As I walked out of Hen House with my groceries, he was loading his trunk with his own food supply. He smiled, then asked, “Are you from New Mexico?” He pointed toward the tag on my car: “New Mexico — Land of Enchantment.”
“No,” I said, “but it’s on my bucket list. I would like to go there at least twice each year.”
He then told me he grew up in Ruidoso, moving to Kansas to help his elderly parents. But he missed the rich verdure of the mountains, the vast expanses of desert and the spiritual history of a land with Native American roots.
“I long to go for an extended stay,” I said, “maybe a writing retreat in Santa Fe and Taos.”
“You’ll get there. People who love New Mexico end up living their dreams.”
As I opened my car door, he tipped his hat and said, “Stay enchanting.”
Memories of my last trip to Santa Fe — back in 2012 — brought tears. The research trip for my third novel, “Final Grace for Reverend G.” Deb and I strolling through art galleries, eating multiple recipes dunked in roasted green chiles, each of us finding handcrafted jewelry and colorful broom skirts.
The trip of a lifetime. But did it have to be my last one? Could I not hope for another visit to the Land of Enchantment?
Last week as I shredded old files, I discovered the 2012 papers. A Pueblo Indian blessing scribbled on the back of our hotel bill — words Deb and I both loved — now richer with meaning and almost a foreshadow to losing Deb.
“Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands alone.
Hold on to what you must do even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it’s easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.”
My hope for 2018 includes the wish to return to the land of clay and pottery, brilliant sunsets and artisans camped around every corner. To live in hope involves more than just the every-day-ness of what we must do albeit with a positive outlook and gratitude for what each day adds to life.
Hope also breathes through the impossibilities of reaching the desire of the heart — somehow managing to make it happen. A prayer — a wish — a dream all wrapped in the hope of seeing it come to pass while staying enchanting in the waiting.
A quote from Georgia O’Keefe — resident artist of Santa Fe — ties my hope in a package of possibility. “Once you’ve been to New Mexico, the itch never leaves you.”
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved