It’s a strange feeling to roll into this city of Albuquerque in the middle of nowhere, and then sit here, on the sidewalk of the main street of the university, looking at the mountains that hover over this place. They are beautiful. This scenery is spectacular, but I wonder what people do here.
I wait on the sidewalk for Judith—a friend of an east coast friend—to get back home so I can stay with her for a few nights of rest. My travel companions went up to Santa Fe, New Mexico’s main tourist city one hour north of here. Meanwhile, I speak to a Spanish-speaking man who is selling Mexican items to a store owner. It’s nice to hear his accent. Reminds me of Spain.
Judith meets me and shows me her house. She tells me about her life, of how she lived two years in South America. It’s comforting to be welcomed by someone who seems an older version of myself. As evening arrives in a light rose sunset over mountain stone, I begin to feel increasingly moved by this land and place. I feel at home and yet am confronted by this dizzying feeling of being too isolated. A part of me misses the rat race, or more specifically a place where people are driven.
Albuquerque reminds me of when I traveled to the interior of Argentina, to small towns near the mountains where time stopped and only candlelight lit up our nights. It almost seems too easy being here—so peaceful that I have no reason to build tension in my life. Yet there’s something attractive about tension, about the need to create beyond what’s already given to us in the beauty of the land and sunny weather.
As the sun goes down, a gentle breeze blows into the house and onto the porch. I wonder if people dance in this place like I did in New York City, or whether they all go to bed early. An airplane flies above, modernity echoing against the quiet pavement. From the intense, heavy, purposeful place like New York City, where I had lived, this is still quite a shift, and I’m ready.
Or at least I think I am.
Have you ever been in a place where time stopped? What was it like?
Michelle Adam is an experienced writer, teacher, and healer. She recently published her novel, Child of Duende, after twenty-plus years as a magazine and newspaper writer. Her articles have appeared in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine; Hibernia Magazine, an Irish magazine; Vista Magazine, a Hispanic insert of major national newspapers; and multiple other publications.
Michelle has also been a photographer and artist; has taught middle school students Spanish for the past dozen years; and has worked as a healer and shaman. Michelle has created healing and teaching circles of song and sound, assisting others in awakening the spirit of the earth, “duende,” within them, and creating a space for the celebration of life.