Day 14: I-25 NM Decisions & Conclusions

September 29, 2016

By this time, I knew I’d obtained an overwhelming amount of positive new experiences, befriended a vast variety of new people, and achieved a greater sense of intuition than I could have ever fathomed before my experiences. All those minerals floating around in the dry air and all those warm smiles and bright, wise eyes I encountered had such an impact on my spirit along with my life perspective. As I drove north, I could feel those threads of destiny that pulled me to Silver City had not particularly been attached to the land itself, but rather to the people. Particularly those people who happened to have gravitated to Lora’s house during my journey.

There were just too many options at this point, and for some reason I still couldn’t withstand Silver City’s wind and dark skies frazzling my thoughts. I realize, now, that I must express gratitude towards these plentiful options and opportunities handed down to me in not only one, but every place I went. God and the Universe/ Universal God had been abundant with grace towards me throughout this 14-day trip so far. I could not express any complaints, even when I was faced with the minor underlying health issue that has a tendency to bog down my energy levels at the perfect timing.

I believe this minor health issue causing fatigue is more of an intuitive awareness test, letting me know when something needs to come to an end. For example, it’s been very assertive in indicating whenever I should end a job and start something new. And if it’s not fatigue, it’s a cold (like when I resisted the urge to move out of my apartment). This time, I was being encouraged to take with me my new skills and assets I’d gained from this venture and head back north.

I left with impactful embraces from Lora, Laura, and Rob, and equally impactful words of wisdom from all of them:

“Just remember, you don’t have to have your whole life figured out right now. You’ll probably end up doing lots of jobs and projects and travel ventures in your life, and that’s okay.”- Rob

“I hope you feel pulled by something divine.” -Laura

“Don’t take yourself too seriously.” – Lora

It was especially hard to leave these three people, but they were all leaving on their own separate journeys in the following days anyway. At first I thought maybe I’d show up in Albuquerque to rest and maybe stay for a portion of the hot-air balloon festival. As I was driving, I didn’t feel that was a necessity anymore although I’d fallen in love with Albuquerque’s people and culture and could have stayed the full year. I was craving water. Some kind of water landscape that is more lush than the desert, perhaps where the rivers flow?

Finally, I surrendered to faith and made a deal with God and myself: Whenever my knees get too stiff and the sun begins to set, I’ll settle. 

Lora’s repetition of my own words came to me, “Remember, don’t take yourself too seriously.” Not permanently. Well, I mean, if the place seemed like a good, magical match for me then I would have. So I drove as far north as I possibly could, first diving as far south as I could to avoid the mountains this time to Las Cruces instead. The wispy clouds and the hard-rugged mountains were unbelievable to me. I’d never seen such projected shapes in nature before. For some reason, I felt like stopping at a Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage just because I was craving something familiar in the southmost part of my journey.

The scape of Las Cruces was uncannily familiar to me as it resembled Casper, Wyoming… and by driving with the intention of finding Natural Grocers as though I were driving in Casper, I found it intuitively in less than five minutes. I was so happy to set foot in this place that felt like home to me, and experienced the urge to shop for everything; however, I didn’t exactly need anything or have the capacity to carry produce back in a warm car. (If you are reading this and care to read my next post, this has a significant point.)

There were places I passed along the way that were originally on my list of destinations (i.e. Taos, Santa Fe). Even writing these two places brings joy to my fingertips. They are still in the sphere of possibilities. But like I said, why present myself with even more opportunities where of course, they could work out, and I would be forced to choose?

Maybe you’re thinking, “What’s wrong with her? Why can’t she just fall in love to end her story and make it easy on herself? Why does she try so hard choosing this solo wandering lifestyle?” similar to what my grandfather inquires frequently. Well, you can “fall in love” in any town you wish. I’ve found this especially true since I’ve met many parallel lives to people I knew before. You know- same eyes, same soul. I think the ones that are harder to see doubles of are the ones who are of yourself, since you are one of them and this decreases the odds.

However, if the resistance to fall in love still persists, this indicates you must still travel further and continue learning more about yourself. Maybe the truth is that you already know everything about yourself before you begin your travels, but there are more ample opportunities to see yourself in the eyes of others whom you don’t see on a daily basis where you normally reside. And perhaps you are a stubborn old soul, old as a hummingbird petroglyph, who won’t simply settle and in fact has no idea how to, which eventually becomes a burden to both yourself and those around you. So there you go: the truth in a nutshell in the middle of this essay.

