Sunday, August 10, 2014

So Easy to Get Sidetracked

Sunset on the Sturgeon Moon

New Mexico may be the land of manana (not necessarily tomorrow but some day to be named in the future) because of sunsets (and sunrises). Or it may be because it attracts artists, writers and other introverts. Believe it or not we do not move here for fiestas. And those that do will soon leave.

A few of us old timers were sitting around at the art reception yesterday talking about what we know and those newcomers do not. And we were laughing over tales of how they were going to transform our sleepy little community. Nobody ever asks if we want it transformed. If they did the answer would be no.

We moved here because in the midst of performing some task on the computer or cleaning the kitchen we will look up and see the clouds transform as the sun sets and drop everything to grab the camera to catch yet another stunning sunset or sunrise. The camera is not necessary; a cup of coffee will do. Actually the sunrise or sunset is also not a requirement. Any clouds will work.

A noisy sky
Okay, I confess, the clouds are just an excuse. Other excuses that work are to smell the air, listen to the silence, enjoy a large cloudless sky, watch the hawks soar overhead (ravens and even buzzards work).

I worked my little (I confess big) butt off (sadly it is still there) getting ready for my solo show, all the time promising myself that as soon as it was hung I would catch up with all I was avoiding. Well, it has been more than a month. But I do now have a list. Two lists. My list. And the list of an odds job client which pays. And here I sit waiting for this morning's dawn. Getting up from this blog every few minutes to check on status of the sun and the level of coffee in my cup. Mornings are my absolute favorite here in the land of enchantment.

Dawn after the rains

I have a friend who wants to spend winter in Florida and fails to understand why I have not jumped at the chance to escape New Mexico with her. Might be nice to go someplace but not Florida. I could not stand the noise or the traffic or the pesticides or the crowds. The beach would be a nice retreat but only without people. Perhaps some deserted isle. But I absolutely love the "between times" here in New Mexico. Between the tourist swarms. It returns to the New Mexico I grew up in and I wonder why we worked so very hard to attract tourists. Or if it is worth the expense. Even in the days when travelers were courteous and polite and clean and in manageable numbers they were hard to take at peak times. We told ourselves it was a way to afford living here. Now tourists can be compared to a swarm of locusts.

Second home owners and those on retreats are different. They come here to be sidetracked and they arae out with their cameras or cups of coffee enjoying the air and silence and dawns and sunsets. But tourists, in the worst sense of the word, come here in packs for short periods of time to be entertained. And figure all the laws and rules of behavior which applied back home do not here. In fact, the worst ones (the ones that give tourists a bad name here and abroad) think we ought to change our way of life to accommodate them better.

So in the quiet space after the main reception yesterday, when the only ones left were us old timers, the conversation changed to whether we benefit from tourists these days or are they are rapidly becoming a financial and ecological burden we cannot afford. And then how to attract the cultural tourist who liked what we had here. On to how things had changed in the 20 plus years most of us have been in New Mexico and this valley. On to the drought and ever shortening ski season.

We are easily distracted in conversations too. Maybe it is looking too much at clouds, and birds, and elk and deer. We adjourned our informal conference with no answers or solutions. We are used to living in the questions like all mystics and philosophers on mountain tops. 

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