These are the Sangre de Cristo mountains as seen from White Rock, NM. I've got a special relationship with these mountains, and this overlook. This was where I came the day I moved to New Mexico, when a double rainbow stretched the width of the view. It's where I used to walk to while I was still adjusting to the altitude. It's where I biked to at 5 in the morning because I'd been up a straight 36 hours and was freaked out by what I'd just done to myself, moving cross-country. It's pretty close to the view I used to see around 6 am when I was finished with the first bake of the bagels at Ruby K's and I had the bread in the mixer. I'd take my coffee and my cherry turnover and sit on the steps by the Parasol and face the mountains and watch the sunrise. It's where I'd crawl out on the rocks and think, or draw, or cry, or laugh. I ended up lying flat on the rock holding on for dear life when I let the storm I'd been watching creep up on me, and I also went here illicitly on my first day home from the hospital when my kidneys freaked out even though I wasn't supposed to go anywhere.
That sunset became very special to me. I've got a million pictures of me sitting right here. I've got pictures from when I spent the better part of 3 hours watching the light change and fade away. Sometimes I can smell it when I look at this picture- juniper and rock and sagebrush. When it would rain, all I had to do was open the window a little bit and it would perfume the whole house.
There's something about the way the sun is on your shoulders out there-it antiques the rocks and fades the facades but it's friendly somehow. The closeness, though sometimes downright hazardous in its intensity, used to make me feel a little more connected somehow, and a little less alone. The warmth almost seemed protective most of the time.
The color of those sunsets- the shocking blue of the sky and then the purples and oranges and pinks and yellows...I know that they happen everywhere from time to time, but out there it seemed like the daily art show. Nothing is more breathtaking than a painting on a canvas that stretches out over the mountains for miles in every direction. Sometimes the display almost made me feel guilty- like little old me shouldn't be able to experience that kind of decadence every day.
Life's been rough here lately. I've been sad, and I've been hurt, and I've been frustrated. Some of the pain I've felt and am feeling recently is of an intensity I don't know if I've felt before.
But the silver lining is, I've done something about it. Long about New Year's Eve I'd been thinking I needed to get back. I needed to feel those things again, even just for a visit. I've never been able to explain why I felt so strongly that I belonged there, but I do, and I feel the pull. I was driving a friend home in the very early hours of 2013, and my brain exhaled "I need to go home." when I was talking with him about New Mexico. It took me by surprise. All this time in the suburbs and I guess I wondered if anywhere was home, and if that was anything more than a memory. But I think your heart knows things before your brain most of the time, at least those sorts of things.
As of tomorrow, I have a ticket "home"
I can't wait. I won't be going to White Rock, but I will be back to my red dirt, mountains, juniper, sagebrush and desert skies. I'll get to see people who changed my life, and go back to places that I could always run to. I'll get to feel the sun right at my side, and let everything else fall away. I know it might sound ridiculous to some, but I honestly feel like going home right now will help heal some of these wounds, if even just for a little bit.
I can't wait.