It is hard to find the words to describe the last three months of my life in northern New Mexico...especially when my working hours consist mainly of swear words and grunts as I stumble up and down canyons in the darkness. And with it all comes the incredible sunsets watched from the top of remote peaks and mesas most people never venture to. These are the places where words fail me. These are the places that hold so much magic...and beauty...pristine ruggedness.
I never imagined I would live in New Mexico. Maybe it's because I grew up as its neighbor in southwest Colorado. Maybe it's because the only parts of New Mexico I saw were from the backseat of my parents car as we passed through. Maybe because if I was going to be in the desert, I would choose to be in my soul home and childhood playground of Moab, Utah. Whatever the reason, I never expected I'd be here...
And then two years ago, I came to visit one of my best friends in Abiquiu and was blown away. I made the trip from Durango, CO to Abiquiu and Santa Fe several times since and my love for it kept subtly growing...as did my love for my friend. Somehow, the Universe put it all together and brought me here to the most wonderful man and for the coolest, most challenging job. It has been an incredible three months driving all over New Mexico's National Forests -- bushwhacking up and down canyons in total darkness, listening for Mexican Spotted Owls.
It has felt so wonderful to actually be able to use my degree and finally be able to call myself a biologist. I could not have asked for a more exciting first job in my field. Believe me, it has been grueling and extremely difficult at times -- tripping over trees, sliding down skree fields and dirt slopes, running into mountain lions (whoa), and living out of a tent -- but I am so utterly grateful for the experience. For all the times it made me question everything about my career choices, the yelling and cursing through thick scrub oak and falling over burnt trees, the arduous miles up mountains, living by the light of a headlamp, the rocks thrown and silly things yelled at cougars, and getting creative at securing showers when things get real.
I am so grateful to have seen this magical state in such a unique way. The sunsets. The stars. The thunderstorms.... New Mexico is truly enchanting. This landscape is harsh. Rugged. Mesmerizing. Pure magic. There is an energy here that is indescribable -- and I don't think we are meant to put it to words. You just feel it. You just know.
It is found in the kindness of the people. The ancient history. The not so ancient history. The ancestors. The cultural diversities personified in every single thing.
This land is sacred.
This life here is sacred.
I'm so happy to live here.