[San Ildefonso] lies in the Rio Grande Valley at the broad mouth of the Rio Nambé whose water, born in the Sangre de Cristo Range some twenty miles east, scarcely ever reaches the great river. Irrigation ditches lead most of it off for alfalfa and orchards all up and down the valley. What little is left buries itself in the sand and feeds the roots of cottonwood trees that in the autumn shine like a river of living gold. The rounded hills that guard the pueblo to the east are dotted with ovals of piñon and juniper. Beyond them the flesh-colored sediments have been sharply eroded into abstract planes and angles. The vegetation is sparse and inconspicuous. Only the sky above and mountains blossoms, in summer with white clouds that unfurl in gigantic flower forms, in winter with aurora-colored tides of sunset.
Peggy Pond Church from her novel The House at Otowi Bridge: The Story of Edith Warner and Los Alamos