I stalled in some towns and pondered the mysteries of this side of the desert state, ending up in Las Vegas, NM as the sun began to set. I pulled into town and marveled at the bushiness of the trees and the sharp rays of sunlight pouring through their branches; at the children playing in the yards; at the townsfolk laughing with one another. This particular neighborhood residential area was beautiful and reminded me Cheyenne’s historic downtown.

The sun was still too bright for me to settle, though I knew this was an ideal town to stay in for the night and my over-thinking mind led me straight to all the budget hotels.

So for another unexplainable reason, I kept on driving. I glanced over my shoulder to the left as I was encompassed by the majesty of the San Luis Valley of my ancestors to the most breathtaking soft-blue hue over the mountains and the Plains -esque valley. The cool colors in the clouds cast an array of lovely light into the land. I wanted to stay in Wagon Mound, where my grandfather was from, but quickly realized there were no hotels and possibly no inhabitants at all in this town. While I was there, I drove up to the “mound” overlooking the graveyard where I’m sure many ancestors lie. The lighting at this time of day was enamoring.

Taking the advice of my aunt whom I called since she had just been in this area the day before, I drove forty miles north to Springer, New Mexico. I was perceiving this to be near the border of Colorado but it was not quite that way in reality.

The colors of the sky were deepening, casting a fearful vibe into my already-tense body. I drove past two motels on the short, very rundown main street and then finally spotted one that appeared somewhat intriguing: a painted adobe called Broken Arrow. By this point, my knees were definitely aching stiffness to a near-extreme degree.

Tense as I was from the drive, I came off as skeptical and irritable to the owner who was still gracious to me. I asked him where the closest place would be to pick up something to eat, and he replied, “Probably about four miles out of town… unless you want to eat roasted green chilis and tortillas with us out back!”

I gave in to this offer that seemed too good to be true, as I could smell the aroma of green chilis roasting in the crisp evening air. While I attempted to unlock the door to my room  Jay’s wife, Frances, came over to point out I was trying to use the spare key to my cousin’s house I accidentally stole from her in Idledale, CO (near Evergreen). I was actually impressed and proud of myself this had been the single thing I’d forgotten throughout the course of my journey! With my scattered mind, the average rate would have estimated at least one item left behind in every stopping point. I had multiple methods of returning this to my cousin, but this was obviously signifying the key to something I would later figure out.

I tasted chilis of varying spice levels with the owners, their son, and their family friend. In exchange for the chilis and tortillas, I brought down my guitalele to play for them. We built a fire to sit around and had warm discussions. I agreed to come back for the infamous Bean Day festival in Wagon Mound, where people who originated from this area. Montana happened to also have family from Wagon Mound. We assume this is where life on Earth apparently originated, now left mysteriously desolate in the middle of the San Luis Valley. We spoke about the linguistics of New Mexico. Everyone here had such a familiar, comforting dialect to me and this was because it was that of my dad’s family.

“Thank you for being here. Thank you for… just you,” they said.

Singing, talking, eating chilis, and laughing around the fire proved to fulfill my journey’s end. I felt full near the end of it. I was feeling in sync with the Universe… and during this visit to Springer, New Mexico, it became clear that hummingbirds and butterflies were not the only wild creatures I was in direct communion with. Immediately when I mentioned cats flocking to me in every location I went, a wild cat came running to the back porch, meowing passionately and relentlessly as though she’d heard me talking about her behind her back.

The  fullness I felt was more because of the pure sincerity of these people I’d just met, I was sure. This was yet another instance in which I felt I’d formed family connections in a foreign town with a population of 1000 this time, so practically half of it.

But it was true about the cats: throughout my journey I’d become acquainted and somewhat attached to around 30 cats. After time around the fire, I was able to console this wild, lost cat wandering around frantically in search of something. Her meow was loud and relentless as she paced back and forth. When she ran to me and allowed me to hold her, it was a precious moment. I  was so tempted to take her with me; I knew we were so much alike in many ways and would make great companions for one another. In the morning, I could still hear her meowing.

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