Last weekend, J and I went on a quick trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico and Fort Collins, Colorado. Initially, I was not going to participate on this adventure; J was going to a cousin’s wedding in Fort Collins with his mom, and the two were meeting in Santa Fe to paint that town red before road-tripping up I-25 for the nuptials.
I was looking forward to a weekend with the apartment all to myself (and Charlie).
Horrible, I know, but I like my alone time. What can I say?
Then J begged. “Please? Please come with us. I want you to be my date. We’ll have so much fun…” And I hate to see a grown man grovel, so I relinquished my weekend of blissful solitude and agreed to join the adventure across the Southwest.
Now, I am glad I went.
As I continue to struggle with feelings of work burnout, I didn’t realize how utterly reinvigorating a quick trip out of town can be. Especially when, yes, the trip is quick – fly out on Thursday night; fly home (early) Sunday morning – but there are so many moments of quiet peace and serenity that it has the feeling of a long, luxurious, pampering vacation.
Such as Friday morning, where our first stop in Santa Fe (after breakfast anyway) was the National Veteran’s Cemetery to pay respects to my grandma and grandpap. Yes, I called him “Grandpap.” Even though he was a Navy pilot in World War II. And he survived a horrific plane crash that should have killed him. I still called him Grandpap, and his sudden death in 1997 was the first major loss I had endured.
It wasn’t any easier when his wife, and my beloved Grandma, passed away in 2005 after a valiant fight against cancer.
Now call me macabre, but I have always found cemeteries to be quiet and restful places. I have never felt scared or uneasy in a cemetery – just peaceful and reflective. Yes, I find it soothing to sit back amongst the stones and listen to the wind blowing through the trees, and watch the birds fly overhead, and just be there. So while I still miss my Grandma and Grandpap, I feel calm and at peace when I am sitting next to their shared headstone and enjoying the beauty of the Santa Fe landscape.
After a peaceful sojourn in the cemetery, we headed to Old Town and stopped in to see the New Mexico Museum of Art, where I wandered through their current exhibition, Colors of the Southwest. Afterwards, I found myself sitting in the museum’s inner courtyard, again watching these beautiful red-throated birds (I later learned were house finches) and listening to the steady ssshhhhh of a fountain sculpture. I was by myself in this courtyard so I just sat back, relaxed, and again, tried to be in the moment of it. So quiet and peaceful…
Until my clod of a fiancé plopped himself down next to me and asked me if I wanted to go in the Gift Store.
Kidding about the “clod” part 🙂
After another stop at the Museum of New Mexico History, we headed out to the Randall Davey House, which is also the state headquarters for the Audubon Society. Another opportunity for peace and quiet, since the house is nestled up in the hills near Old Town Santa Fe, and offers several hiking trails for the intrepid nature lover. And while J was complaining about sore feet (maybe I’m not kidding about the “clod” part??), we went on a leisurely hike through the desert landscape I had admired so much in the art museum.
Every time I hike, I think to myself that I need to hike more frequently because it is always so incredible. Beautiful, relaxing (again), peaceful (again), serene (again). In fact, now that I think about it, I have never been on a hike that wasn’t stunning in some way…
Time to get off that tooshy and hike, hike, hike!
Once I am done with this post.
The next morning (Saturday) started early – 2:00am early – so we could make the trip up to Fort Collins and arrive well before the 2:00pm wedding. Just like the quiet moments of Friday, I loved the drive north since a) I wasn’t driving, and b) I could stare out the window and admire the landscape… I didn’t have to worry about anything. I didn’t have to be anywhere. I didn’t have anything I had to get done. I just got to sit back and watch the hills, trees, flat-topped cliffs, and craggy mountains roll right on by.
Although I don’t watch closely enough because J was the one who spotted the antelope.
And the deer.
Then, the wedding. It was actually far more enjoyable than I had anticipated, and it really was great to see J’s family again. I love them so very dearly already. And I miss them when we don’t see them.
But the wedding, like the rest of the weekend, was relaxing. It was in a mountain lodge way up in the Rockies near Fort Collins. It was snowing (!!) and the ground and trees were sparkling with white. The lodge itself sat on a lake with a charming wood bridge and creeks of crystal clear water.
It was beautiful.
All of it was beautiful. The whole weekend was beautiful. I came back rejuvenated and ready to face work again. Ready to get my toosh back in the game.
Ready to remember the serenity of this weekend the next time stress sloshes over me and presses me down like an ocean wave.