When I lived in CO I was at my call center job on a Thursday in March irritable and buzzing with restlessness.
Between calls, I pulled up a map and thought, I can't go there, I can't afford that, I don't have time for that...but what IS doable?
I realized I was only 2 hours and 15 minutes away from Raton, New Mexico. I Googled pictures of Raton and it didn't look special or beautiful, but it was New Mexico and it was available to me.
So, I just...went. I went home and changed, bought myself three tacos and listened to the same music I'd heard live at the Red Rocks all the way to New Mexico.
The sun was heavy and warm for March, and it became brilliantly bright as the city peeled back to reveal rocky, straight-lined mountains and blue sky.I drove through the desert and what I remember, as I always do, is that light. How strong it was. How it felt like I was driving toward the sharp edge of the earth.
I arrived to find the town looked exactly as one might portray a small town in New Mexico on TV. Boarded-up windows; rock and dust; three horizontal stoplights and women with orange hair getting gas at the station. I spent approximately 30 min in Raton before I got back in the truck and sped home.
I know my mom thought it didn't make much sense, and probably a lot of other people didn't either. In fact, I had a family invite me over for dinner that night for fear I wasn't okay. But, I was. Really. I think what would have made me not okay, is not going.
We receive a message as adults that logic equals responsibility. It doesn't. Logic encourages responsibility, and much of responsibility is rooted in logic, but what exactly is irresponsible, or illogical, about exploration? Adventure? Observing a microscopic New Mexico town for thirty minutes before returning to a beautiful, stretching highway of light?
We have to feed our souls. We have to build the things that build us into our oftentimes repetitive schedules. Creativity, discovery, curiosity, compassion, connection -- these things drive us, feed us. They matter.
Nowadays if I fall asleep restless, I always dream of that bright highway.
Raton, New Mexico // March 2017