"Are you writing?" asks my mother.
"Are you drawing?" asks Joe.
I'm a little preoccupied with not dying, but thanks for monitoring my (total lack of) creative output.
No one asks "What are you working on?" in Santa Fe. Everyone's too busy laying adobe or inlaying silver to care.
Between acupuncture, four-hour shamanic healing sessions, long nights spent getting to know the toilet (cradling, embracing, teetering over, squatting atop, kneeling in front of, and racing to get to), and days at a time in bed, I've slipped out and sniffed around a bit. A few observations:
1. New Mexicans are directionally challenged and addresses are a highly guarded secret. Ask anyone how to get to Place X and they'll give you a rambling monologue wholly devoid of street names or accuracy, instead urging you to "go left at the Sonic – or is it right? Well, it sort of loops around and then look for a blue pickup truck next to a tumble weed and turn there."
2. There exists here a phenomenon known as "weather. " The vast expanse of sky is like an ever-changing abstract installation worthy of wonder and lengthy stints spent watching and appreciating. When those clouds move and morph, it generally portends a change in atmospheric conditions which manifests in sudden downpours, hail, thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes.
Global warming is very exciting here in the Southwest.
3. Ten Thousand Waves sucks. I know it tops all those "Things to Do in Santa Fe" lists, but trust me, as far as spas go, it's overrated. The setting is lush and pristine and breathtaking, high up in the Santa Fe Ski Summit. It's set-up like a Japanese spa with private baths and communal baths and treatment rooms and whatnot, and overrun with uptight tourists, saggy and bloated, tittering nervously in (and out of) stiff standard issue kimonos, waiting for massages and body wraps, testing out the murky waters, all nervous and twitchy around the exposed genitals (Did I mention it's clothing optional?) and the lightning (Did I mention I visited during a hail storm?).
I got a half-hearted massage from a big, beefy dyke who claimed to "love working on the neck," and then spent the next fifty-five minutes avoiding mine. I called in my complaint a day later and was rewarded with a fluffy robe and an eighty-five minute "Masters Massage," that proved delightful, in spite of the spa's stilted vibe and total lack of flow.
4. The Whole Foods has little in the way of organic produce, but boasts a bitchin' bin food section. It's much harder to steal from New Mexican Whole Foods than the ones back home - security, and all.
Score one for L.A.
5. The sweetest spot I've found is a little cabin up in Trout Springs where red-tailed hawks soar over lush, oak-dotted hills, fat snakes sun themselves on the windy road that takes you there, and a rocky, rushing river lulls you (as in me) into the sweetest sleep you've had in years. Rhonda the set dresser invited me up to her family's compound where I spent two days lolling beneath a fat shade tree, watching birds, slapping at horseflies and experiencing something like serenity, with some itchy sprinkled on top.
I enjoyed it so much that I'm heading back up there today, provided I can find the jagged wooden fence next to the yellow bush that indicates a turn of sorts.