I am back in Santa Fe, my home town, at the beginning of my birthday month, about to reunite with friends from way back in high school. There are things that are simply a part of me—the substantial and glorious clouds of New Mexico, the earth-tone walls, the rounded bellies of pueblo pots, the red chili ristras hanging in portals, the honeysuckle and climbing roses and desert plants, the blue corn made into tortillas, the multicultural spirit, always vibrant.
And yet both Santa Fe and I have changed, since I last lived here. I see young people in their finery, about to graduate, having lunch out with their parents and closest friends, and remember my own self here ending school, leaving the known, venturing out.
I’ve come far, to return to my roots with a lot of brave new (foreign) branches. My life has been what, elsewhere? How can I sum it up? Learning, travel, writing, archaeology, love and marriage, losses absorbed, great friends in distant and near places of the world. I’ve worked with court reporters, sailors, city builders, academics, pastry chefs, booksellers (both antiquarian and not); have come to know wonderful islands—Hawai’I, Crete, Mallorca, Sicily; have climbed Alps, baked bread, walked a black Lab on the beach. And even learned to blog! I’ve written more about my life adventures here.
Santa Fe’s changes include chipotle catsup, the Bataan Memorial, pillow covers from Peru and Uzbekistan—things yet somehow integral to its fabric. And mine, as well, have only made me more what I was always going to be.
“We shall not cease from explorationAnd the end of all our exploring will beTo arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time.”—T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding
image: Christie B. Cochrell, Pueblo Bonito, Santa Fe