect blue, just as my friend had described it. I dove—eyes open—as deep as I could into the seemingly endless abyss of color. It was silent and magical.
Back on the boat, zooming toward Maui and, eventually, home, I tried to imagine how I would explain what I’d just experienced. “Blue” doesn’t touch the color of that water, and “magical” is a poor approximation of the feeling it evokes.
As it turns out, I needed a situation, not a set of words. On the way to work one morning, I looked up, and there it was: that same perfect blue, beckoning with ethereal endlessness from the big New Mexico sky.
It’s easy to call Santa Fe what it sometimes is—a small town, a tourist trap, a hodgepodge of fake adobe and low graduation rates and dubious views on the harmful effects of normal things like cell phones. But it’s also stunningly beautiful. In these pages, you’ll find lots of suggestions for enjoying your summer in Santa Fe. And if you do nothing else, stop for a few minutes to gaze up at that magnificent blue sky.