Again And Again
I often make reference to a common Looney Tunes trope as a snippet of my adventures through the Land of Enchantment (see Still Kicking from October 2021). It’s always held a soft spot and I even chose it as my placement for the standard sibling Four Corners photo op. I recall in grade school when we each selected a U.S. state about which to prepare a report, I eagerly wanted to choose my home’s next door neighbor, and was elated when my luck allowed me the third out of forty students to stake my claim. Even today I remember key facts: the state flower, the state bird, and, yes, the state capital. We vacationed there since my father’s business territory included the entire state.
My earliest experiences in New Mexico date back to before his first sales call, when we relocated from Colorado to Arizona (see Combing Through My Memories from April 2013). I remember visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park when my brother was an infant forty-plus years ago, and Petroglyph National Monument when Son #1 was a teenager. I touched a sliver in Four Corners more than once, skirted the western edge when moving from Florida to Utah, and crossed I-40 when we moved to the Land of Lincoln. I detoured up Capulin Volcano National Monument on my way to my gig in Wyoming. From the heights of Cloudcroft down to the slopes of the White Sands, New Mexico enchanted me every few years, or whenever I could finally find an excuse to return.
I’ve restarted my life many times. Starting right after I graduated high school when my parents relocated us to the Midwest. I followed along not knowing where I should have moved other than with them, later realizing I ought to have made that left turn in Albuquerque when we drove through on our way from Arizona. After my divorce, when I started adulthood for the second time, I probably should have given New Mexico a whirl. I considered trying my hand as a substitute teacher in the forty-eighth state (a profession I did try at another juncture in my life) but I instead took a one-way flight to Honolulu.
Recently my superhero and I discussed states where we could mutually agree to live, and New Mexico made the cut. When I am depressed, I find myself wishing to journey there. When I crave a more temperate winter, I think of the mountains there. When I recall my last journey on horseback, I know I saddled up there. When I pick a place I someday might consider when I move for the very last time, I want to end there. When I take a wine glass out of my cabinet, I am reminded of the flavors there (see Antioxidants: Wine and Chocolate from September 2021). I wonder now why I am not in New Mexico, since I think of it so often. I can only surmise it is simply because I failed to make one of any number of left turns that would have led me there.