Every year when the sun climbs into the blue horizon and sets over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a gathering of poets and prophets, writers and artists gather. I have always wanted to go. My browser sits open to their website, and I skim over the details. It claims to be equal parts spiritual retreat, artist workshop, and festival. It is the conference I have most wanted to attend since I started this online journey of sharing my words and baring bits of my soul in this strange world of writing. I look at the price tag and close my browser.
I convince myself it’s impossible. Time away from my children, the cost involved, and the travel is too much. Maybe someday. But really, I’m scared.
Maybe in some ways it is that New Mexico was home to me for so many years. My childhood memories collect at the throat of the Sandia’s, I still smell the smoky chili skins charred black and green like the back of a whiptail lizard sunning himself in the foothills under the hot desert sun.
I remember the taste of cocoa, it’s tiny dehydrated marshmallows bouncing on the top of my styrofoam cup, powdery cocoa clumping up as I stir and I sit wrapped in a cocoon in the back of our Landcrusier watching the sun ascend and the heavens open up to a sea of hot air balloons. I remember Mr. Peanut, always the gentleman with his top hat and spectacles, looking down impassively with a sham of a smile from his space in the heavens, just like the face of God.