I have immersed myself in my friends’ lives (both past and present) for the span of a week. I am so very honored that they have entrusted me to help edit a book retelling their lives. Lives that have not only survived unimaginable events that could have destroyed (both literally and figuratively) most of us, but lives that have thrived in so many ways and went on to benefit others. I get teary-eyed when I think about it. One is a lawyer, the other is a doctor, both are activists. I am in awe of and love these two very much. Soon you will be able to read about it. “Beauty and Beyond” will be coming online and to a bookstore near you.
It’s Carlsbad where I have arrived after my 27 hours of car, train, and waiting time in between. Since I have a limited time here, I want to take advantage of the time with them as much as I can, so we have been immersed in the writing. It’s also been so very hot outside that it is not the place to be. Carlsbad is home to the Carlsbad Caverns which are beautiful and certainly worth a visit but I’ve been there before so not a good enough excuse to play hooky. But since even God rested on the 7th day, on the 8th day they take me to the mountains where they have a few acres. I am going to be a tourist with local guides!
Frank has left the night before and will be meeting us in Mayhill. So it’s a girl’s road trip for Marta and me. We don’t pack because this is going to be a day trip. From Carlsbad, NM to Mayhill, NM is about two hours. But first how can we not stop in a town named Hope? When Marta mentions it she has a twinkle in her eye. I need not wonder why for we arrive in Hope soon enough. It t is soon apparent that this town should change its name. An old building which housed Alice’s Treasure at some point is the first to great us. It initially makes me yearn for my little antique/collectible stall I had in a mall in Orange, CA but this store ended up like mine, shut down and lonely. The Hope Store also is closed. All that is left are the signs. In the “garden” a tractor that is very much like the ones I saw in my birth country of Paraguay. This one has no more life in it.
And then there’s the washing machine which brings me memories of my grandma. I can almost see her squeezing the clothes through the rollers to then hang them in the sun on the clothesline to dry. She was a strong woman. One that took control of the household and smoked cigars she rolled herself.
Surprisingly, this town has a USPS a post office that is large and new-looking. Even though, across the street is the only Fire Department that itself has burned down. I can’t think of no other with that fate. (I would later find out that the Fire Department in Carlsbad had a hotel construction next to it which burned down even with its firehouse next door.) It may be a New Mexico thing. Before we reach Mayhill, Marta wants us to stop at Tom and Pam Runyan Ranches. She wants the owner to meet me. Unfortunately he was undergoing some medical procedure and I didn’t get to chat with him. There’s a petting zoo here. One where a camel and an Asian water buffalo co-exist and, dare I say, have formed a friendship.
In the pen you will also find pigs and goats and a few other species.
It’s a rescue farm and they re-home as many animals as they can. I have a little kitten who hitched a ride in the engine of the car (TWO rides of 20 minutes each!) that I would love to find a home for. But they don’t take domestic pets. Anyone? I will deliver! Here is a picture taken by master Pet with Human photographer Johanna Siegmann.
This metal overgrown rooster has yet to find a home as well. A few signs catch my attention.
And we arrive at their town. It’s only a few blocks long.
Then off to their property to drop off a few things.
We arrive only a few minutes later and pick Frank up to go to Cloudcroft which is 9,000 feet up and a ski haven, therefore a more touristy town.
Our main focus is to buy an incredible piece of pie and a really, really good burrito (not eaten in that order but listed in order of importance).
With our bellies nice and full and our sweet tooth more than satisfied we are ready to move on.
And on we go to Shady Pines. The house of a local woman that holds wonderful classical concerts in the summer.
The place is pretty magical. She is super creative and the garden is chockfull of wonderful plants (she gives me a chocolate mint one, whose aroma later permeates the car and makes me hungry once again), of little quaint areas to rest in, and paths where you can channel your Zen.
Everywhere you look there is something to smile about.
And we head back with a pit stop to take a photo of flowers and bees.
The day after comes my own trip back to Los Angeles.
And I wish not to forget that I would close my blogs with a song. Any song that resonates with me or that catches my attention. So here goes… because this is how I may be feeling.