As summer evolves into what's known as "monsoon season" here in Northern New Mexico, we continue to explore our new lives here, even as we consider how long our Santa Fean (is that a word?) sojourn will last.
Working with my one-on-one elderly nursing client this week, I sat on his porch and watched storms roll in from a variety of directions. Lightning flashed, the winds howled, and the rain came down in sheets in various spots along the horizon, until the storm lashed his little house with hail that pelted the tin roof of the porch like so many bullets of ice. Driving home through the sticky mud, the windshield was spattered with brown dots that the windshield wipers had difficulty erasing, so I stopped at a gas station and cleaned the glass by hand.
Life in community continues to be pleasant, with kind neighbors and community meals that bind us together in various rotating social atoms. We're still newcomers, and renters at that, but there is a feeling of acceptance and welcome that is indeed heartwarming. This evening, we offered a free session of Laughter Yoga, and a hearty good time was had by all.
Settling into routines, I leave home for my various workplaces three or four days per week, and Mary keeps the home fires burning as she feverishly and happily prepares the official launch of her coaching business, a business that I will join when the time is right for me to pursue certification as a nurse coach.
The dryness of New Mexico is both a blessing and a curse, and the dry river beds and arroyos demonstrate just how much water is at a premium here. Driving forty or sixty minutes to find a clean place to swim in nature is no joke, and we realize that spending another summer so water-starved is not necessarily something we're willing to do, even as the community becomes more like home over time.
Biking around the city, I also yearn for a more bike-friendly town where we can tool around without fearing for our lives. Santa Fe has a long way to go in this regard, and bicycle lanes are a rare commodity here in a city where cars fill the streets at all hours. Still, how can one complain when you can drive across town at the peak of rush hour in fifteen minutes?
Santa Fe is a city of contradictions, in my view. While there is a burgeoning movement towards sustainability throughout the city, a movement that manifests in a variety of ways (community gardens, solar investment), there is also apparently unbridled development that surrounds the city and causes our little community to feel more and more like an oasis amidst the chaos of 21st-century consumerism. As an acquaintance wrote to me on Facebook about her experience of Santa Fe twenty years ago: "It's a magical place, despite all of the ugly and ecologically unsound construction and commercialism." She's right. The place is crawling with healers, artists, musicians and creative people doing amazing things, but there are aspects of the city that are simultaneously maddening, including the frustratingly high cost of living (even a simple burrito can cost almost $10).
So, until we decide that our time is up and the proverbial stakes are pulled from the ground, we will continue to make our best of the time we have and get the most out of being here. Santa Fe is an idiosyncratic place, to be sure, and we'll just see what our idiosyncratic selves can conjure up here as our New Mexican lives continue to unfold for as long as the unfolding feels right.