First morning of summer, hiking the Guittierz Trails east of Albuquerque. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

There’s something you need to see — it has your name all over it.

— so My Good Man informed me when I arrived at his house late afternoon of the solstice. Whatever it was, he’d discovered it on his trail run that morning over on The East Side — the wooded slopes of the Sandia mountains. Over there on the east side is where NM Route 14 runs pretty much parallel to I-25 on the west side, though Route 14 is far more pleasant and picturesque and has become my preferred route between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

There’s a network of trails over there that he frequents, not the least because there’s a brewpub AND a coffee shop sharing the trailhead parking lot. Yet despite the opportunity for both warming and cooling libations, I had yet to experience — or be convinced of the merit of — these trails. We had gone out there once last winter during a bitterly cold morning, and were disappointed to discover the trails were slick with ice. After a few minutes of miserable slippery hiking, we turned around. I hadn’t stepped on the trails since. And, truth be told, though I enjoy driving up Route 14, there are parts of that side of the Sandias that have struck me as a bit monotonous in their drab and unvaried greenery — a surprisingly narrow-minded outlook for one who would like to think she strives for open-mindedness, especially when it comes to exploring trails!

But the promise of something remarkable was all I needed to get me up at 5:00 am on a Sunday morning, fill my travel coffee cup, load the pup in the car and drive over to the east side with My Good Man.

And there it was: the-remarkable-something-for-me-to-see revealed itself the moment we stepped on the trail:

The path was lined with stones, each hand-painted a gorgeous sky blue…

Painted blue stones line a path at the Guittierez trails east of Albuquerque.

each with an inspiring thought scribed on its cool smooth surface.

Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias

What’s more, there was an invitation for anyone who wanted to to select a stone to keep for themselves.

Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias

What a delightful, inspiring and generous gift — made for strangers!

My Good Man was right: This had my name all over it.

Now for the hard part:

Which one to choose?!

Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

I decided to wait until the end of our hike* to make my selection to give me time to listen to which one called to me most strongly.

Initially I was drawn to this one, what with my recent firing of FaceBook and determination to prove that one can survive and prosper as a self-employed artist without having to rely on social media:

Prove Them Wrong. Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

But ultimately I chose another — or rather, it chose me. For this one encompasses what that other one says, yet so much more:

Challenge Yourself - Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

My Good Man chose this one:

Better and oops than a what if. Blue stone quotation art east side of the Sandias. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

Which one would you choose?

*[Pics from that surprisingly mighty fine trail exploration coming up in next week’s TuesdayDawnings!]


Artist Dawn Chandler practicing safe pandemic awareness in her studio before her spring 2020 Daily Watercolor Wanderings series.

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Thank you again!

Stay safe.

~ Dawn Chandler
Santa Fe , New Mexico