To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest experiences
in the whole world.
~ Freya Stark
What a strange week. I shoulda guessed that super moon rising through the clouds as I drove from Ojo Caliente hot springs held something more than mesmerizing beauty. I emerged from the valley seemingly overgrown with cottonwoods blazing yellow-gold just as dark descended. Cruised through the short stretch on the outskirts of Espanola, crossed the Rio Grande, was headed home. Got caught on a sideways glance. The moon so huge, brilliant, I pulled to the side of the highway, barely noticed cars whizzing by. That night I didn’t sink into bed like I usually do after a Ojo soak. Instead I stayed up, wrote a blog, retired at 3am. The next morning I rose early, feeling strangely rested for so little sleep. By Wed., cold and stingy rain moved in, energies turned weird. A trip to the market, three people nearly collided with me as I stood choosing food, as if I was invisible. I settled in. Planned work and research went undone. 6+ hrs. online with Microsoft to re-install Skype so I could say Happy Birthday to my grandson produced nothing but a corrupted hard drive and no Skype. I wanted to rewind, recover my days. Then, like a boomarang, the Universe swung around. I was buoyed by a rendezvous Friday with new friends met my first day here. Two other people at a workshop on traditional publishing I felt compelled to go to Saturday (though I’ve studied the industry for eight years, delivered a presentation on the subject at a Florida Writers Assoc. meeting) became friends over a long breakfast Monday. Sunday I celebrated a birthday and marriage with a best friend and her family. Monday, dinner with the first person I met when I moved to Santa Fe in ’94. Tuesday, lunch with another new friend.
Elizabeth Gilbert posted the quote at the top of page on Facebook, added “just for the pleasure dreaming, let’s all name today the one place in the world where we would someday love to wake up alone.” Key words – dreaming, some day, alone. As of 1pm EST, it had 3,355 Likes, 502 Shares, 430 Comments. I scrolled 100 comments, all by woman. Eighty focused solely on quiet moments. Listening to a breeze, watching water, reading, contemplation, strolls on the grounds, peace inside. Twenty added exploration and adventure. I understand it all. The desire for space with uninterrupted thoughts, with no distractions, obligations, or others pulling. Space to dream without guilt. The need for comforts. The added delight of discovery, awe and inspiration in the new. The whole ball in one dream of coming back to yourself, living your own definition of what that means.
Today I leave this house I’ve occupied nearly five weeks. I’ll miss the multitude of potted plants, the large windows, watching strips of salmony-pink and otherworldly blue flatten onto the far mountains under a lightening dawn sky. Miss the birds, animal visitors. Especially miss the utter silence outside my own thoughts and movement, the occasional rain or wind. And I’m glad to leave the quirks of the place, the collections of colorful toys, sculpture, textiles, aged South American pottery that cover surfaces, fill shelves and cupboards. Happy to be moving to the northside where I spend my time out, where I can walk to the plaza. I want to believe the traffic sounds buffeting the silence there are simply gentle acclimation to re-entry Florida in two weeks, where there’s not a moment’s respite from noise at home.
Last night I learned my husband lost his job. A big loss in a year with a fraction of usual income. That he’s dealing with something physical, and it won’t go away, that it makes things hard. It all really sucks. But I handled things differently this time. Decided not to be scared, or worry. And I couldn’t do that had I not experienced these weeks living the dream of time and space the women on EG’s post hold. Woven with this strange week concluding in a tribe for me. Which helped me ask for support in thought on Facebook, take heart from the tribe there. Opening my mind to what I can offer to another tribe to generate income. Turning this scary situation into a better conversation about life.
Tell me, how has life woven you to this place?
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life
A favorite: Silence and solitude, with tea.
A secret: Vulnerability still feels wiggly.
Illustrations by Lieke van der Vorst