I’m getting in the groove.
Growing up a Yankee in New England, I think there must have been an unspoken understanding that life was tough, you don’t usually get what you want (at least don’t count on it) and so you should just clench your teeth and push on. Conversely- life actually was pretty good, compared to what 95% of the world’s population suffer. So in comes the guilt when life is good.
However….I don’t think there’s a person here in Santa Fe who feels that way. Every person I have talked to so far is a transplant: no one grew up here. Every one of them chose to be here because they love it; the lifestyle, the pace, the landscape, the food, the arts, the music, the culture, the friendliness- and the great mix of people. No one has said this is just where they ended up- so they make the best of it. I do know people who visit and are glad to go home. The vast space, the dramatic contrast of desert and mountains, the muted but rich color, and the seemingly scrappy foliage are too severe for many. The horizon might be over a hundred miles away. You’ll see a snow squall to the north, blue sky to the south, and a rainbow in the east. All at the same time. Nothing cozy about this state. Unless, of course, your heart and soul just fill up and warm everything around you. I have yet to see any evidence of Botox or cosmetic surgery. Dressing up means clean jeans, pointier boots, and some fun jewelry. Everyone seems to be content with things just as they are- the whole range. Besides, the sun will be out tomorrow, the mountains are beautiful, and there are many good hiking trails right there….
So this girl is getting her groove on! All the things I love to do are right here, and when I don’t feel like ‘doing’, it is a spectacular place to just breathe and look around.
I finally called one of the people on my “to call” list. This woman was brought out here after a messy divorce by some friends of mine, who had planned a trip to Santa Fe. After the vacation- my friends went home- and she stayed. Still here 30 years later.
Am I lonely- not knowing much of anyone here? Nope. I like my own company, but I know I can get kind of hermit-y. So I am cultivating a new m.o.- bolder, friendlier, more outgoing. I found a great yoga center and go 3 times a week. I found a great wool/knitting shop, started a sweater, and go to the knitting group on Sunday afternoons. One day last week, I went in to buy some stitch holders and got into a really nice conversation with the woman who was manning the store that day. I boldly handed her my card and said “If you’re ever up for a cup of tea- give me a call”. She looked at my card and said…”My sister used to live next to a poet…Chase Twichell.” My sister.
That same night, I went to see the Ballet Trockadero, and was chatting with the couple on one side of me during intermission. We decided to exchange phone numbers, and the wife looked at my card and said ”Are you any relation to David and Smoke Twichell?” My aunt and uncle. I mean- come on!