I leave soon. I leave Houston’s flat, coastal plain, the humidity that will open out for certain this week and make every breath heavy, make shirts and blouses soggy with perspiration. I leave a marvelous greening that will be jungle by July if the summer has its usual rain. I leave routines: picking up grandchildren, going to exercise, sitting at my desk to work, lunching with friends, going to visit Mother. I leave friends who are like flowers in my life and circles of women that meet monthly or weekly to aid and comfort and listen to one another. I leave a husband who takes me for walks and makes me take my vitamins. And where do I go? West, to a writing residency in the town of Taos, which sits in a valley of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I will be all by myself, in my casita. Near will be other writers, artists, and composers, but we are to respect each other’s solitude, the literature tells me. We are here in create.
I feel amazed that this hovers on my horizon, I who live at sea level and don’t have a grand horizon. What will I create in a solitude I’ve never known? What will I see in my one small life that normal distractions keep me from seeing? What thoughts will visit me? What dreams? What work will I do? I know something inside will be shifting, moving the chairs and tables. I’m reminded of lines of the poet Mary Oliver that I looked at tonight: And have you finally figured out what beauty is for?/And have you changed your life?
Have you? Will I?