I’m writing this on the summer solstice. I hadn’t realized it, but I should have. I’ve felt … something, some faint magic, shimmering in the air around me since last night. So, today I went and smudged my new rental casita with sage I bought yesterday at the farmer’s market. It was a very Santa Fe moment, let me tell you.
New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment, but not everyone is enchanted, and that’s okay. When I lived here in the 1990s, I was surprised by the tourists who showed up in December in their shorts in 15-degree weather, looking for Adobe Disneyland, thinking …. this is maybe Phoenix AZ and there’s no winter? There’s a ski resort up the road; we’re at 7000 feet elevation. And I have heard more than one disgruntled, sunburnt tourist trudging along the Plaza in 90-degree midsummer, grumbling “but it’s all so… brown.” Fair enough. If you don’t love Santa Fe at first light and from a middle distance, my recommendation is to zoom way out — the view of the Jemez mountains above the treeline of pinon pines, slow growing and some hundreds of years old — or way in, noting the tiny, delicate flowers in bloom near your feet.
I got through the last six months (of COVID, of the planning and execution of two-long distance moves, my kids to Maine and me to Santa Fe) by focusing on the many tasks at hand. I’d planned for everything up to my move while not envisioning anything after, other than surviving it. The reality of my carefully crafted move was pretty rough; I might as well have drunk-dialed some random dudes off Craigslist. But, hey – I found a last-minute transport for my car, which got here a couple days ago. I’m staying with a friend in her beautiful guesthouse in the country, and I assume my stuff will show up eventually, and then I’ll move into my tiny rental casita downtown, an old adobe that is pretty much everything I wanted in terms of location and charm. I’m also catching up on six months of lost sleep, and watching the birds at the bird feeder where I’m staying.
Today at the rental casita was a gift my daughter sent – a small box waiting for me, welcoming me to my new home. Years ago I gave her a vintage cross-back apron hanging in my kitchen, because she loved it so much. I never replaced it. So, the gift box contained its replacement, another cross-back apron custom-made for me by an Etsy crafter, in precisely the deep blue shade of linen I would have chosen for myself. Today, again, I count my blessings – I counted them as I walked around the little rental casita, smudging each corner, each door. Some people view smudging as driving bad things out, but I have always viewed it as inviting good things in. I introduced myself to the house, asked for patience, invited joy and laughter to greet me at the door and come on in. I invited abundance in the kitchen, peace in the bedroom, kindness and friendship in the living room, tranquility in my tiny private garden.
I stopped at an old adobe convenience/liquor/package store on the way home, a trip down memory lane. It’s hot today, and dry like every day — humidity in Washington DC was a sultry 78% last time I looked and in Santa Fe it’s a bone-dry 13%. I’m drinking water like my life depends on it (and it does) while I re-acclimate. But today I treated myself to a frosty Mexican Coke made with cane sugar, so cold from the chiller that I felt slushy ice hit my mouth on my first sip. It was heaven in a bottle.
I’m waiting for sundown, when the temperature starts its 30-degree drop in this high desert climate, to go for a walk. In the dark I’ve heard the coyotes pad quietly past the casita. Maybe tonight they will show themselves, briefly and from a distance, as they go about their business and I continue on my own path. I made it, friends. I’m here.