This is where I go hiking. Usually I walk two miles out, then turn around. Sometimes I go farther. If I kept walking, the loop back to the parking lot would take nine miles. Now that would be some exercise, about three hours’ worth! As it is, by doing this every other day for over a year and simply watching—being aware of—what I eat, so that I’m not eating for neurotic reasons or out of habit, I’ve lost twenty pounds from my highest-ever recorded weight. I will walk again today.
We still don’t have a home in Taos where we can have all our stuff: clothes, books, family treasures, and the like. It’s been that way for almost fifteen years, and this is crazy. Keep looking, downsize, or move on? The uncertainty is absurd, yet we bear it. We’re looking, anyway. Except in rare cases, renting is a fool’s game here. It seems like no one really wants you in their house, they want to sell, which prompts me to wonder (constantly) why anyone with half a brain would ever put money into housing here—the population is declining, too, and so on and so on… Every day I raise my cognitive shields against this constellation of self-fulfilling thoughts and soldier on, open to whatever guidance comes along. Mostly the voice inside my head just says, “Write, you fool.”
We drove to Albuquerque yesterday to have a getaway. My wife went to the grand opening of a clothing store, after which we went to lunch at Two Fools Tavern. (Yes, I’ll drive 130 miles for fish and chips.) Then we visited the UNM bookstore. I bought a hat that says “NEW MEXICO” across the front, so I’ll always know just where I am. Because I never stopped being a student, I instantly identify with university neighborhoods; so long as I don’t have to get tattooed or pierced, I’m there in spirit, absolutely! I wonder how many of the fine young men and women we saw realize my geezer ghost not only walks among them but sleeps with their friends, smokes their dope, and changes the music on their phones?
A raven the size of a missing airliner just circled overhead and landed in a tree at the bottom of the hill by the acequia, as good a reason as any to be here in the mountains. Albuquerque was a hoot as always, but every intuition, influence, predilection, and joy in my long life has to do with living close to Nature. I love to visit cities, but what I value most are my connections to the natural world. This is what I’ve learned. There’s a force, a river, an energy in my life that’s always carried me in this direction. When you live long enough, you see these things.
I also see I’m changing. My training burdened me with shackles that have only now begun to loosen, because I worked my ass off, passed the test, and didn’t self-destruct. It’s not my fault it took so long, and who knows where this leads? I love New Mexico, of course, and now I have a hat. What’s important is the flow, the theme, and that I take good care of us. Surrounded by paradoxes and dilemmas, I still feel valid and excited!
This makes no sense, but I don’t care.