I have lived in many places – sometimes – if not usually – in the very same town. The stretch between being in one place and the other can make it feel like I’m living in two different universes. Already in Hillsboro, I’ve moved once again after landing late March.
Living at the Barbershop Motel was like living in an Edward Hopper painting – you know, the one where faded people sit in chairs at open-all-night bars (look up “Nighthawks”) or sitting by themselves somewhere, seeming as though waiting for life to stop by for a visit.
I have felt for a long time that life has better things to do than come by my door. A singular encounter released me from the motel. What a growth opportunity this has been! It was joyous, fun, enlarging & definitely extraordinary.
You see, I believe in alternative stuff…disinformation, “fake news”, all kinds of breathy pulsating topics which are sidereal to what’s often called mainstream. I am not sure I believe in any-much anymore except one-to-one conversational laybys with friends who have history with me. And the event which propelled me from the “Hopper Effect” was highly spiritual in nature. But, the details aren’t to be listed here & the cover story will serve.
I came to New Mexico for one reason; to help others. So long as I can live rent-free somewhere, I can afford to live. Ha! I’ll bet many of you reading this could say the same. I am free from “earning” a conventional living. I am one of those seniors now affording to live on about $1,000 each month of Social Security. The government has generously given me cost-of-living-raises of $3 per year since I took early retirement seven years back. I am exploring the altered state of not having a regular job to report to. If I curtail pretty much anything which costs me money, I can make this work. Once the credit cards are paid up, I’ll be relatively wealthy.
This is simplified since I live in a town with only antique stores, no bank, no bodega, one café where the food is mostly selections from a menu I don’t eat, one wine bar (I don’t drink) – imagine! No Starbucks, no Walgreens, no fast-food or retail outlets, no movie theatres… An outstanding all-volunteer library is up the hill. Some of the most spectacular scenery in the world is nine miles away (Gila National Wilderness), everyone in town is a Master of something. We have artists, natural food growers, writers, engineers of all description – but in the end, we’re all old farts who live in a town of 150 where the list of what we would seem not to have stretches much farther than what we do. But how much would you pay for peace of mind, knowing your neighbors, uninterrupted sunlight, cool nights & no cell service downtown?
You have attained “favor” here if you have a tree to park the car beneath & can remember what day the Pickin’ Circle meets to play outside the Black Range Vineyards Wine Bar. I have attained my own favor because I know the people on my street (which is, by the way, is the main drag among three others.)
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, The Tipping Point, writes a chapter on how 150 is an optimum number of people to have in your circle – whether social or employment. There are 150 people in this town. Internet data will inform you we’re a “statistical entity” with a population of 120 as of 7/16. Guess we’ve had another gold rush if the numbers are up by 30 in a year!
It’s unusual to hear children unless the “grands” are visiting. In a town this size, everyone becomes a character worthy of their own sitcom. Most of the women are gray-haired, most of the men have beards or handlebar moustaches. There’s a tiny stable on the upper corner with a white horse & her two companion miniature horses. At the diagonal opposite is a road which is crossed by Percha Creek when it rains (which it seldom does.) Our town park could fit in a backyard.
I love it here.
Tonight I am headed to a concert with Randy Granger, a world-class musician who plays any number of instruments with whole-hearted soul. It’s outdoors under the white-pointed black sky. I will even have to look for a jacket to wear! I’ll see & greet neighbors, enjoy the tunes & drive the nine miles home in the altered state only live performance can create.