This morning I put on my Under Armour and ventured out, as I usually do, for a quick run up and down the streets of my neighborhood at Ute Lake. I was lucky enough to run into my friend Susan Vandiver – she’s an appraiser and realtor in Albuquerque, but she loves her lake house, and spends as much time here as possible. She asked me how things were going with my new boyfriend (not so new now – we’ve been together for almost a year) and I said, “Great. I’ve learned to stop thinking so much and just relax and enjoy it!” She smiled – we’re the same age, and she knows I’ve been, in the past, filled with angst about the fact that Dave is thirteen years younger than me (does he realize those are crow’s feet, not laugh lines? Does he notice that I wear turtlenecks more than women in their 30’s? Does it matter that “perky” is not necessarily an adjective that anyone would assign to any part of my body?). But now I’ve decided just to relax and enjoy it. Evidently he doesn’t care about the stuff that bothers me, and I shouldn’t either.
But what Susan said next really caught my attention. She said, “Wow! That should be the title of a book. Relax And Enjoy It.”
I don’t know about a book, but it got me to thinking about how that really is what we do best in New Mexico. We truly relax and enjoy it. Yeah, I know – most of us have jobs, and most of us have stressors in our lives that take up some portion of our energy, but we have the amazing talent to set that stuff aside in our down time. Some of us ride our bikes along the clear ditch to the Botanical Gardens in Albuquerque. Some of us hike Hyde Park above Santa Fe, or spend an hour in the tubs at Ten Thousand Waves. Some of us take our kids dune sliding at White Sands. Or we climb Wheeler Peak. Drink beer at Molly’s Tavern in Tijeras Canyon. Dance in the dirt at the ballpark in Madrid. Fish for trout at Eagle Nest Lake. Go four-wheeling in Mills Canyon. Read the inscriptions at El Morro. Buy rugs at the Crownpoint Auction. Water ski at Navajo. Catch a record walleye at Ute Lake.
We’re really good at this in New Mexico. I can relax and enjoy this amazingly fun new phase in my life because I’ve been so well trained all my life. Even when I was a child, taking a book to the treehouse was encouraged by my parents. They let me loose on a bicycle and I wandered the dirt roads around the farm for hours, only running home when I ran over a rattlesnake. We swam in the lake. Our summer vacation, taken only when it rained so much that we couldn’t get into the fields to plow, was spent with five or six other couples and a pile of kids (all farmers in Quay County) at Tres Ritos or Cimarron Canyon, either in tents or cabins for two or three days. We learned that when the opportunity arose, our job was to throw our sleeping bags in the back of the pickup with a cast iron skillet and a cooler of food and head for the hills.
So, yeah, I’m relaxing and enjoying it. It’s what we do here in the Land of Enchantment.