Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Gale force winds raged last Saturday forcing me from my perch at Elephant Butte. I went to  Truth or Consequences. There I found an in-town spot at the old Artesian Bath-House & R.V. Park. As the name says it offers deep soaks  in warm mineral water. Renters such as myself pay $3 for one hour. Rent is $130 a month and includes Wi-Fi.

Much was happening in the little town I left in December. Days before I departed the TorC Community Chorus put on its Christmas concert.  I arrived to find its spring concert scheduled the next day. I attended. What a pleasure to hear a town singing to itself.

Joe MacDonald and the TorC Community Chorus
My timing could not have been better. The same night I arrived the town held its montly ArtHop— the second Saturday in the month when stores and art galleries are open late.

Before the economic downturn this was a big event that attracted art buyers from near and far. Today, far fewer show, but the town tradition endures—a monthly festival of fun, spirit and street art.

My first stop back in town after a handshake rental agreement was at the Black Cat Book Store and Cafe. There was a woman seated at a table, an artist. She, too, had just returned to TorC from an absence that had taken her to Oregon. "Everyone is coming back," she said when I told her I had just re-arrived. "I know four or five people who have come back in the last week," she said.

Perhaps it's the water. Or the Indian curse placed on the town that says the town will long endure but never flourish. Or, as a good friend and resident here says: "Truth or Consequences isn't a geographical location. It's a state of mind." But it does call people back who have once been here.

It is also friendly. I walk up the street and a man passing by on a bicycle hollers "Good Morning." Musicians gather in homes to play. People get together for coffee or meet at the Happy Belly Deli for breakfast.

Garland on trumpet.
Twice a month poets get together to read. Book signings are common. And it all goes on in a small town.

My friends have welcomed me home, and it feels like home.

I may be here for a while.

Daragh on keyboard.
Somewhere in Texas my bus began running raggedy. I limped the rest of the way here. I have  ordered a new fuel pump, carburetor and plugs and hope this will fix things.

If not I may have to find a place to pull the engine.

The April days have been warm and the nights chilly. My neighbors in the park in bigger RVs are all good people.

We talk. We all agree it's hard to find a place where you can live so well for so little. The grocery story, community garden plots, churches, a Buddhist Dharma center, the library, two book stores, a half-dozen cafes and restaurants, banks, art galleries, two parks and a movie ($5) are all within walking distance.

But the kicker for me since moving back has been  those evening soaks. For less than a latte in a big city I walk 50 yards from my bus, step down into a deep tiled tub, turn on the big spigot and am immersed in mineral-rich warm artesian water that finds its way like fingers into tired muscles and old bones. Ahhhh.

After bath and dinner I return to my small home on wheels, fold down the back seat that makes up into the bed, spread out my sheets and pillows, raise the pop-top and open the jalousie windows.

Venus is high in the sky. A breeze blows through. And with every breath I offer gratitude to the universe for itself and praise and thanks for an alternative life style that makes immersion in the oneness of it all so accessible ... while silently a short distance away the Rio Grande rolls to Mexico and to the open sea fulfilling its destiny as we fulfill ours.


  1. Nicely said and so very, very true John...welcome to your home in New Mexico....

  2. I guess we have to come back to TorC and give ourselves more time for the town.

  3. Welcome home, John. I'm glad to be here, too.

  4. I have go to understand TorC... you and Sue and others have painted such a glorious picture... can Homer and I stay at this place? I have all I need except a shower... and that's mostly for the other folk ... ha

    I have got to try Sedona also. Years ago I belonged to a group ... forget what it was but I mentioned I was going to Rockport, Texas ... for their hummingbird festival. I was told Sedona had the best! So those two places are on my 'have to' list.

    Love the way you paint pictures...

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      TorC may not be everybody's cup of tea. You just have to find out for yourself. There are no showers at the RV park where I am but deep soaks in hot spring water for not too much money. :)