March 15, 2013

A New Phase & A Very Long Trip

I'm so tired.  The past six weeks have felt like going through the wringer.

Jeff has been offered a salaried position with a company based in Texas.  They made us a very good offer which includes an admirable benefits package.  Shockingly good really.  Offers like this haven't come around since before the dot com bubble burst.  There's so much to be said about this, but I can't find the energy right now.

We will continue to live here in Taos, and we will have the income to do the things which we have been trying to hard to do all along, but first we have to go live in a corporate apartment for two months while Jeff integrates with the company. 

It's been a lot to wrap our heads around.  We have a good family who will be caring for our home and animals in our absence, but we're trying to prepare, not just for the move, but also for the cultural and environmental shock.  We will not be able to have a garden this year, and we have filled our freezers with three goats, and a half dozen chickens.  We'll have only our dogs, laying hens, and a pair of milk goats now. 

A corporate apartment in central Texas, ya'll.  I'm trying to think of it as a vacation... an escape from the last of Taos' cold, but any way I cut it I'm stuck in the city with three kids.  It's a scary thing to go back to where you came from, even if it's only temporary.  I know what it feels like to live in a drywall box with conditioned air... to be in a hurry everywhere you go, because everything takes forever... to know no one, and be a part of a culture that thinks eating out and shopping is a great past time. 

Thirteen years in Texas, and I never acclimated to the heat.  Never.  People joke that Texas has two seasons: Winter, and Hell.  I'm not sure it was a joke.  Everything that I most wanted to get away from is there,  from the oppressive heat and pollution, to the noise and consumerism, all trapped inside of a heat radiating, behemoth, steel and concrete universe.  Road rage, speeders, helicopter parents, and crime. 

I haven't been out of the desert for four years, where I have lived at 8,200 feet.  Humid, hot, sea level is sounding like a very drastic change.  We took a day trip to Colorado a couple of years ago to pick up one of our livestock guardian dogs, Zeppelin, and it was such a shock!  We couldn't believe the humidity, and the hot stagnant air. Where we live it is always cool in the shade, you can get away with a light cardigan most of the summer, and you had better have one when the sun starts to go down.  The inability to escape from the heat was strange, and frustrating.  The feeling that the air was thick with moisture felt like our skin couldn't breathe. 

Taos... the desert... I acclimated to that.  Never having to speed, be honked at, or avoid crazies on the raod... I acclimated to that.  Having everyone know my name from the post office to the grocery store... I acclimated to that.  Seeing people hugging in the street and in the stores every day... yeah, I acclimated to that. 

It's all a lot, but here's the truth... the thing that is actually scary to me... I don't want to be away from the mountains.  I can't explain it.  It's home, yes.  They're beautiful, yes.  But there is something else.  I can't say what.  I just know that the thought of not seeing them all around me feels scary.  I know that on the rare occassion when the fog is so heavy that it obscures the mountains in all directions, leaving it to look like we live in the prairie, I have this uneasy, depressed feeling.  I don't like it at all, and I find myself searching the sky for a hint, an outline, a shadow of those mountains, and when the wind blows it all away, and I can see them again, I am filled with this deeeep sense of relief. 
What's that about?  I wish I could say.  I know this though, there is a power, deep and quiet, in those mountains.  People talk to them, pray to them, offer to them.  They draw people from all across the globe, and they change you. 

I haven't left yet, but I have been homesick for 6 weeks already.  I don't want to go.  I don't want to miss the Lilacs, the apple, pear, and apricot blossoms raining down, the sweet scent of a wild space in the spring. 

But this is a great opportunity for our family, and this is, in truth, the best way for us to ease into the transition of Jeff being tied to a desk for 40 hours a week.  We are headed back to the place where Jeff and I took our first vacation as a couple.  There will be multi-story libraries to explore with the children, and new museums.  We're planning a weekend trip up to Dallas-Ft.Worth to walk through the Botanical Gardens, the art museums, and to see family. 

We will be able to prepay our lease here in Taos, and to build the fences that have been needing to be built all along.  We will finally be able to afford to do our garden right, and to get a proper barn built.  We can build a root cellar, an underground greenhouse, and invest in the things that would have kept us from this had we had the money before. The kids will be able to take more classes, we can finally fix our truck, and get that fuel efficient family car that we've been needing. 
It's all good, we're just a little scared.  It's very new, and it's a lot to take in. 

Jeff's company is footing the bill for our travel expenses, housing, and car, so aside from missing Jeff, it will be like a paid vacation.  Right? 


SedonaMichelle said...

oh, what a bittersweet blessing for you all! I really understand the feeling of connection and security from the mountains - especially up in Taos. You are so wise to frame the 6 weeks as a vacation/transition, etc. It will be whatever you make it to be. Its temporary and its beautiful. Congratulations and many blessings!

Kimberly said...

Holy Cow that is a lot to take in! I'm overwhelmed just reading about it.... it sounds like it will be weird, very weird and at times miserable... but I think you're right that if you keep it in your mind as a vacation it will be ok.... will you have time to come back home on weekends if you want?

moyra scott said...

wow that is a big change. good luck with it all

Unknown said...

heh, it'll be hot, and yes it's grown a bunch since you've been there, but, remember, it's only 2 months. take solace in the fact that you get to return, only better off. 2 months? I'll be there every weekend if you're willing to have me :)

Aimée LeVally said...

@SedonaMichelle - "It will be whatever you make it to be" - This is exactly what I keep telling myself. :)

@Kimberly - Sadly it is a 13 hour drive (17 with stops for kids) so it is too far to be able to consider going home on the weekends, plus someone will be staying in our home while we are gone.

@Moyra - thank you!

@Unknown - do I know you?

Allyson Szabo said...

You have worked long and HARD to get where you are. While two months is a long time, it isn't forever, and it means so many new opportunities! Hold onto your priorities... eat well, live well, experience all life has to offer. What you've gained in the desert can be brought with you to Texas, and perhaps the heat and moisture will make it "rise and double" so you have something new and exciting to take home at the end. :) All change hurts, but it isn't all bad so long as you keep your end in sight. Good luck to all of you!

plumdirt said...

If you should want for some earth to dig in while you're here, let me know. I don't have much but it's more than enough to get under your fingernails should you feel the yearning. I missed the mountains and the ocean terribly when I first moved here. Viscerally. Anxiously. Pedernales Falls helped the most of anything. Hopefully the two months is sooner rather than later? Both to end the apprehension and for avoiding July and August. And also, hopefully, you'll happen upon some seedlings and perhaps find a way to nurture some variety you may not have had the season to grow without a heated hiatus.

Unknown said...

I hope to see you guys!!!

Jenn said...

Bend and flow as the graceful willow my friend. Miss your faces and lovin you as always.

Jenn said...

Bend and flow as the graceful willow my friend. Miss your faces and lovin you as always. Hugs from Kansas :)

Little House On The Mesa said... will be fine and what an opportunity! You all will have the resources to "live simply" quicker than most people I know, sad that something so simple requires so many initial investments.

I have a funny superstition myself that if I leave Taos I won't be able to get back. I felt that way last year in Texas and I swear something in the air changed when we hit the NM border.

I can understand how you feel about the mountains. I know I will never afford to live here and the prairie has a different kind of rugged beauty with its open expanse. It freaked me out tonight when I heard the wind blow through the trees!