Home is Where You Plant Yourself

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/13/travel/escapes/13hour.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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I moved back to Austin last spring (April 2014), and spent one (last) summer in Texas. The heat and humidity are something Texans should be proud of their courage to suffer!

I did so for many years but, finally, in older age, I began to get skin rashes (sebaceous dermatitis) that required courses of cortisone and corticosteroid shots. I decided in 2012 to move further west where I knew the air was drier and where any sweat would be wicked away as soon as it appeared. I tried Santa Fe and Taos for two years. The winters were just a bit much for this former Texan.

Now, I have arrived at Silver City, in southwestern New Mexico, elevation 5,000+ feet, a year-round mild climate and all four seasons. In northern New Mexico, Santa Feans are known as “winter wimps.” I guess I’m a bit more than a winter wimp!

I’m so glad to have arrived where fall is still warm (but not too hot), where the skies are New Mexico blue, and the sunsets are, well, just plain fabulous! Where the overlooks in town are hilly and high enough for 360 views.  Where there’s hiking along the Big Ditch and hilly areas in town and also in nearby mountain forests less than 10 miles from town, in the Gila National Forest.

Best of all, there are two rockhound state parks nearby–City of Rocks and Rockhound State Park. At the latter, guests are allowed to cart out 15 pounds of rock that they’ve found or mined themselves. While definitely on the dry side, there are rivers and lakes nearby as well.  Also nearby are the Gila Cliff Dwellings, located in the Gila National Forest about 44 miles from Silver City.

And it’s greener than I expected! This year, there were even floods in and near Silver City from El Nino/El Nina drought/flood cycles so familiar to Texans.

I arrived in mid-October, spent one night in my car in the parking lot at Walmart, then went to the Unitarian Universalist church next day. A small, friendly congregation welcomed me and offered real help, not just advice! I was put up for a couple of nights, then referred to the downtown mission’s women’s shelter.  I can stay here until I have an apartment of my own, possibly as soon as November 3.

The town is small enough that people have country-friendly ways and take the time to chat and help their neighbors.  If I’d come here 30-35 years ago, when I actually had a dream one night about Silver City, I might not have appreciated all it has to offer today. Even two years in Santa Fe and Taos feel like preparation for living here.

I’m planning on staying! Even nomadic types need a home, a place from which to branch out into the world.

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About jillscherb7

Retired intercultural educator & speech/English faculty; traveller to China, Europe-France, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Mexico (who's lived in China & Bulgaria); lover of books, poetry, film, narratives, music & art; sometime book reviewer; and Austinite (Texas, U.S.A.)
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