One night in New Mexico
You learn things about yourself on the road. Putting yourself in context in a new lifestyle, in new places and with new people all the time will do that. Sometimes it's enlightening, sometimes it's surprising and sometimes it can be uncomfortable.
One of the things I've learned about myself over this last year is that I often make things harder for myself than I really need to. My old boss used to joke about my "high standards." I think part of the time she appreciated them, and part of the time they probably drove her nuts. (Funny how our strengths are often also our weaknesses). Now that I work with Shoam, he's frequently, but gently, told me I could afford to be "a little less buttoned up" about work.
The title of this post says "New Mexico," so why am I telling you this? Because we were there months ago, and I've put off posting about it partly because we've been busy, but also partly because I was putting too much pressure on myself to make it perfect. To tell you all the things. To show you all the pictures.
I wanted to tell you all about our drive in from the Grand Canyon along 180-E — one of the most scenic and quiet roads we've ever been on. I wished you could see every detail of the Gila Cliff Dwellings where you can actually walk among the rooms people occupied thousands of years ago. And the hot springs down the road our friends Jenn and Shaun recommended. Just drive a mile past the goat farm on a bumpy dirt road, put $5 in the box, pick your pool and soak by the river on a perfect Sunday. And I had to show you the little bar that had been around since the 1800s that we stumbled upon afterwards, because, really, it could fall over any day now and then you'd never see it.
And there was more I had to tell you. About the crazy orange sunsets and how they'd start out so bright and then burn down to purple and pink embers. About the jagged, red mountains, and the hikes where our eyes stung and our joints ached because of the bitter spring winds. And poverty like we've never seen before in this country. Southern New Mexico is a complicated place — somehow both beautiful and open, and harsh and heartbreaking all at once.
But instead of delaying more, and trying to explain it all and comb through hundreds of photos, I'm just going to give you one evening at Oliver Lee State Park. We'd finished up work for the day, Shoam had dinner on the grill, and I took a stroll around the park trying to capture the moon that glowed on one side of the mountains and the sunset that blazed on the other. Because in those moments there was nowhere and no one else I wanted to be.