4. Middle of Nowhere

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A PLACE WHERE TIME STOPPED?

Blog 4: September 18, 1996—It’s a strange feeling to roll into this city of Albuquerque in the middle of nowhere, and then sit here, on the sidewalk of the main street of the university, looking at the mountains that hover over this place. They are beautiful. This scenery is spectacular, but I wonder what people do here.

I wait on the sidewalk for Judith—a friend of an east coast friend—to get back home so I can stay with her for a few nights of rest. My travel companions went up to Santa Fe, New Mexico’s main tourist city one hour north of here. Meanwhile, I speak to a Spanish-speaking man who is selling Mexican items to a store owner. It’s nice to hear his accent. Reminds me of Spain.

Judith meets me and shows me her house. She tells me about her life, of how she lived two years in South America. It’s comforting to be welcomed by someone who seems an older version of myself. As evening arrives in a light rose sunset over mountain stone, I begin to feel increasingly moved by this land and place. I feel at home and yet am confronted by this dizzying feeling of being too isolated. A part of me misses the rat race, or more specifically a place where people are driven.

Albuquerque reminds me of when I traveled to the interior of Argentina, to small towns near the mountains where time stopped and only candlelight lit up our nights. It almost seems too easy being here—so peaceful that I have no reason to build tension in my life. Yet there’s something attractive about tension, about the need to create beyond what’s already given to us in the beauty of the land and sunny weather.

As the sun goes down, a gentle breeze blows into the house and onto the porch.  I wonder if people dance in this place like I did in New York City, or whether they all go to bed early. An airplane flies above, modernity echoing against the quiet pavement. From the intense, heavy, purposeful place like New York City, where I had lived, this is still quite a shift, and I’m ready.

Or at least I think I am.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A PLACE WHERE TIME STOPPED?  WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

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12 thoughts on “4. Middle of Nowhere

  1. I used to live in the mountains just northwest of Las Vegas, N.m. Yes, things tend to slow down. These is a great sense of peace, and the presence of the ancient. There is also, sometimes, violence. It is all woven together through hundreds and thousands of years of living. It is like no place else I have ever been. Once it is in your bones, one can never truly leave.

    Your writing evokes this so well. Thank you.

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  2. Japanese gardens are tiny anomalies in the space time continuum. I once sat down on a bench in the one in San Francisco looking out with what is called in mindful practice a soft gaze for what i thought was about 10 minutes. My watch informed me I was actually there an hour.This is an engineered stillness, brilliant but intentional. As you point out, it is the unexpected places and moments: what is a man from the sub-tropics doing in North Dakota, except perhaps to stumble on his snowshoes onto a bluff and stand entranced by the miracle of an ice whorl. There is no wind. The creatures are all asleep or creeping softly beneath notice. . The only hands counting time are the shadows cast by the bare trees that slowly swallow the river.

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  3. I had that when I arrived here in Abq. Waking up and feeling like I was home in my comfy bed(my physical home was in north Carolina), I was traveling and on a fold out couch in Abq. The magic number for me is 3 and so for three morning the same feeling overwhelmed me…on the third day, I said outloud to noone…’okey okey I get the message I’ll move here.’ 3 weeks later I arrived with a car filled with my worldly possessions. Coming from a rural town, this city felt big and overwhelming. In Nc if I drove 15mins I went miles….here traffic and rush hour were a surprise and at times to much. The mtns and river here talk to me and remind me to stay in my flow, its a slower pace, more internal. Grounded and peaceful and in that place, time does magical things. An hour could be 5min or 5hours. It expands and contract at will. Ebb flow ebb flow

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    • Interesting how a place calls us, and yet not always in a loud way. And why? Is it the place calling us, or is a part of ourselves remembering something, or sensing energies that match where we need to be? Hmmm…Is there a spirit from the land that calls us? Wishes for us to be with her?

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  4. I live in a place like that (the woods of West Michigan). At least it can be like that. Before we moved here permanently, we cherished the solitude, quiet and slow pace. After we moved here, we somehow managed to recreate the busyness and tension we thought we were leaving behind. Guess we have a need for both parts of the picture.

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  5. The first time I encountered a place where time just stopped for me was when I was hiking amongst the green trees and red rock in Sedona, AZ, when I first started my pilgrimage. I would hike, and hike for what seemed like hours, and yet – only minutes passed in actuality. I would listen to the “Gentle Giant” of all that red rock just sing “commmme and hike with meeeeee…” and place one foot before the other, and would continue to listen and step for as long as my legs could move.

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