I arrived in Albuquerque two weeks ago to stay with Maryann, the artist from Frederick who had hosted me as I was venturing west. Nothing about going east felt right, ever since I left the Pacific Coast, so I gave in to my intuition who seemed to be shouting at me, “Go back to New Mexico!” And I came back to New Mexico.
It took a good week to readjust to being stationary—not having to set up camp every night, no more looking for public restrooms or wifi or places to fill water jugs. There was a bed that I could temporarily call my own. A place to work. A place to catch up on life.
It might not come as a surprise from those looking in on my life, but it was an unusual feeling for me when, after only a few days—four? five?—I began to feel restless in a way I never have before. It was not the usual feeling of being too sedentary, this was about being stationary rather than moving through the world at rapid pace. It was the beginning of the readjustment period, where my body was no longer getting the sunlight and exercise that it had been, where it was suddenly tired by inactivity, junked up by social media and pop culture, fried by sitting at my laptop day and night to hit deadlines.
Around the 10-day mark, I felt utterly depressed, despite being in the very place I’d longed to be. The lack of stimulation was so great, my whole body was fatigued and went into some kind of spiritual coma.
I had the urge to jump back on the road as quickly as possible, but I had work to do. I need to be here. So I had to relearn how to feed my soul in a totally different environment and under totally new circumstances.
I raised money to buy a guitar, one of the most soul-nourishing things I could do. I began taking daytime and nighttime walks around the neighborhood. I found a theater that screens arthouse films and was able to see “Marianne and Leonard,” which I’d been dying to see for months. I found a park only 10 minutes from here, where I can sit at a picnic table and do my work against the Sandia Mountains behind me, a range that I’ve fallen in love with.
And the rain. When it rains here, it’s an event. They call it monsoon season. For this dry earth, that’s not an exaggeration. They are wild and swift and pound hard rain. Tonight there were flash flood warnings, which seems surreal for a place like this.
As always, I’m finding the balance. I might not be moving so quickly, but this downtime was needed. Last night, I went to Taos for my birthday to see the Paseo arts festival. For anyone who knows me, I’ve been a longtime insomniac and am lucky if I nap once a year. But by the time I got back to Albuquerque today, I walked into the house, took off my boots, and immediately fell asleep for three hours. Sometimes your body will balance things out for you.