I fell in love with the landscape of Bandelier on that first visit. The afternoon of my arrival I hiked out of Frijoles Canyon and roamed the mesa top until I reached the breath of a canyon called Alamo. I sat under a large pinon tree, along the edge of the canyon, devouring pine seeds. It was a banner year for pinon seed production. I got my fill. Someday I will return, I mused, my eyes bathed in a palette of sienna, pink, ochre, buckskin, green and blue shading the canyon, sky, mesa and mountains.
Weather graphs illustrate the hottest and driest summers on record and winters lacking significant snowfall. Pinon and ponderosa pines fail without moisture. Native bark and twig beetles thrive on the weakened trees eating away what little life is left. Only pinon skeletons remain, leaving juniper to shoulder the burden of green in a land of terra cotta cliffs.
closeup of the vortex: