Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Friday, September 5, 2014

In Search Of Eternity

Hear the music of the prairie. Allow her songs born on distant horizons and echoed among rough-hewn cane cholla strewn across golden tablelands to reach into your heart and free your spirit.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Llano Shade Trees
(Cylindropuntia imbricata aka Cane Cholla on Llano Estacado)
Rockin' P Ranchlands
(Primordial Llano south of Broadview, New Mexico USA)
In Search Of Eternity
(State Highway 209 just south of Broadview, New Mexico USA)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sinfonía De Luz

Lend ear and heart travelers between eternities. Vast prairies and wide open spaces liberate the spirit. Their plainsong sways hearts to poetry and minds to introspection. Let your spirit soar. Take respite from daily travail with flights of awe and wonder unto boundless horizons afire in glorious sunsets. Surely, they are God’s silent symphonies of light. 

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Glimmer Of Hope
(Ravages of a three-year drought north of Clovis, New Mexico USA)

Sinfonía De Luz
(Llano Estacado rangelands north of Clovis, New Mexico USA)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ominous Benevolence

Hear angry cloud surrender liquid solace,
With familiar rhythms harass prairie straw,
Smell dusty plain covet needful onslaught
And embrace sacred waters coming home.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Ominous Benevolence
(Rangelands north of Clovis, New Mexico USA)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Light Catcher

Rooted in the human heart and soul is the yearning to leave footprints on the sands of time. Let my shadow be the footprint I leave upon our natural world.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Light Catcher
(Self-portrait Ilija Lukić)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Llano Morning

Waning Moon seeks quiet veils of night
Amid cloud pillows aloft straw seas,
Solo hawk soars into quietudes of light
Ere ball of fire sets ablaze cool breeze.

Rose-colored skies aspire to inspire,
Sunbeams lift pitch dark from cactus spine,
Hush reigns near yucca campaniles afire
Before larks burst into song all but divine.

Trails in mystical brume come to light, alas,
Sunbaked dust whispers of storied tribes,
Horse cultures that rove boundless grass
In steadfast quests of sacred bison herds.

God’s artful fires compel awe and wonder,
Restore hope dimmed by drudgery in life,
Breathe divine remedy into human blunder
And gift serenity to hearts ripped by strife. 

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Llano Estacado Morning
(east of Clovis, New Mexico)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Canary Yellow Dreams

A classic Chevy truck oozes with tales of yore etched across its heroic countenance by Llano Estacado winds, rain and sun. It stands vigil along Highway 209 near Grady, New Mexico.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Canary Yellow Dreams

Chevy Smile


Ghosts of pioneers still roam the High Plains of New Mexico and abandoned farm houses remain favored places of respite and mischief. Weathered and beaten by the harsh Llano Estacado climate they stand as testaments to the indomitable spirit of families which called it home.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Pioneer Spirit (monochrome)
(Near Broadview, New Mexico USA)

Pioneer Spirit


Friday, August 15, 2014

Spirit Animal

Bison bison aka American Buffalo--icon of the West and King of the Great Plains.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Spirit Animal


Great Plains Royalty

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Where The Hawk Flies

In its storied history the Llano Estacado has suffered the fleeting footprints of scattered native American tribes, mile-wide trails carved by migrating buffalo a million strong, treks by early Europeans longing for the Seven Cities of Gold, wagon wheels of white settlers and their plows, steers of cattle barons and most recently pervasive crop circles of modern agriculture. Yet, pockets of the primordial Llano tablelands endure.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Endless Sea Of Grass
(Llano Estacado north of Clovis, New Mexico USA)

Rough-Hewn Rangelands

Where The Hawk Flies

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Hummingbird

She pauses fancy-free midair,
Our hearts touch briefly,

Oh, exquisite single glance.

My soul takes cheerful wing
And gladly joins her flight,

Alas, I whisper, I am set free
By our brief heart-to-heart.

(written for Julie Francois after her amazing encounter with and photo of a hummer in flight)

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Time is a muddy stream
Without genesis or expiry,
Which on its meander
Into the source of eternity
Prevails upon our journeys
Across stormy seas of life
And clarifies our essence.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Heart Of The Universe

Saturday, July 26, 2014

High Plains Sunrise

Great things happen when nature and the human spirit meet. Hear the poetry of the prairie. She longs for your presence. Let her scented breath tussle your hair. Find wisdom within Silver Sage, wildflowers, snow-capped mountains and ethereal clouds suspended in azure skies. A heart away from nature suffers. Allow the whispers of lone yucca clinging to white sand dunes and energy of a high plains sunrise to reach into your heart and free your soul. Set your cares adrift on prairie winds.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Salida Del Sol
(Llano Estacado east of Clovis, New Mexico)

Running Room
(Mr Cooper pauses, relaxes and appears to savor the sunrise)

High Plains Sunrise
(flirtatious beams of sunlight caress golden campaniles of yucca)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fort Stanton Sojourn

Once Cooper jumps aboard our motorized prairie schooner, we head southwest across the Llano Estacado tablelands of New Mexico. En route we encounter azure skies and relatively benign summer temperatures. Ceaseless prairie winds conspire with early morning sunlight and give life to silver islands of cottontop grasses adrift in verdant seas of grass. An abundance of wildflowers thrives in the wake of recent monsoonal rains. Late blooms of yucca and prairie zinnia highlight the revival.

Near Roswell we leave the rolling plain and descend towards the Rio Pecos. Muddy floodwaters of the rain swollen river churn below our bridge passage, which leads towards the bustling town.

After a brief interlude for food and drink we strike out westward. The 10,000-foot peaks of the volcanic Capitan Mountain Range and 11,981-foot Sierra Blanca peak define the western horizon. Their ethereal contours shepherd us into the apple and pear orchards of the Rio Hondo valley. We savor the atmosphere of horses and cattle grazing peacefully in lush, tree-lined meadows. 

In the blink of an eye we breeze through the quiet village of Picacho. Just down the road in Hondo near the confluence of the noisy Rio Ruidoso and pretty Rio Bonito we turn northwest along the latter. Lofty panoramas of the Capitan Range usher us into the sleepy mountain community of Lincoln. The serenity of tourists meandering down streets, browsing at small local shops and pausing reverently at La Iglesia de San Juan Bautista mission belies the bloodletting of a turbulent past.  A stone and adobe fortified tower, the Torreón, continues to bear silent witness to history. Etched upon its rough-hewn exterior are stories of the Lincoln County War over control of the dry goods trade, Billy the Kid’s murderous escape from the courthouse jail and warfare with Mescalero Apaches.

With Lincoln in the rear view mirror the Rio Bonito valley serves as corridor through the Capitan foothills into Fort Stanton. At the fort we discover a multitude of historical re-enactors who create a convincing glimpse into American frontier life. These aficionados of history dressed in period garb bring to life the military garrison, white settlers and Mescalero Apaches of a remote time.

We spend a delightful afternoon connecting with actors and visitors. While I chase images of the old west and post facilities with my camera, Melanie relives childhood days with a successful turn on stilts. Onlookers marvel at her skills. Nearby joyous laughter of kids echoes across the parade field. They roll wooden hoops with sticks in the age old game of hoop trundling. On the front porch of the senior officers’ quarters a group of women socializes and spins wool into yarn. And, just beyond the soldiers’ encampment a traveling theater troupe entertains an engaged audience. Troopers on horseback and afoot mingle with the crowd and relate stories of exploits. Near the enlisted barracks a cattleman relaxes at his chuck wagon and chews the fat with cookie. Their arduous cattle drives replenish meat stores at the fort. Near a stand of tall pines a contingent of Mescalero Apache dancers perform and invite onlookers to join in social dances. Cooper is a little anxious of the hustle and bustle, but manages numerous friendly hellos and kisses.

The sights and sounds on the fort grounds reach into our hearts and minds. Days of yore take shape and affect our essence. Whispers of ancestors borne on mountain winds awaken age-old memories written upon our hearts and brighten awareness of what binds us to one another.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

(Fortified stone and adobe defensive tower, Lincoln NM)

La Iglesia De San Juan Bautista
(1887 Catholic sanctuary in Lincoln NM)

Local Color
(Display at store front in Lincoln NM)

Flag Bearer
(Cavalry standard bearer at Fort Stanton NM)

Infantry Sergeant

Shady Respite
(Side yard of Catholic Chapel at Fort Stanton NM)

Senior Officers' Quarters
(Fort Stanton NM)

(The art of spinning wool into yarn at Fort Stanton NM)

Trooper Encampment
(Fort Stanton NM)

Mescalero Warrior
(Fort Stanton NM)

