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For all the many years that I’ve lived in New Mexico, up against the Bosque del Apache that runs parallel to the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, I never fully appreciated the uniqueness and the amazing beauty of this small slice of the world – until two years ago, when a six year old Jack Russell rescue dog named Berkin came into my life, and everything changed. Please let me explain.

Most of my life, I was a physician and a private pilot. When I’d retired from both, I did a lot of volunteer work with various organizations, including the websites for the New Mexico Cancer Center. One of those websites has been my work with the Gallery With A Cause, along with Regina Held, who has done fabulous work that’s made this possible.

Over the years, I’d done occasional walks along the Bosque up against the Rio Grande. There were excursions to many places and sites of beauty in New Mexico.

But I’d never set foot on any of the other trails, most all of them dirt, running alongside the plethora of ditch banks that can be found just about everywhere in the part of Albuquerque east of the Rio Grande. In fact, despite my many years here, I didn’t really know that any of them existed. I just assumed that there were mostly ugly concrete irrigation canals.

Then Berkin came along. A small, amazing rescue dog. For a few months when he settled in and decided that my wife and I were “OK” and he didn’t need to escape, there was nothing special. Then one day, on one of our daily walks, Berkin insisted that we turn down a dirt road that adjoins the east end of Don Quixote road. I reluctantly agreed. I expected I’d find only dirt and broken glass.

Boy, was I wrong! Berkin is an explorer. Over the ensuing months, we walked and explored everywhere this side of the Rio Grande, mostly along just about every irrigation ditch in existence within a radius of five or six miles, every day and every season of the year, always with new and different things to see. Berkin loves them all. I’ll admit it: he’s been my teacher.

I’ve selected some of my favorite Berkin & Steve photos to share with you, moments of uniqueness and beauty that caught my eye. All were taken with my iPhone12, on the spur of the moment, on my walks with Berkin tugging at me to “keep going!”. None are retouched. My first foray with print pieces using metal. I hope you enjoy them!

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