“Claim your experience, don’t let it claim you.”
I have one more night, here at Casa de Artista, in Abiquiu, New Mexico. I leave tomorrow for Taos, NM where I will stay in The Stargazer Earthship for 10 days. This off grid, solar powered home was the first Global Model Earthship constructed in 2008. It was built within a 650 acre community, the world’s largest sustainable subdivision. I can’t wait because I have a huge interest and passion for alternative living.
It is with mixed feelings that I leave this pueblo, however. I have been amazed everyday by the places I have seen. Even with 15 days here, i feel as though i have barely scratched the surface. But, I have done and seen almost everything I originally wanted to or that was on my ‘list’. If I was to properly write about my experience here, this blog would be longer than one of my favorite books, East of Eden. So in 15 days, these are the places I visited:
Georgia O’Keefe’s home and studio
Ghost Ranch; Chimney Rock; Museum of Paleontology/Anthropology
Dar al Islam Mosque
Christ in the Desert Monastery
Santa Rosa de Lima Ruins
Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Bath House
Tesuque Pueblo Flea Market
Traveler’s Market in Santa Fe
Purple Adobe Lavender Farm
I have done a lot of living in 15 days, without cancer in my face. This is an incredible gift the earth is giving me. My favorite area was Plaza Blanca, the ‘White Place’. The following is what I wrote in my notebook about Plaza Blanca that day.
plaza blanca. the white place. georgia o’keefe painted here. the colors of the white canyons remind me of her home and the color palette she uses. it’s like someone poured left over watercolors over the top of this canyon, a watercolor sundae, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. the vastness of this place is truly deceiving, a hidden gem. the crazy blue sky and the white canyons remind me of the colors of Greece, that I’ve seen in magazines anyways. the colors of coffee and grapefruit, this place is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and i think I’ve had the good fortune and blessing to be able to say that a lot in my life. i say it out loud to myself. why are there not more people here? this confuses me. while people pay a fortune to go to amusement parks and other places that cost money, I’m here, for free, and it’s all mine, for the afternoon anyway 🙂 it just makes it a more special day. not that i dislike people, or amusement park rides for that matter.
i hike in an old dried up river bed. i try to envision what this place would have looked like in the past. the rocks under my feet glow and sparkle, like crystals. i pick one up, carefully choosing the right one, and hold it in my hand while i walk. it’s so warm and pretty. it’s the color of a pearl with peppermint stripes, like Steels salt water taffy on the ocean city boardwalk and the tops of these canyons are covered in what reminds me of sand castle drippings and childhood memories. the wind through the canyons, the sounds of the crows and vultures makes it feel more isolated. i cant write fast enough. as my very good friend said the other day in response to my last entry “i love that you hardly use punctuation because it needs to come out of you so fast.”
we are not supposed to take things from these lands but georgia o’keefe did it all the time! she collected rocks! my secret inner sheller freak is surfacing and i cant help it. if i find a heart shaped stone it’s mine. here’s something you guys may not know, except my mom of course, i collect heart shape stones and shells and rocks in the figure of animals. i know, super weird, but i have some impressive pieces! whatever, some people collect spoons, i collect rocks and stuff.
i hear water. in the middle of the day in this crumbly canyon there is a tiny little trickling waterfall. i will still refer to it as a waterfall, even though it is tiny. i cant see it but i can hear it. so, like a 10 year old i scale the canyon wall, almost fall a bunch of times but i can finally see it. i see the darkness of the pale colored rock, stained from flowing water and i look even further and i see bright green algae. it occurs to me as i try precariously to take a selfie, which i really dislike, but who else is gonna do it, that i am very much alone, should anything happen. like me falling off this canyon. my heart beats a little faster as i climb down, back to the river bed.
an hour after i start the hike i finally get out my ‘real’ camera and i am suddenly stumped. i love to take photos. whether or not I’m any good at it, well thats another issue. how the hell am i going to photograph any of this? i put the strap around my neck, because knowing me ill drop it and my hands feel clumsy as i just blindly start shooting left and right, up and down. it’s as though i have never held a camera before. i don’t know how to even begin capturing this place in a photo. so i think of it like slices on an mri scan or a 3d mammogram. weird analogy i know, but look at the writer.
i think i am smiling the whole time. i feel so free and alone, but not lonely. it makes me sad to leave this place. i will come back here with oskar. the road out of the canyon is unpaved and it follows what i think is the chama river. it is beautiful and as i drive i imagine having a tiny casita along this river, with vegetable gardens and flowers and maybe a couple horses. that is my childhood dream, so i guess not much has changed.
“It was just my imagination, running away with me.” While I am making dinner tonight this song by the Temptations comes on and it is the perfect way to end this day. Today, I am thankful. Today, I didn’t have cancer. Today, I didn’t think about ‘odds’ and if it entered my mind even for a moment, i didn’t care. I realize that I have been given a gift, many in fact. There are people in my life that show me there is a different way to live, to be grateful, to be happy. People that have shown me that it is ok to love my cancer, to make peace with it, to embrace it and use it as motivation to receive everything i want in this life. So as much as I am doing this trip for me, I do it for them and for those who can not.
Signing off for the night…im going to rent the movie city slickers and drink some local wine. Apparently Ghost Ranch, where I hiked today, is a hot spot for movie making. Denzel is filming here! Pretty cool…
Sweet dreams, my friends and family.