Monday, February 28, 2011

On Living in the (Northern New Mexico) Country

I have lived in one of the world’s largest cities, in the suburbs, the country, and now in Northern New Mexico, which I sometimes describe as the “official middle of nowhere.” Of course if there was an official middle of nowhere, this would probably not be it. I use that description when I am talking to people from other places who just can’t grasp the concept that there are still areas in this country where there is no home delivery of the mail. It’s rural. You get my point.

I know there are many people who just can’t understand why anyone would choose to live in such a rural area. And I'm glad they feel that way. If everyone wanted to live in the country, there’d be damn little of it left. I was never one of those people. Even when I lived in New York, I yearned to be in the country. I was there because I needed to be there for my chosen profession. But it didn’t take. I was always a blue jeans girl. I brought my dog with me everywhere I went. Luckily, I could do that, but what I couldn't do was go home to the pleasures of the cool evening air rustling the leaves of the trees, a huge canopy of stars over my head, and the soft sounds of owls in the distance.

We have a section on Taos Unlimited called the Taos Home Companion, with a subtitle of “Life in the Slow Lane.” I love that. It really exemplifies what I love about living in the country. It’s a joy just to sit in your yard and listen to the birds and the wind in the orchard grass. To watch the hummingbirds investigate the flowers and the wind chimes and sculptures hanging from the portal. To experience the abundance of life which surrounds you. And to let your thoughts go where they will. To be in the now, and at the same time to remember other sweet moments of your life. I have been creative all my life, and I have found over the years that it is this quiet contemplation which has inspired my favorite visual art and my favorite writing. That says something to me. And now that I live in this fantastic place where I see mountains out every one of my windows, I won't be leaving. This is home. ~Aimee

Today I awoke to one of those beautiful clear, sunny winter days; the kind of day that makes you feel optimistic about the future and everything in it. There’s something about that particular sunlight here in Taos that is world famous. It has attracted artists, writers, musicians and many other creative types to the area since who knows when. I’m one of those types. I’m just not happy unless I’m doing something creative.

I had a roundabout way of landing here in Northern New Mexico. Born and raised in America’s heartland, that way of life wasn’t enough for me, so I headed to California: first living in Los Angeles for a time, then moving on to San Francisco. What was I seeking? An unlimited outlet for my creative desires and the exciting lifestyle that you can only find in the “fast lane.” I met a lot of famous people, worked in the fringe of the entertainment community, and had the kind of experiences that most people never even get a glimpse of. That’s the place I chose to spend my youth, but I really didn’t fulfill my dreams there.

When I first left for California, on that fateful drive, while in Albuquerque, I said to my best friend (who was on that journey with me), “If things don’t work out, I’ll come back here to New Mexico, and that will be where I will stay for the rest of my life.”

Things didn’t work out on the West Coast, and I kept that promise to myself, even though it took 21 years and a miracle to get here. At this point in my life, maturity has taught me that nothing is perfect. But I love this place. I’m staying. ~Jean

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