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Article: Where are we going? The Lightning Field

Grasses growing on wide expanses near the Lightning Field New Mexico

Where are we going? The Lightning Field

It is not often that you plan a holiday around a place that you know very little about, especially to the extent that you don’t really know where it is!

We had seen a couple of authorised photos and heard from others that had been that it was an amazing experience. We knew it was a land artwork by Walter De Maria that was completed in the 1970s called the Lightning Field and that it was a field of poles that attract lightning. We also knew we were to stay overnight at a cabin located beside the field.

View of distant mountains across dry grassy field with blue sky and wispy clouds near the Lightning Field land art installation in New Mexico

Part of why we knew so little is that visitors are asked not to take photos of it and until relatively recently its location had been kept off Google Maps. It seemed wrong to Google too much about what to expect. We do now have the beautiful book that has been produced about the Lightning Field, which means so much more not that we have experienced it.

We had driven approximately 5 hours to get to the location of the DIA Art Foundation office where we would meet the other people staying that night and be driven out to the artwork. It seemed to be the definition of a one-horse town as it would be pretty easy to blink and miss the entire place. We still had no idea what to expect when we met the other person that would be staying at the cabin with us and were picked up by the quintessential cowboy to be driven out to the cabin.

Black and white view down the empty road outside the Dia Art Foundation office in Quemado New Mexico

As we bumped our way over dirt roads to the cabin we had absolutely no idea where we were going or even what we were looking for. Eventually, we saw the poles and small cabin. We were shown around the cabin and given instructions for finishing off the really tasty meals that had been prepared and left for us.

We then headed out to walk through the Lightning Field as the sun went down. It was incredibly peaceful and serene. We didn’t have any clouds in the sky so there was no chance of lightning but I genuinely think this made it fantastic experience as we could spend time in the field and get up close to the poles to watch how the setting (and rising sun) created such different effects.

Dry puddle with the dirt cracked in a grassy field near the Lightning Field land art installation in New MexicoWe don’t have photos except a few we took facing the opposite direction to the field and in the book published by DIA Art Foundation to show you but we would highly recommend the experience if you get the opportunity. The only piece of advice (that we also received) is to make sure you take something to toast the setting sun over the Lightning Field. It was great to be able to sit with a glass of Champagne on the porch watching the most beautiful live show put on by a piece of art and the natural surroundings. It was a highlight of our time in the South West US.

View of a dry grassy field towards distant mountains near the Lightning Field art installation in New Mexico

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