Tuesday, January 19, 2010


"And its one life, and its this life, and its beautiful . . ." First Aid Kit - Hard Believer

Last fall I traveled in Peru and Bolivia. Those places sound exotic, but is it by virtue of their distance from home? The truth is they are similar in most big ways and the other-ness one feels - it's the trick of culture shock. People show up vibrantly against the backdrop of a new landscape, a different city. The things they do seems surprising. Oh, it's easy to romanticize when you travel. Sure, the Bolivian women - in long black braids and aprons all day squeezing fresh juice from every fruit available - was unique, was new. But it's juice. Why not try to see all the earth as special? Catch the details - find all precious things. Think about the juice - and the people here, there. Looking out a bus window I would try to absorb the passing world. Why not absorb always?

I returned in November to take a family road trip to the Grand Canyon. I knew the sense of "the extraordinary" could stay around me - a lens giving sharp focus to every day and every place of one's life. I wanted the lens to stay in place as I roamed in Arizona and now in New Mexico - my home.

I tell myself - and you can imagine it's true - the southwestern US is always ripe for adventure. Its wide-open spaces lure. Its nestled communities collect dust and invite the curious. Southwestern cities with fabulous culture, traffic, art, music, pollution, and people are as other as Peru, as Bolivia, as Egypt.