Saturday, October 15, 2005

Fixed Coordinates



La Vita is not always so dolce. Living in Europe certainly has moments of splendor, of majesty and the unbridled excitement of walking in the footprints of history. But, there are also moments when I feel I am living sandwiched between other people’s lives. There are moments when I am frustrated that there is no quiet place of refuge to hide and hear my thoughts -- no canyon to walk thru, arroyo to cross, or peak to climb…and ground myself again. Last night this rushed and noisy city of a million people threatened to consume with me its madness. I refused to ride the bus and instead walked the hour and a half journey from the office to the my neighborhood…a sort of urban hike, if you will, undertaken with the hopes of reconciling with the city. I kept fixing my sights on the horizon – I kept thinking any minute I would finally see Atalaya, Truchas, Baldy, Pedernal, rising from the distance -- fixed coordinates in my crazy life that instantly soothe me. Where are those constant friends when you need them?

I hope that at the end of your rough day your are still able to find some relief when you arrive back to your home and have before you access to those places of your familiar that ground you. I hope you treasure those moments when you can look up, with relative ease, and see those fixed coordinates in your life that you’ve been wise in keeping around you. I forget how nice it is, in moments of feeling out-of-balance, to be able to step outside and see that world I have created in New Mexico and feel immediately calmed by it. I definitely have not found that here.

Maybe the off-feeling is from nothing more than the tilt of the earth and the pull of the moon on the 3rd of October. I remember catching Pedernal winking at me many times in moments of moving through my frustration and I can never help but to laugh and often forget what was worrying me for awhile. At this moment, I don’t have a moon that I can see in the Turin sky to ask for clarity, I don’t have a Pedernal to wink at me, I don’t have my two gods (I mean dogs, but same thing) to lick me into understanding that all is right with the world. But I do have my experience, my faith and a long life of learning self love and that will do for now….that will suffice until the River Po starts looking like the Chama and these industrial skyscrapers start winking back like Pedernal and Truchas.

I hope that you can consider the possibility that there might be people living different lives that sit in offices in seemingly sophisticated European cities that do really dream of picking apples in orchards, and sitting at family dinners talking with brothers and sorting out problems, and birthdays and odd concert schedules and lamenting Espanola, and guessing at the first freeze and wondering if the farmer’s almanac is going to be right, and talking about local weather and the chile harvest and if the trees need covering and worrying about the heating bill and having seen one of those fuzzy caterpillars that predict long winters and wondering how much snow might come – that stuff is sheer poetry to me, music that floods my gray city world with a cornucopia of color and warmth and life and always a reminder of what is really important to me.

Your description of life in New Mexico is an unwitting gift of reminder to me of what is really important and what does bring me comfort and peace of mind in my life. It also reminds me that I must always look to my fixed coordinates, the things that really root me and ground me in my most authentic moments, for the clarity to make wiser choices in my life. Thank you for that gift. I will hold in my hand on my next walk through this city and feel alive and real and meaningful once again.

Photos: TR Ryan
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