The soft morning breeze rustled the leaves of the trees outside of the snack bar where I was buying a bottle of water. I was enjoying a short break between halves of a writing workshop in Santa Fe, and I had a lot to think about concerning a sample story that I had written for this event. The workshop leader was speaking terms that I had never before considered: Point of View, Word Choice, Major Dramatic Question and the like. These were all new terms to me and I knew that I should give them my full attention.
The trees would not allow this to happen. The cedar, the pine, and the tree with the white bark and roundish leaves that would quiver in the breeze; they spoke to me of things more solid than my quest for mastery of a story, and more permanent than a 68 year old writer who had suffered a heart attack and survived bypass surgery two years earlier. The trees stood, almost silent but not motionless, where they had stood for many a year; possibly more years than mine, epitomizing this place that rests near to the center of my heart.
New Mexico. My brother lived one hour south of where I now stand for forty years before retiring and moving closer to his remaining child. How many years I came to visit, and we crawled in and out of known and obscure crannies of this state and still didn’t cover the tenth part of it. My parents, or at least their ashes, rest a couple of miles north of where I stand, in the Santa Fe National Cemetary. I want to rest there too some day. Below me, in the city of Santa Fe, people are preparing carne adovada and green chili chicken casserole and all manner of good things. I intend to eat some of that food soon.
One week from now I will return to my “home” far from this place. I will resume my normal life and hopefully write better stories. The pine, the cedar and the white-barked tree will remain behind however, their leaves quivering and their aroma suffusing the campus where I am staying. The cooks will continue to pour treasures out of their kitchens in the restaurants and homes of Santa Fe, and I will some day return here to stay. Gloria in excelsis Deo.