The Next Adventure

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“So you’re in the adventure phase of your life,” Joanne said to me.  I met her yesterday at a meeting I was facilitating in Phoenix, and at the lunch break she asked me about my decision to leave my job two years ago.  She was curious about the consulting work I’ve been doing and asked what kind of writing I do.  It was after I described all the unexpected experiences of the last two years, beyond the writing and consulting, that she made the comment about adventure.  “Yes,” I said to her.  “That’s a great way to describe what my life feels like.”

And now David and I are on what is labeled on my calendar as our Southwest Adventure. Tonight we’re in Santa Fe, visiting our friend Marsie, and tomorrow we head off to Arizona, then southern Utah, then back to Santa Fe, for a couple of weeks of hiking and taking in the stunningly scenic geography of this area of the country.

We started our adventure this morning with a short hike.  Afterwards we had lunch at the roof top cafe of the La Fonda Hotel, overlooking downtown Santa Fe, then meandered through the Plaza and some galleries.  When we got back to Marsie’s house, David sat out back on the patio, writing.  He read some of what he’d written to Marsie and me as we were preparing dinner, and I asked if I could use it here.  He said yes, so here it is, an amazing description of an amazing hike.

We hiked in Hyde Memorial State Park, northeast of Santa Fe, taking a 3 mile route, climbing 1000 feet to 9400 feet in the first mile, tasting high altitude for the first time and knowing we were quickly working at our limits of oxygenation.  Resting, slowing our pace, hydrating, all helped and it was a good way to start, lovely to climb on trails of bark mulch and graded pebbles, away from the road and into the sharpened focus of dry air. The edges of everything are razored clean, and the open space between trees, their undressed branches weave muscled lines of bonsai against the sky, the shimmering needles.  The blue is so deep and bottomless as to be flat.  It appears in the same plane as everything in the foreground, but is so obviously vast and distant, literally out of this world, that it stops the mind, effortlessly arresting the chatter.   The breezes, the temperature, the immediacy of the sun on our bodies heighten a sense of being in two places at once.  Something turns inside out on itself before this sky.  — David 

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