“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV
It’s been several months since I’ve blogged, mainly due to moving my life to Santa Fe, NM this past September, and then collapsing in a heap, as exhausted as I’ve ever been.
Talk about squeezing the last drop of juice out! Whew.
All I wanted to do afterward was sleep. Instead, I had to continue working (teaching online), unpacking, and acclimating to the weather, altitude, and culture of this very funky, artsy, and creative place.
It’s taken some time, but I’ve landed on my feet, and life is rooting and will soon bloom in a riot of color. As challenging as this move was, all I feel now is joy.
“I live in my own little world. But it’s ok, they know me here.” ― Lauren Myracle
Now, I wake up to stars blinking outside my bedroom window. Trees rustle and shake outside. At dawn and dusk, the sky turns flaming orange, lavender, and pink, and the clouds lie on their backs, watching.
Each day starts with a cup of coffee and my open journal, where I kvetch and plan and unpack the day. I write; then I pray. I watch the dog run in the backyard.
The sky lightens and widens until blue is almost all I see in all directions.
Sometimes sun. Sometimes bluster. Sometimes snow. Sometimes rain.
I work most mornings and early afternoons, answering queries from my students, writing assignments, and grading those we’ve finished. Then, I cook whatever I can cobble together and my mother and I chat over lunch, dissecting the latest books we’ve read, or something we’ve seen online, or in the Santa Fean, or the newspaper.
“Home is the nicest word there is.” ― Laura Ingalls Wilder
After lunch, Mom usually sleeps, cats curled in her lap and across the back of her chair.
Sometimes, I read. Sometimes, I watch the light or the clouds or the ravens flying in slow figure-eights above the house.
Some days, Mom and I take walks through our new neighborhood. We explore whenever we can. The weather’s kept us home more this winter, but I imagine by spring, we’ll be old hands at navigating our way into the center of Santa Fe with its myriad museums and cafes and galleries.
We’ve already discovered the best fish and chips in town at the 2nd Street Brewery in the Rail Yard. We’ve stumbled into spiritual books and beautiful greeting cards at The Ark Bookstore. I’ll be taking a writing course at Garcia Street Books three weeks from now with a local writer I’ve longed to meet.
And we’ve found good coffee and a good deli and a good handyman to help us out around the house.
I’ve joined a new Buddhist tribe and feel so warmly embraced by them, it brings tears to my eyes.
It’s a quiet life, but it’s full.
“I let it go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.”― Joanne Harris,
Twenty years ago this summer, my plane landed at Santa Fe airport, and my mom and I tumbled onto the tarmac and went inside to wait for a shuttle into town. I’d come for a conference on creativity and madness, on a grant from the King Co. Mental Health Division, and a scholarship provided by the organization sponsoring the event.
We stayed in a crappy motel that week and rode a tiny blue bus into the center of town each day. I’d spend my days at the conference in the Convention Center, and my mom wandered, making friends with kachinas, and sculptures, and artwork that seemed almost alive when you looked at it.
We sat side by side in St. Francis Church, marveling over the stained glass and the silence. We ate blue corn tortillas and plates of enchiladas smothered in green chilies wherever we could find them. We didn’t have much money but we walked Canyon Road anyway, soaking up the color palette of paintings that looked good enough to eat. Then, near the end of the trip, we took a bus up to see the Folk Art Museum, overwhelmed by what we found there.
At the time, I remember wondering what it would be like to live in this wonderland. What would that feel like?
For twenty years, I dreamed of Northern NM.
Then, the river of my life brought me home.
© 2016 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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