I arrived in Albuquerque two weeks ago to stay with Maryann, an 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, which seemed to be shouting at me: “Go back to New Mexico!”
So I came back to New Mexico.
It took a good week to readjust to being stationary—not having to set up camp every night, pack up in the morning. 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 ... everything.
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, 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 rapidly.
It was the beginning of the readjustment period, where my body was no longer getting the sunlight and exercise it had been, where my mind and body were suddenly sluggish by inactivity, junked up by social media and pop culture, fried by sitting at my laptop for 10+ hours a day to hit freelance deadlines.
Around the 10-day mark, I fell into a complete depression, despite being in the very place I’d longed to be. The lack of stimulation was so great, my whole body 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 needed to stay here.
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 wanted 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. These quick but swift storms are wild and pound hard. Tonight there were flash flood warnings.
As always, I’m finding the balance. I might not be moving so quickly, but this downtime was needed. Last night, I went to the the Paseo Arts Fest in Taos for my birthday. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been a longtime insomniac and am lucky if I am able to 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.