I just got back from 2 days in Taos, discounting travel time…after driving 90 mph for 4.5 hours. It was magical, as always.
I’m sitting here…home…but not “home”. What have I done? I fully expect a high level job offer from XXXX (can’t name it but it’s a great place in the Denver area) this coming week and I will be thrilled (and relieved after over 4 months of looking) but there is a tug at my soul. It’s name is Taos.
I’m going to miss waving at strangers as they pass by in their cars and trucks. I’m going to miss the deadbeats who brag that they’ve not worked in 14 months, hate the government, but are on food stamps (keep in mind I’m on them) and give tips on how to get the most out of food stamps with half off coupons. Or the ones the locals told me about who stop by daily to bum a cigarette. I’m going to miss the people who have walked away from high level jobs/lives to devote themselves to traveling the world doing yoga service (working for room and board along the way). I’m going to miss the people who just “happened” to pass through Taos on their way to somewhere else and knew they couldn’t leave…like the Seattle artist I met last April who, on his way back from an art tour in London, fell in love with Taos and never returned to Seattle. Or, the woman I met at The Snowmansion hostel years ago who decided, on a whim, to veer off and check out Taos on her way back to her home in Wyoming from Sedona…who went back to Wyoming, quit her high paying government job, sold her property, and moved to Taos with no idea how she would survive but knew “It will work out.”
I’m going to miss the people intently photographing sunflowers by the side of the road. I’m going to miss the bad singers in Taos Plaza blasting their voices over speakers with tip jars out…but…so happy to be singing with joy. I’m going to miss the artists set up in the middle of coffee house parking lots painting what the bright sunlight at 7,000′ shows. I’m going to miss Taos’ night sky with billions of stars. Have you ever seen the Milky Way? I have. I’m going to miss the quiet. I’m going to miss the voice of Taos Mountain and La Bruja (witch) that appears at the top of the next door mountain peak…broomstick and all (a stereotype I don’t love but she’s cute with her pigtail blowing in the wind). I’m going to miss the bartering between locals as they each support each other. I’m going to miss CPAs/marathoners who tell me that their REAL job is to be in Taos. I’m going to miss the strangers in dreadlocks who offer to make me coffee. I’m going to miss the guy from Scandinavia who ended up in Taos because he threw a dart at a map on the wall and it landed on Taos. I’m going to miss baristas and German girls in hostels who break into song. I’m going to miss the fact that everyone is either related to each other or knows each other, and looks out for each other.
I’m going to miss the stories…the wonderful and magical stories of how people ended up in Taos. When you say to someone, “This place is SO special and weird” and they look at you knowingly, and nod in agreement. I’m going to miss talking with people who are in Taos to attend the Earthship Academy. Yes, there is an Earthship Academy. And then there was the couple who’ve lived in the Taos area their entire lives, yet still drive out to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to eat dinner and watch the sunset. I talked to a very elderly man yesterday who told me Taos called him 22 years ago. He was at Wired, eating a scone or something, and reading the New Yorker. He told me (after hearing my 1998 story) that my story reminded him of Mabel Dodge Lujan. Then, of course, there is Dennis Hopper…who, while looking for places to film Easy Rider, fell so in love with Taos that he lived there for 40 years.
I am crying as I type this. I do love Colorado. It’s beautiful and full of opportunity and welcoming people (despite the current deluge of 10,000 per month). I’m very alone in the world with no one else to rely on and have to take care of myself financially…and Denver is an economic hot spot. At this point, at 49 and alone for 49 years, I can’t expect that to change. Hope just creates letdown. I have to plan for my future/later years. I don’t want to struggle in Taos with 3 part-time jobs with no benefits. With tears rolling down my cheeks…I feel stuck. I know that my ashes will be sprinkled in Taos someday. I just hope that’s not too late for me to be there.
During my weekend in Taos I got a lot of power numbers, especially 111.
My friend in Massachusetts visited my grave today and placed a sunflower. As if I wasn’t already crying. Thank you, Tumeria. A sunflower turns its face to the sun. Very symbolic.