My Lover, Santa Fe, New Mexico

There are three categories of people in regards to Santa Fe; those who just get it, those who just don't get it and those who act like they get it. Yes, Santa Fe can be a bit of a cliche' in its extravagance, expensive properties and over-the-top hotels but there's a whole other side of it that most people (mainly tourists) don't get to see. It's beyond the historic square and far into the bowels of its crooked, narrow streets. It's the world of people who "just get it."

I love Santa Fe. That's no secret, especially to my closest friends who roll their eyes every time I say its name or sing its praises. I'm one of those that "gets it." Why do I get it? I'm glad you asked. Being the artsy/creative type I feel drawn to Santa Fe's spiritual epicentre just like many of my kind do. As cheesy as it may sound, when you arrive there you just feel it. There's no other way to describe it but that way and no amount of descriptions will do it justice but, I will at least try.

When first moving there, to attend creative writing school, I was amazed at the incredible stark beauty, vivid colors and exceptional light. The contrast of shadows against primitive adobe buildings and homes was stunning, to say the least. We arrived at my new apartment and as the hours progressed into my moving, it began to sink in. A radiance of sorts. Like a warm hearth placed into my chest just below my heart. It was at that moment that I understood what everyone was talking about.

My parents helped me unpack into my tiny adobe apartment and stayed for a few days. After their departure, I decided to take a long, evening walk into the vacant grounds that surrounded my apartment complex. It was some time in February so the air was cold and fresh and the smell of burning pinon filled the air. That warm hearth within me began to radiate a bit more and the desert beauty surrounding me began to intensify. I sat down on the desert floor and wept. The reason for this I can only explain as there being just too much beauty to take in at one time or, maybe it was a releasing of demons of sorts? Who knows.

I visited the square often and observed people of all types and genres. The homeless and hippies to the yuppies and "new agers." The gaudy New York transplants to the shy, artsy types (like me). Even the Native Americans selling jewelry on the sidewalk as an act of reverse exploitation to the throngs of Caucasian tourists. I found it so amusing that in return for taking their land, the Indians charged exorbidant amounts for jewelry that cost very little for them to make. Classic!

Again, I digress. I guess in a sense Santa Fe became my lover and best friend. She introduced me to her children in bars and restaurants who genuinely asked me, "Hey man, how are you?" and meant it. Her kisses were disguised as the snowflakes that fell in December and the rains of September. She fed me through the loving hands of chefs and cooks in the many wonderful kitchens throughout the city. She embraced me with blankets of Juniper and Jasmine and warmed me with burning cedar and pinon.

I loved her completey, as she loved me, but in the end I took her for granted. I got caught up in the corporate world and lost sight of her beauty. I wouldn't sleep outside under her pristine skys anymore and ignored her children. For this she spit me out, like a scorned lover, until I changed my ways. I returned after three years only to be spit out again but was welcomed to return when I was ready. I'm still not ready and don't even know if I ever will or want to be. Loving her, or anything for that matter, from afar allows less of a chance for them to be taken for granted. That, my friends, is why I love Santa Fe. I hope you understand now.

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