Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Good Walk

I've always liked the idea of taking daily walks, but only if it involves arriving somewhere different than where I started. Seeing people walk in endless circles around the neighborhood makes me feel slightly embarrassed for them, and a little sad. Like watching monkeys at the zoo.

I've moved around a lot, but I'm finally in a neighborhood where I can take walks and actually get somewhere. Not in the utilitarian sense - I'm not walking to the grocery store or the bank, but to somewhere I can rest for a bit, somewhere inspiring. Since June, I have lived in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, the home of the famous San Francisco de Asis church, which was painted numerous times by Georgia O'Keefe, and photographed by Ansel Adams (and countless others). I can see the steeples from my front porch, and if I walk a little way down my street, I can cut through an almost hidden break in the bushes, cross a board laid over a skinny acequia, and walk through this little grove that opens out into the gravel driveway that circles the church.

 Shortly after I moved here, I found myself drawn daily to take this walk, as if those steeples were whispering my name. This sudden irresistible urge always hits me just before sunset, which is the all-around best time of day in northern New Mexico. This is when everything lights up with magic and you understand why it's called the Land of Enchantment.

So I get to take a little pilgrimage every day. I sneak away from the cacophony of a house full of kids, and step for a spell into a pocket of peace and delight.


  1. It sounds as though your senses are keen and alive to everything around you. It is evident in your writing. I love your title and description. Life is so full of beauty and it is in the simple small things we receive so much joy! I look foward to continue to see your work.

  2. Learning to be alive to what's around me has definitely been a lifelong lesson. I used to be so fidgety and self-absorbed that I wouldn't have even understood what that means.

    What amazes me is how much reading books by authors who possess that ability contributed to my own sensory awakening and awareness.

  3. Your description of New Mexico is entrancing. I went through there by car once back in 1999 and the place did speak bewitchment to me, particularly in that ethereally beautiful sunset hour.

    And I'm glad to know there's somebody else out there who prefers not to end up at the same spot at the end of a walk. I haven't any choice at the moment; if I did, I'd just keep walking and travel around the world that way in a lazy helix. For the nonce I have to content myself with taking a different way back.

  4. I adore the concept of walking in a lazy helix. That's the most poetic thing I've heard all day.



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