Kickin' Back
(Fort Stanton NM)

Fun On Stilts
(Fort Stanton NM)

Field Kitchen
(John Deere chuck wagon at Fort Stanton)

Old West Style
(Cowboy at Fort Stanton NM)

Junior Officers' Quarters
(Fort Stanton NM)

Knock And The Door Will Be Opened
(Catholic Chapel at Fort Stanton)

Corporal Dandy
(Corporal wears Hardee Hat Eagle on Shako Cap)

Reach Pardner

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sky Lakes

Another night of monsoonal rains with heavy complement of lightning and thunder blew across the high plains of New Mexico last night. Early morning light finds Cooper and me slogging down soggy trails and muddy ranch roads. While Cooper chases scent trails, I pause often to marvel at the sky lakes and poetry rain water scribed into red dirt passages across the tablelands. After years of drought recent rain patterns leave our neck of the Llano Estacado quenched. The arid lands thrive once more.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Sky Lake
(Cooper on Llano Estacado after overnight rains)

Running Water Road

My Cup Runneth Over
(Cylindropuntia imbricata aka Cane Cholla)


Monday, June 9, 2014

Circle Of Life

On the heels of fierce winds, damaging hail stones and flash floods high plains dwellers breathe a sigh of relief. Storm chasers and weather prognosticators relegate the events to almanacs. I take time for a short excursion north of Clovis, New Mexico to survey the aftermath of recent supercell thunderstorms.

Most striking is the vast expanse of lush greenery where just days ago withered straw stretched unto far-flung mesas and boundless horizons. Countless puddles, ephemeral pools and playa lakes capture slices of azure skies. They shimmer like turquoise jewels against the damp, terra cotta skin of Mother Earth. All manner of creatures afoot, soaring and slithering join in the joyous dance of life. Wildflowers regale the hoopla with stunning visual poetry.

I pause at the Running Water Draw and marvel at the churning, red torrent rushing down the normally dry watercourse. The draw is a watershed that spans the borderlands of Texas and New Mexico. For more than a hundred miles it serpentines and carves its way across the high plains of the Llano Estacado. At the eastern reaches of the plateau, the raging waters cut a canyon into the escarpment and descend onto the rolling plains ecoregion of Texas. Albeit dry for most of the year, the Blanco River is born. The latter is the headwater to the Salt Fork tributary of the Brazos River. Named Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers, the Brazos meanders south through Texas for more than a thousand miles until its waters mingle with the Gulf of Mexico south of Houston.

A rough-hewn rancher on horseback tending to cattle scattered across the banks of the draw grabs my attention. My mind eases into a sojourn on the circle of life. I dwell on a single rain drop within the soaking rains this plainsman implored of God to ease the ravages of drought. I visualize wind-borne swelter from the Gulf seeded by stardust formed the pleasing symmetry within each drop. Each drop is unique. Each drop is an answer to his prayers. Yet, each longs to endure the arduous journey to its home in the sea.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Endless Horizon
(Llano Estacado grazing lands north of Clovis, New Mexico)

Playa Lake
(Llano Estacado west of Clovis, New Mexico)

Llano Water Hole
(Llano Estacado east of Clovis, New Mexico)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sodden Trails

After a fortnight of recurrent rains borne on tumultuous monoliths of ethereal bluster, Cooper and I revel in the prospect of sodden trails and resurgence of shortgrass prairie life. We meander towards the trail head. Overcast skies and fifty-degree temperatures liven our pace. En route we find that previously waterless clay pans scattered across the Llano tablelands are again opulent playa lakes. They teem with ephemeral activity. We forgo the slippery red ooze which paves ranch roads in favor of game trails. They wind across emerald blankets of grass. They slice through countless wildflowers intent on displacing withered prairie straw. Now and then elusive rabbits break cover and entice Cooper to lively foot races. He obliges without restraint. I pause to appreciate the aroma of damp soil and sage on the cool morning breeze. My heart enjoys the dance.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Sodden Trail
(Llano Estacado east of Clovis, New Mexico USA)

Purple Majesty
(Monarda punctata aka Spotted Beebalm)

Spokes Of Fire
(Gaillardia pulchella aka Indian Blanket Flower)

First Cholla Rose
(Cylindropuntia imbricata aka Cane Cholla)

Up Close And Personal
(Glochids on Cane Cholla fruit)