While traveling through the Southwest last fall, we stayed for five weeks outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the small town of Pecos. It was the ideal writer’s retreat for me.
New Mexico has a way of lifting your spirits and coaxing the creativity out of you. I felt connected to my work and myself while there, and fully re-energized by the time we left for other adventures.
I sometimes dream of returning to Pecos: both the place and the state of mind.
Our temporary home in Pecos was built by the hands of its owner, Jen Alexander, an artist. Some of her paintings and photographs adorned the walls.
One photo of hers I particularly liked called “Tumbleweed Haiku” (see above) hung in the loft that I had adopted as my workspace. The image captures a lone tumbleweed making its way along a meadow lined with trees.
While I realized that the photograph might strike some people as sad or lonely with its stark elements and dark colors, I preferred to think of the journey that tumbleweed was making. It was going places in what appeared to be a winter landscape. In a time of quiet, it was on the move.
We left Pecos on the winter solstice and made our way to Monument Valley and then Moab for Christmas. Perhaps people found it strange that we would choose quiet solitude for the holidays, but for us in 2021—a far from normal year—it was perfect.
Your journey doesn’t have to make sense to everyone. It just has to make sense to you.
Sometimes I feel the need to bounce around, to see things, to shake life up. And sometimes I yearn to stay put. In tumbleweed parlance, I have learned to give myself permission to roam the open fields or nestle against a fencepost when it suits me.
Perhaps people would consider me restless or unconventional, but that’s fine with me. Instead of holding back the urge to explore, I find a way to let it lead me along. It’s all part of my path and finding my own unique way in life.
Jen’s photograph prompted me to write a haiku, which I’ll leave you with here:
Tumbleweed freed Driven by wind's urging Finding life in turn