Clovis, New Mexico has nothing grand that distinguishes it from any other town in New Mexico. It gets hit often, with crazy sand storms. It's miserably cold in the winter. My first experience with "black ice" (tar frozen over by extreme cold) happened along its city streets. Tumbleweed litters the landscape and everything looks so bleak. Especially in the winter. My stint in Clovis, New Mexico lasted one winter season and on through spring.
I was a fish-outta-water in the deserts of New Mexico. How could one place be so void of moisture? I landed in New Mexico on one of my journeys to somewhere/nowhere and always in pursuit of love. I had boarded an airplane in Honolulu, landed in Oakland, California and spent some time with friends. Days later myself and a dear friend of mine, BooBoo, found ourselves aboard a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles. What had possessed us to be so bold, so brave in such a crazy world? From Los Angeles, the next leg of our tour of the southwestern United States took us through Arizona and into New Mexico. BooBoo and I parted ways. She was on to Texas and I was on to Clovis. It was a tearful seperation but we were on different paths. She going her way and me going mine.
The last stop before Clovis was in a town called Portales, home of Eastern New Mexico University. I was young, so young and the man I was in love with was 11 years my senior and there he was, at the Portales Greyhound bus station waiting for me. I left everything in Hawai'i to follow him. If he led me to the depths of hell, I would have gladly paved the path for him -- that's the kind of love I had. Partially responsible for such blind devotion is teenage angst. I was just 19 when I landed in New Mexico. I met him when I was 18 and he was 29. On that fateful day, 10 April 1994, my life changed forever.
My romance with such an older man was due, in part, to my yearning to fall in love. And it could have been any man, probably! I just knew I wanted to be swept off my feet, to be whisked away into happily-ever-after. Isn't that the promise of every fairy tale? Isn't that what little girls are taught when they watch Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty? I don't quite know why I was in such a rush to be in love. Really, I should have been concentrating on being in love with me. **sigh**
Clovis, New Mexico proved to be too much for me. I spent enough months there to know that I didn't want to live there forever. When the beau and I decided to part ways -- I got on a plane and headed back to Honolulu. I thought I had seen the last of New Mexico.
Fast forward two years and the beau I had parted ways with became my first husband. That landed me in Roswell, New Mexico where family feuds are numerous and ongoing, and aliens are rumoured to have been housed in the Air Force Base at the edge of town. There's not much difference between Roswell and Clovis. Same sand storms. Same dry heat. Same tumbleweeds. Same bleakness.
I felt so cramped by being land-locked, without the ocean to gaze at. Strange was how the sun would drop into an earthen horizon rather than into the ocean. Even though there were several places in New Mexico where you could look up into the night sky and feel like it was just you and the stars all alone in the universe, and even if you could drive for dozens of miles without seeing a soul, and even if you could look toward the horizon for hours and not notice an inkling of life, I felt utterly crowded in by the wide expanses of land. I was entirely homesick for Hawai'i where jade green mountains bordered my town on one side and the turqoise Pacific ocean on the other. How could I have placed myself in such unfamiliar territory?
Within a year of moving to New Mexico, the man that started out as my beau and was now my husband, he and I packed up and were headed back to Honolulu. The desert air had sucked the life out of this island girl and I saw no future in Roswell. We stuffed our car with whatever possessions we couldn't part with and headed west to California where we would see some family and ship our car from Long Beach to meet us at the shores of Honolulu. Arriving in Honolulu, I had hoped that my heart would leap with joy yet something was missing. While I celebrated the warm tropics, my husband yearned for the wide expanse of New Mexico. If my story were a cultural myth, it would read: "Once upon a time, a fish married a coyote." Our inability to decide on a place to live was one of the larger factors of the demise of our marriage. A fish couldn't possibly live in the desert and a coyote would drown in the Pacific.
New Mexico's nickname is The Land of Enchantment. On all the times that fate led me to its desert landscape, I found myself ever longing for Hawai'i, ever enchanted by the memory of the isles in the middle of the sea. Even now, after all these years, when I think about New Mexico I cringe with homesickness. The man I followed to New Mexico on several occasions is now my ex-husband. My heart ached more than it should have when we split. Hindsight being 20/20, I think I mourned the loss of my ability to love with complete abandon rather than love for him. I am still ever prepared to be enchanted by love, by Hawai'i, by the beauty of my island paradise.
Even though obstacles present themselves, I prepare ALWAYS to be enchanted. I'm not waiting for disappointment to arrive, rather I'm waiting to be captivated and magically moved by life and all its mysteries. Oh that my eyes will ever view the world as a newborn does in its first hours... anxious, anxious to be, anxious to be enchanted!
Folding the paper, tucking it in a pocket, I sighed. "It sure is spooky this side of paradise."
"Oh yeah," she agreed. "Sweet."
Gently, reverently, I took tiny Rowena from Lorrie. So small she was, but in spirit and in potential, no smaller than any of us.
Holding her so that she faced away from me, I turned in a full circle. Even if her eyes were as yet unfocused, perhaps she could see the room in which she had been born and see the people who had been present for her entry. Perhaps she wondered about them and about what waited beyond this room.
Turning with her, turning, I said, "Rowena, this is the world. This is your life. Prepare to be enchanted."
**New Mexico logo Photo Credit
**White Sands Sunset Photo Credit