02/02/2020

When my son Alex was a tot we read “Goosebumps” books. These mysteries had different endings.. you got to pick! At the end of a chapter it would say ” If you want the kids to escape the monster turn to page 34!”. “If you want the kids to be eaten by the monster turn to page 78!”

I am guessing we usually had the monster win.

I feel like I am in a Goosebumps book. One year ago today I started this adventure. I left a frigid Delaware to head to Florida. I had no idea what I was doing. I trusted the process. I knew open arms and good friends waited for me. I spent my first night at a Cracker Barrel. Dozed at a rest stop. Drank mediocre coffee from an all night cafe. I was off!!

And now a year has passed. I have seen incredible things. I have met beautiful folks. I slept in many Walmart parking lots. Learned to pee in a bucket. I learned to be creative with food. Toast became a luxury. The pups and I took on the road like champs… And kept each other warm one desolate snowy night in Amarillo, Texas. Thank goodness for my traveling pack of crazies.

I look back of the pix from this year. It is like time travel.. a kaleidescope of colors and landscapes… Flavors and smells. People. Laughter. Tears. Some fear. More awe.

And now here I am in T or C.. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The town that claims ” we’re all here because we’re not all here”. It is said there is a vortex here and once it grabs you, you stay.. or is it the sky.. that magical turtle on the mountain.. the hot springs.. the people?

Or is it all if it?

For now I out my bookmark on page 24.. the T or C chapter. I think about what I have learned. Hmm. I like people. I like towns. I like quirky. I like being part of a community. Helping. Serving. I like the sun. Warmth. I am a hot springs junkie.. i find the waters healing. Soothing. Am I home? Was the adventure to lead me here?

I will ponder my choices. I will return to Pennsylvania to refill on family, friends, and Turkey Hill iced tea. Will the trees seem strange after this vast desert? Will I miss endless stars? Green chile? My old folk buffet fan club? We shall see.

I remind myself to stay in the here and now. This second. This moment where the sun warms my face… My doggies by my side..safe and cozy in my van. It’s all that is real after all. It’s all that is guaranteed.

Lake Valley

I have always been fascinated by images of nature overtaking what man has created. We put so much importance on the stuff of life. The tangible. Nature reminds us it is all fleeting. Transient. Everything returns to dust eventually.

Lake Valley is an old silver mining town in southern New Mexico. The roads there twist and turn through hills and stones and cacti. The sky is even bigger. I drove for an hour and passed only one vehicle.. a rancher in his pickup who gave me the two finger howdy.

I was the only visitor to Lake Valley that day. The silence teased my ears into hearing voices in the breeze.. the ever present breeze. The pups and I explored, curious as to the folks who lived here. Loved here. Died here. Vacant windows held secrets. Stories. Shattered glass reflected shattered dreams. I felt transported. Timeless. I floated between worlds as years tumbled together in a disorienting kaleidoscope.

The afternoon eased to a close as the sun started slipping behind jagged stone. I hurried to leave, eager to drive in what daylight remained. Without sun the desert is so dark… and cold.I shook myself back to now. Turned my van down crunching dirt roads. I gave one last look at this forgotten place… and swear I saw a curtain fall across a cracked window.

Still

And the new year opens with the expectation of new beginnings and fresh starts. I welcomed 2020 with the turtle ascension in downtown T or C. The night was chilly. Small bonfires made a vain attempt to push back the shivers. I sipped hot chocolate. Laughed with the crowd. Wrote a letter to the universe and mailed it in a spaceship that was later burned. Of course.2020. Hey I made it! I think of 1/1/2019 and think of how much has shifted since then. How much I have seen! My head spins. My heart opens.For now I am still. Winter is a time for reflection. Quiet. Introspection. I love it here. I love being in the shadow of turtleback mountain. I love the sky. I love the quirkiness. I love the howl if coyotes at night. I love the desert. I love soaking in hot mineral baths. I love the mild winter.I am surprised.Sometimes I feel like I should be moving moving moving. No. This is the perfect time. This is the perfect place. For now. We shall see.So 2020 let’s do it.. whatever “it” turns out to be.Love love loveAlways love…

Ho ho ho

Christmas. At time of mixed feelings. Expectation. Over the river and all of that…

I did have a good friend visit for solstice. We talked. Laughed. Caught up on lives that have brought surprises. We ate. We soaked in the healing hot springs. We ate some more. We even caught a televised Eagles football game in a crazy little cafe right out of the Flintstones. ( I am not a football fan but her excitement was contagious).

I did have a Christmas feast at the old folk buffet ( the local senior center). I did a little “huh?” when they announced lunch would be a bit late.. they were waiting on the rice. Rice?

Enchiladas. Black beans. Spanish rice.

Not exactly central Pa.

A live band got the bedazzled old ladies dancing. Most songs were Mexican ballads. It was one of those moments of wondering how I got here. That’s been happening a lot come to think of it.

Christmas Eve found me roaming in the desert at dusk. I still gasp at the amazing color.. the vast sky. May I always gasp at beauty.

Christmas day was quiet.. shared coffee via the phone.. long chats with folks far away. My friend Carol cooked loving fare. The pups had leftovers.

Yesterday the pups and I moved into a wee Casita. A new friend invited me for the month of January. It feels decadent to have a real bathroom and kitchen. The dogs have a fenced in yard… Well what New Mexico calls a yard. I ran the idea of living in a wee house past my van dwelling pals… I was afraid of losing my van life status. They assured me it is about the adventure no matter how it shows up.

Yes. The adventure. Being open to what appears. Moving ahead without fear. Embracing new life.. new moments.. new ideas.. new people.

Even if it means enchiladas for a Christmas feast.

So come on 2020! 2019 was an interesting ride… Let’s keep the momentum going!

Love love love

What else is there?

Gina and the pups

T or C

When I was a tyke my mom loved the show Truth or Consequences…a silly show in the early 60’s. I remember watching it with her in the coolness of the basement. The black and white TV flickered in the corner. I was in charge of adjusting the rabbit ear antenna if Bob Barker’s face went out of focus.

In 1950 Ralph Edwards.. producer of the show.. proclaimed he would broadcast the then radio show from any town that would change it’s name to Truth or Consequences. Hot Springs New Mexico became T or C.

It’s a quirky town. A hodge podge of art, hot springs bathing houses, faded pick up trucks, intriguing personalities and colorful buildings splashed with murals. Incredible mountains kiss the horizon. The sky is endless. Breathtaking. Piercingly blue. ( A friend suggested if I miss the ocean I should just stand on my head and stare at the sky).

I love it here. Something draws me. There is an energy. A vibration that hums in the wind. A scent that stirs. I am in awe of the changing light as the sun sets behind the mountains. Colors I have never seen swirl and morph. I try to capture images but the sky is too vast. The essence is lost.

I will stay here for winter. The temperature is moderate. The sun warms to sweatshirt shedding heat in the day while night brings a shiver. I like the people. I actually joined the senior center and eat lunch there ( think cafeteria food in grade school with green chile added). I like the company of the old folks that come for companionship.. and meatloaf. Everyone just wants someone to hear their story.

I honored the last full moon of the decade on 12/12. A new friend invited me to her camp in the desert. We chatted. Sipped ginger anise tea to chase away the goosebumps. Threw logs on the bonfire. Coyotes called to each other across the ridge. ( Ava called back!) I gasped as the moon rose over the lake. Strands of shimmering silver swallowed the last lavender, pink, orange, turquoise remnants of the setting sun.

I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I tossed fear and doubt into the flames, smiling as they turned to ash.

On the road again

We left our friend David and Albuquerque to head south to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Before leaving we took one last drive down route 66.. well for now. There will certainly be kicks on rt 66 in my future! We will stay put for a while. Cozy. The idea of driving in the dead of winter is not appealing. We woke up to snow.. really.. here in southern New Mexico.I blame myself. I kept fussing about the perpetual sun.A hodge podge of last minute Albuquerque shots and SNOW!? for your viewing pleasure…

Meow Wolf

My daughter came to visit! I was quite excited about being in a state that borders Colorado.. her state.. until I saw Albuquerque and Denver are 450 miles apart. The west is big!

She flew in for a long weekend. I hadn’t seen her for over a year but I immediately spotted her in the arrival zone. Time wrinkled on itself and we hugged.. laughed.. made plans for her visit.

We head to a bizarre art instillation in Santa Fe. Meow Wolf. There is no way to describe this eccelctic blend of art, fantasy and whimsy. It was amazing. Colors. Sounds. Portals to other dimensions. Secret passageways through dryers and fireplaces. Surprises at each turn.

Amazing.

Fabulous.

I felt like a child again. The experience was no less than magical.

Her time here evaporated quickly. We drank coffee. She made crepes. We shopped at the Mexican grocery store which somehow seemed more Mexican than an actual grocery store in Tulum. ( We did not buy chicken feet as tempting as they looked). We talked. We shared ideas.

And then it was time for her to fly back.

We hugged. We promised to see each other soon, while I am still on this side of the Mississippi. One tear tickled my eye. Life is funny. When you are a new mom you assume life will always be centered around motherhood and children. You never imagine that the time will come to brief visits.. different lives.

But our children are not ours. Our children come to us for guidance to adulthood. To freedom. To self discovery. Wings are made for flying… they should never be clipped.

The roses I put in the guest room have dropped their petals.. lost their scent. I wash the azure vase.. return it to the cupboard. I smile at new memories. I feel gratitude for this sweet life.

I spread my own wings… I prepare for flight.. the next place awaits… the next adventure beckons.

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