Monday, May 4, 2015
Home to me
I came here nearly nine years ago with my husband and our one-year-old son. I'd never been here before, not even to have a look around. I got off the plane and New Mexico became my home. It was the most adventurous thing I had ever done, but I wasn't afraid, or even worried: my husband had a new job here and I trusted him. He'd never steered me wrong before. He still hasn't. We didn't start out in this house; we rented a different place for over two years, just trying to get a feel for the area and which part seemed like home to us. When we found it, we just knew. We could see ourselves raising our children here, living our lives in a cozy pueblo-style home on a pretty street in a quiet neighborhood. We had fruit trees and a xeriscaped front yard, with a little grassy area and big patios in back.
Do we find our homes or do they find us? I think it's some of each. I know how to live here. I knew which corners were good for toddler time-outs. I know which ones are good for photographing a jar of flowers or a plate of cookies. I know which windows let in the most cricket-song in summertime, for better or worse. I have honeysuckle outside the kitchen window and a tiny ornamental olive tree bowing gracefully near the living room. I have a courtyard draped with wisteria and trumpet vine. There are road-runners, hawks and hummingbirds in droves, practically. I have no illusions that this place is perfect and in fact, there are plenty of things I'd gladly change. But I can live with all of them and I will do so for years to come because they're purely cosmetic, or they're mostly ideas born in flights of fancy about how much better things would be if only, which amount to basically the same thing.
Beyond the house, this land has become my home. My best friendships have been formed under giant cottonwoods in the park, moms seeking shade while our kids (hatted and lavishly sunscreened) play. My marriage has grown and matured here, in some part due to long walks in the Bosque and night drives in the foothills. This is the place where I've learned to take small steps toward self-sufficiency and where I've made parenting decisions I know I wouldn't have considered before. Here, I've learned to recognize a Zia symbol and to love chile (green, please). I know the weather patterns now, the parched times and the stormy times, when we can expect icy gales and lowering clouds and when we can sit in the backyard, glass in hand, staring at the open sky. I've grown accustomed to short winters and long summers, springtime dust and autumn's spicy smoke. My eyes are used to the mountain and the glittering nighttime mesa. I'm used to the sunsets too, but I still try not to miss a single one.