Our family has stayed put for many months, to strengthen our household rhythms and to revel in what we have, our home. But two things are often missing for me: extended family or friends from the heart who have known me since childhood, and the rhythms of rural life. My husband and I are city people and we’ve made our home here. But I have lived off the grid, at a slower pace, where the good, clean earth is right out the front door. Sometimes the urban treadmill seems so idiotic — work more and harder, to make more money, to support a lifestyle, to keep looking elsewhere for what fills you!
Let me back up a little. Over the summer, when I got a daily and weekly rhythm going that worked for us, I asked myself, what is really missing? The answer, a garden. A little oasis right outside our door where the children can get into nature, dig in soil, learn how their food grows. By the end of the summer, I felt great, satisfied with our little bit of green.
Then, one night, as I watched the moon rise over our tiny patch, a slithery movement caught my eye. Ugh. Rats! Up at the top of our apple tree, feasting! Oh, just the way they move is so slimy and icky. And is that really one there, as big as a cat?! Oh, I felt crushed. Crushed. My little oasis of green, invaded. The spots where my children place their soft and chubby hands, violated by these slithering creatures. Nibbling to nothing every green shoot that appears. Munching our juicy apples. I’ve heard they’ll even eat the worms out of your worm bins! I really felt like crying! Abandoned for a moment by that Pachamama spirit I had felt guiding me. Defeated.
A few days later we left for Nuevo Mexico. To stay with my dear beloved childhood friend, Tía Irene. She blogs here. We built up the trip for days, packing our maletas and anticipating the fun to be had with our little friend Jaengie, age 3. Tía Irene and her family have built a real lecho, a homestead in the high desert that invites you in like the arms of a loving mother and lets you play and explore under the safe watch of a giant cottonwood tree. It is magical, with cozy nooks among willow-branch fences, hideouts under branches and vines, the most perfect rows of salad greens, kale, and cilantro, pantries stocked with jars and jars of the home-made and home-grown, gallinas and pavos ululating in the background. My children jumped right in to play! And play and play and play. Sandbox, tree house casita, and little Jaengie himself. Qué rico.
We had a great week. We enjoyed the Pojoaque homestead, explored Bandelier park and the cliff dwellings, slept cozy in an adobe cottage, ate chiles galore Christmas-style (red AND green), and found a moment of peace at the Santuario de Chimayo. I can’t describe the landscape, it just amazed me at every turn. Pink cliffs, yellow cottonwoods, blue skies, green sages, dusty adobe-orange soil. Letting my eyes travel over miles and miles of earth, relaxing in a long distance view. It all felt so good after our tight urban days.
And now we’re home. I still haven’t made my peace with the rats and I miss my heart-sister Tía Iren like crazy! Little P says she does not want to be here, she wants to be in Nuevo Mexico. We’ll have to make it a yearly pilgrimage. Hasta la próxima, Land of Enchantment!
A bit of a photo bonanza, but here goes . . .
More Nature and Santa Fe:
Santuario de Chimayo:
Weathering the storms of motherhood.