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. 🙂