It has been over 6 Years since I moved out to Colorado on a beautiful March day, awe in my eyes over the sight of the Rockies from the plane. Since leaving Boulder, I have lived in the middle of nowhere North Carolina on a Chinese Medicinal Herb farm; lived and farmed in the bosom of the Cascades and Siskiyou mountains in Ashland, Oregon working in town at an Ayurvedic herb shop; studied the ancient science of self-healing with Dr. Vasant Lad in the Wild West of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I have harvested the fruits of my labor, made lifelong friends, obtained to ability/legitimacy to practice Ayruvedic medicine and teach yoga. I have learned how to live sufficiently in the woods and find direction home. I have glimpsed true contentment into the raw beauty of the earth and have been blessed with a sincere comradery of herbs. Learning their ins and outs. Breathing through the ups and downs. Seen the Painted Desert, evergreen forest, canyons of fern, Zion, tents of rocks, craters of the earth, temples of sand, height of the Red Woods, backwoods of the Appalachia’s, literally driven down the “loneliest road” in America. I have collected things. I have discarded things.
I prepare to move back to Ashland, OR. Sometimes we find ourselves right where we started. The journey but necessary to realize that all we need is in our souls. The painful development to hold the capacity to relate to others. The experience to realize that what does not agree with us allows us the power of clarity to accept what does.
Over the past three years I have lived in Albuquerque, my mailman has been held up at gunpoint in front of my house in the middle of the day and our mail taken, my car was stolen twice- never to be seen again (and yes the doors were locked and there was a club on the steering wheel), I have learned that 98.6% of the population run red lights- every time, have had people recklessly cut me off in traffic and then give me the finger, heard/saw fireworks being thrown at cars by teenagers and legitimately thought they were gunshots, heard outside of my front door gunshots- then racing cars- then sirens, seen drunk people passed out in the middle of the road at 8am and have witnesses hard drug use in broad daylight, heard people walking up and down the street in the middle of the night checking car doors, seen cars on cinder blocks that have been striped to the wire, read in the news about the new "trend" of trucks stopping traffic in the middle of the highway to do donuts, I forgot how to say "hello" to people I pass on the street and have learned not to go to Big Lots on Zuni after dark, or anywhere on Zuni after dark for that matter. That includes the Central Bus line, at any time of the day. 5th most dangerous city in America folks.
But the culture is raw and full of diversity; the rough and dry quality of the lands give the people a harsh and earthly appeal, and when those hot air balloons are in the air, a sense of calm rest over the city. Same goes for the smell of roasting green chilies. Alternative medicine is accepted, supported, and respected. You can see the earth stretch for miles and the colors of the desert shows many shades of one color you never could believe possible. The desert is Beautiful. There is clarity in the vastness and solidity of the Sandia Mountains. Some say the crystals in the mountain are sacred. And the wind is a force that can shake the thoughts right outtaya. Drive for two hours in any direction and there will surely be something awesome to explore. I have called Albuquerque home over the past few years, and am grateful for the intensity of the area to help shape me and toughen' me up.
Oh the wild, wild west it is.