Earth Day – Love Letters from Friends

Blog, Honoring Days | 3 comments

On this 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and through the coming months, Ghost Ranch is inviting its friends to compose a Love Note or Love Expression which shares how the “Place” of Ghost Ranch has impacted you.

Maybe you want to express Gratitude or share a Memory through poetry or prose. As an artist, maybe you want to create a piece and send a photo of your creation. Please feel free to be creative and reflective.

The letters, expressions and photos will be posted on our website for others to read and view as well as posted in the Dining Hall at the Ranch. You can submit by name or as Anonymous.

During this COVID-19 Pandemic, we want to spread Love and we know how many lives have been touched, transformed and healed by the Beauty and Mystery of Ghost Ranch. Please involve your family members (of all ages) as the Tom Arenberg family did.

Note: We do ask written expressions to be kept to no more than 400 words. With photos, feel free to include some words, too, if you desire. Also, love letters speak a truth, so feel free to speak what feels true in your heart to us.

Ghost Ranch also appreciates your financial support, too, in these challenging times. With your submission, we encourage a donation to support this Ghost Ranch land that has given us so much. Send your submissions to

Click on the + on the right of each tab to read these heartfelt letters of love. See below the love pic painting created by Diane Arenberg and the gallery of photos shared by Liz and Tom. When you double click on one image, the gallery opens for larger image viewing.

with love, liz

I remember sitting on my Dad’s shoulders watching thunderstorms roll in right as the sun sets. The stormy air feels the same as I hold my children in my lap on the dining hall portal watching the clouds approach. I watch my son try to climb the tree in front of the dining hall, I can feel the memory of the bark on my own fingers as I struggled to master reaching that first branch. I watch my students jump in the lake after rainfall, only to lose a shoe to the red mud. I can feel the slick dirt grip my own foot as I watch them pull each other out laughing. I sit with friends I grew up with, where we take turns watching each others kids so we each have a quiet moment to breath the desert air. Our parents laugh, reminding themselves it was not so long ago where they did the same for each other and embrace the chance to do it all again as Grandparents.

Red hills and endless sky set the scene for my childhood. Many of my best friends as an adult are the same kids I hiked with every summer at Ghost Ranch. Now, as a youth programming educator on the Ranch, I love seeing each new generation of kids exploring the desert together. I see them return each year, older and more empathetic. The mesas stay the same, but they go from goofy kids, to confident teenagers, then to leaders. I see the kids that I took pony rides through the campground as a College Staffer grow up to join College Staff, where they in turn show the secrets of Ghost Ranch to the next crop of future Ranchers. Ghost Ranch is a land that embraces community and creates a safe place for each generation to find their adventurous selves. They learn to navigate relationships, make mistakes, and fall in love. All set against the red rocks of northern New Mexico.

Small landslides occur, reshaping the visual constants just in time to remind us to embrace the present. We lose loved ones that guided us through ranch experiences, but with one rainfall the smell of wet dirt can bring us back to any moment in time with them. I am grateful for this place. Ghost Ranch is my heart’s home. As I shelter in place in New Jersey, I know I will back sharing O’Keeffe’s mountain with my children as soon as it is safe to do so. Until then, I’ll remember the breeze as a rainstorm comes in, halting everyone in place. Knowing that as soon as the rain stops, I’ll see everyone at the dining hall.

With love,

Hero image above by Liz Arenberg – with special thanks

My Love affair, diane Arenberg

My love affair with Ghost Ranch began in 1988 when I traveled from Milwaukee with two dear friends for an art workshop with Grace Gibson.
At the time, I had no idea I just entered into a lifelong pursuit. I knew I love to make art; however, I had yet to experience “the Muse”. Enter Kitchen Mesa with a rainbow over it. I was hooked.

The Ranch has been closed to the public since the second week in March. I consider myself lucky to have hiked in Box Canyon the weekend before with my middle daughter. It was a perfect day: the temperature was in the 60’s, the sun was out, and the spring runoff through Arroyo Yeso had begun. The Canyon Wrens were telling cautionary tales about leaping from huge boulders. We listened. Perhaps they had an inkling of what was yet to come. This hike has sustained me, for now at least.

The wonderful thing about the ability to study a location for years on end is I don’t need photographs or videos to remind me what was happened on the day I started a painting: It all floods back when I pick up a stick of pastel or a paintbrush. This week I found a large panorama I had started years ago and it begged to be finished. I drew on my reserves, careful observations, and love for “The View” to bring it to a beautiful stopping point. I hope it will give you something to hang on to until you return.



The Landscape Always Wins, Tom Arenberg

 “The landscape always wins….”

That’s a saying in our family and it always refers to Ghost Ranch. Four generations of our family have experienced the ranch as guests, young parents, tour guides for friends, instructors, students, college staff, board members, parents of the bride and grandparents.

Our family has been at the ranch for growth, renewal, recovery, memorial and celebration.  Through all the highs and lows of life we have visited and looked out over the ranch views for peace, serenity and inspiration. The landscape never fails us…the landscape always wins.

It is a source of friendships, traditions and memories for us.  We each have a spot, a tree, a hike, a horseback ride, a rock, a painting that is “ours” but it reminds us that the landscape always wins.

We have a responsibility to protect and respect the ranch and pass it on to the next generation.  We bring them to the Ranch, let them make their own memories as we teach them….

…the landscape always wins.

Your Donation Means So Much at Ghost Ranch!


  1. Anna Maria Gonzales

    Sacred. Healing. Power and Might. Friend and Community. Ghost Ranch is for me, all of these things.

  2. Idrienne Steiman

    The earth is my canvas
    Of colors , shapes and textures
    The wind whispers a secret
    A wise sage is invisible
    Standing in solitude near me
    Collector of bones
    Stark reality as the suns light
    Beams off of the craggy rock
    Anchored deeply on the dusty
    Path as she shields the brightness with her hand
    Peering at the
    raw shapes etched on the mountainsides. The rocks, the dry earth, the dirt road, the adobe shelters her spirit as she delicately beckons us to join in honoring her courage to be in solitude and be a part of this earth. Ghost Ranch keeps O’Keeffe’s imperceptible presence radiating in another dimension. It filled my soul!

  3. The Rev Jill Oglesby Evans

    LOVE and am fed by the Arenbergs’ reflections, paintings, and photos. (only wish I could enlarge Diane’s painting!)


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