Wednesday, June 6, 2012

La Mesa Living

My new home
I'm a week into my new life in La Mesa, New Mexico, and loving it.

As with any relationship, building a true understanding of the 106 acres of the property will take time.

I've run the perimeter in the cooler morning air, wandered the lane of pecan trees, explored the shrinking lake, and followed the path poetically named Lovers Lane from my adobe house to the older white house on the property, but I still sometimes get turned around.

The Organ and Franklin mountains provide some guidance, but with the fire burning in the Gila National Forest, sometime the smoke shrouds them from view.  On the day I was up on the roof helping the owner fix the swamp cooler and repair some stucco cracks, we could smell the acrid odor of the fire despite its distance-- the largest fire in New Mexico history is busy rearranging the terrain according to her new rules.

Although I've heard tale of the rattlesnakes and javelinas on the property, and seen the water bowl the javelinas opted to toss over one evening, I've yet to those local residents. But the hummingbirds, swallows, doves, quail, starlings, bats, lizards, crickets, mellow bees, less mellow wasps, and spiders galore have all made appearances.
One of the black widows.
 Sure, she doesn't look
like much in a specimen

On Tuesday, the curator of the NMSU Arthropod Collection stopped by and removed two black widow spiders from the garage (one a big, strapping girl), along with a few other spiders. The black widows will now begin their life of fame as they tour through in classrooms -- and I will be less jumpy in the garage eyeing every black dot I see.

Rita and Lucky, the ranch dogs, serve as wagging guides across the terrain and happily, have yet to find the bird (a sandpiper, perhaps?) nesting on the front lawn. Turtles have wandered up to the back door, and so I give them a bit of a bath with the hose -- it's a tough drought in New Mexico, and even sturdy desert animals are beginning to feel it.

I am just beginning to ease into my role as caretaker of the land, flora and fauna. Watering the pecan, mulberry and plum trees, playing with the sprinklers and tending to the lilies and pots of roses and sedum, refilling the hummingbird feeders and the water tub for the bees, keeping an eye peeled for thirsty turtles and, of course, giving dinner to the pups and my aged, well-traveled, purring felines -- all of this provides a level of peace and purpose sorely lacking in my cubicle dwelling days in Takoma Park, no matter how green the running path by Sligo Creek.

The homesteader farmer in me thrills with my new knowledge on how to drive the Kubota tractor to mow the tall weeds by the hacienda. And the remaining urbanite in me rejoices in the speedy Internet that will continue to allow me to work as a writer and connect out in the world.

I packed up my home and life in the Washington, DC area with the idea of changing my life. And while I fully understand that the external doesn't change the internal (the world, however different looking, is still filtered through my skewed subjective view), I do feel as if all the newness and change has woken up my senses, given my eyes and ears and nose and hands something new to feast upon.

My photography already reflects new light and obviously new subjects. My, as yet, brief attempts at painting here have suggested that I best learn to paint faster; 2% humidity dries acrylics up mightily fast, no matter how much medium I stir in. I expect deeper changes in my art and writing to seep in more gradually as I settle into my new home and explore the surrounding areas.

I'm not clear how my New Mexico love affair will develop; as with all love affairs, there are no guarantees. I do know that on this sunny Thursday, I'm enjoying the rush and blush of infatuation and drinking in the joy.


  1. So wonderful reading your post and all the great, new changes in your environment. I could certainly do without the black widow spiders and glad to hear you were able to have them removed. I know they will much more enjoy their life in the "spotlight" and you will be glad not to have to worry about them in your garage. Glad you have not be really effected by the spreading fires in NM and only have the residual smells from the burning. I can remember being in Tucson when a national forest was/had burned and the acrid smell was awful, but the loss was worse.

    Be well and keep the posts coming.

    1. Thanks, Mary Ann! It is lovely here, so I'm looking forward to settling in a bit more. I miss you all!

  2. Looks great Cyn! I've been following your move on FB, glad everything worked out!! Cool photos...!

  3. Looks great, Cyn! Glad the move went well. I've been following you on Facebook!!

  4. You are truly an advertureous woman. I love how exciting all of this is for you. It's really neat that you can be so mulit-faceted that you can enjoy this style of living. It sounds truly relaxing and beautiful. I hope to come visit someday! miss you!

    1. Thanks, Unknown! It's been a big change, but I'm happy about it.