We fired up the old bus, Miss Shelley, for a springtime tour of the land. Up and down mesas, along dirt roads and highways and foot-trails we went, getting a little lost, but even more found.
A night on the banks of the mighty Pecos river, doves singing in the willows, children playing in the dirt, light falling in unexpected ways, a burst of rain, an old lowrider cruising slowly past the cows.
Back in time to the old red rock villages hiding like forgotten gems in the piñon juniper scrub. Past acequias flowing full, and freshly tilled fields flooded with that snowmelt bounty.
We’ve traveled this stretch of land many times, but each time we crest the horizon it is to find the mountains and mesas opening anew, bigger than before. There are layers upon layers of history to peel back, roots to sink deeper, stories to discover and tell.
When we pause to listen and look, or at least travel very slowly (as Miss Shelley loves to do), it all comes pouring forth.
We’re Universe in a Grain of Sand people, my husband likes to say. Oh, New Mexico, you might be sandy, but you are home.
Another ski date, this week. Oh, I love when it is perfect, that snow.
Just as good as that was the very ordinary family hike in the foothills this morning. We moseyed along a stream bubbling with snowmelt, the air full with the smell of willow trees before they bloom with spring leaves. Little feet splashing in mud, sliding on ice. Little hands holding our big ones.
And a very special treat was a hike with a friend and her baby (mine were home with papa). So much talking and sharing, so much to say about life and motherhood and marriage. So much sun shining on our faces.
Sometimes it is hard to get out on the land, away from our obligations and the busyness that creeps in even when we are always on guard against it. Sometimes it is a great push (against whining and time constraints, stress and no snack) to claim this space for ourselves and or families. To insist upon it.
It is a holy thing to me, these hours spent wandering our homeland. These mountains have carried us through the seasons–from winter on into spring and beyond, from our free and easy years into the slower footsteps of family life.
When we are planted in place, I’ve noticed, we can’t help but grow.