Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Back home again in Indiana...

The trip to Santa Fe was short and relatively packed, what with events related to the family wedding I was there to attend, and trying to spend time with family members, some of whom I don't see very often. I didn't get much sightseeing in (but thanks to those of you who passed along recommendations, which I'm saving for next time) -- I did see enough to know I'd like to go back someday! It's a fascinating little town, not like anywhere else I've ever been; it's been a long time since I found myself in a landscape so completely new to me -- unexpected light, unfamiliar smells -- juniper, sage, salsa. The dry desert air sucked the moisture right out of me. Next time I'm taking chapstick.

The whole time I was there I had this nagging feeling that a poem was almost in me, like a sneeze that won't quite happen. There was one morning when I spent an hour or so sitting at a table in the sun in the courtyard of the hotel, scribbling nothing in my journal and reading some poems, and I almost caught the poem then, I think. But not quite. Sometimes I just need to hold really still for several hours, glancing now and then out of the corner of my eye to see any suspicious movement, before the poem shows itself.

Next time I go to Santa Fe, I'm hunting poems. I like to travel looking for poems the way some people travel looking for the perfect souvenir. I know there are poems in Santa Fe, in that brilliant desert light, in the wings of the humongous crows soaring everywhere (we have crows in Indiana too, but I swear the New Mexico ones are bigger). There's a vocabulary there which I didn't have the time, this trip, to figure out. But I'll be back.


Lyle Daggett said...

I wonder if they were ravens rather than crows? I'm a long way from being an expert on this, but it's my general impression that crows tend to be more eastern, and ravens tend to be more western.

I know what you mean about the light there. Everything looks sharper and harder. Desert air, yes, and also partly because of the higher altitude.

RJGibson said...

I love your comment about a poem being like a sneeze about to's almost there and you're braced and and and...nothin. I've had a lot of that the last few months...almost almost almost.

Anne said...

Lyle: Hm, I'll have to check into raven vs. crow. I'm actually not sure. I thought ravens were European and crows were American, but I have no idea why I think that -- I probably just made it up. :)

The light in Santa Fe was somehow sharp & soft at the same time. Probably because of the angle of the sun or something, but it just didn't seem harsh at all. It was really beautiful.

RJ: Yeah, exactly! The frustrating thing is that I knew exactly what it would take to squeeze those poems out, and I just didn't have the time and space to do it out there. There's nothing quite as nice as that almost-almost feeling when you know you're going to be able to sit down with pen in hand and tease the poems out, and nothing quite as frustrating as knowing they're there & not being able to do anything about it. Ugh!

Anonymous said...

LOL at the sneeze thing. Glad you had a great time. My sister lived in NM for a while but it was when I was younger & I never visited. I want to see Carlsbad Caverns someday. :D

ps please re-email me yr mailing address.