I retired. I moved into a small town where I didn’t know anyone. There was — and still is — so much I didn’t/don’t know. For example, I bought a small economy car that gets good gas mileage, but I hardly ever drive. I was still living in the life of 100+ miles per week and $4/gallon. I could have bought a truck, but I didn’t know… The house I really wanted? I could have offered half what they were asking and gotten it. I didn’t know. I was used to the extremely competitive seller’s market I’d moved away from. I didn’t know that within two years I’d be walking two miles and more at a good clip or that the stairs in the house I really wanted wouldn’t be such a big deal. I didn’t know that I would frequently have company and need the numerous bedrooms and two baths in the house I really wanted that this house doesn’t have.

I also thought I knew myself, but I didn’t. I’ve made a lot of discoveries since I started this life of retirement and solitude. I thought I knew where I was, I mean geographically, on the map, but I didn’t. I didn’t realize until recently that I moved to the part of the map where I had, long ago, dreamed of living. My whole focus when I found my town was north, east and west. I hadn’t thought “south.” But I am very close to the border of New Mexico, very close to Taos and Santa Fe and the high road that connects them. I live here, at the north end of the land of the Conquistadores, New Spain.

Sometimes I can’t believe my internal compass brought me here.

Again, I thought I knew those places — irrespective of the changes that are inevitably wrought by time, but I didn’t know those places, not really. I still don’t. Among the discoveries has been the Rio Grande Gorge, a little Grand Canyon, a place I had heard of from one of the men I have been in love with during my life as a great place to raft.


Now I’ve seen it and it’s one more amazing thing in this strange new life. I’d say that pretty much every single day I discover something new about where I live and I’ve come to understand that this transitional moment (which has been longer than I expected it would be) is more about learning who I am and where I am than anything else. I thought of how long it took me to actually LIVE in San Diego. It was a five year process, bridging the distance of self and place. I think this discovery process will take at least that long.

P.S. I didn’t take the photos… I wish I had. They had to have been taken from a helicopter. 🙂

20 thoughts on “Discoveries

  1. Those are such amazing photos, especially the featured one. The way you captured that swirling sky, while leaving all the other details so crystal clear, is truly awe inspiring and that’s not hyperbole. I wish you the best in re-learning yourself. It sounds like you have a chance for a great life there.

  2. I only came across you today and this post is that bridge that’s leading to realizing that there is that one place – actual of figurative – where we are meant to be. This resonates with me, a whole lot, it’s kinda scary. I do my best to now worry, I know I am on my way “there” and I also understand that until the end, there will be things I still would not know, and not necessarily in comparison to the amount of I don’t knows I have now. Thank you for this post.

      • Could we have coped with it earlier, when we were busy being what we had to be to do the things we had to do? Don’t know. Or maybe the knowledge has been seeping in for years, and it’s only now we have the time to recognise it. I think we’re lucky, though. Some people are their jobs, and lose themselves completely when they stop work.

      • I realized not long ago that I could have come here in 2003, but I didn’t. I could have gone anywhere I wanted but I stayed in California because I liked my work and I couldn’t imagine leaving THAT job even with — I would have had $250k. It didn’t occur to me to take the money from selling my house and going anywhere. I could kick myself, but I also saw from that how much it meant to me back then to be the teacher that I was at the time. So maybe it’s that “to everything there is a season” thing. I’m just happy and grateful that somehow I found my way here.

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