Spring Fresh Start – El Defensor Chieftain

In May, it will be a year since I returned to the Land of Enchantment.

It is overflown. Desert sunsets still haven’t aged. I doubt they ever will.

I was born and raised in New Mexico, but spent two years out of state until the pandemic made me want to be closer to my family. That and I missed the desert somewhere deep in my bones.

My favorite thing about New Mexico is the people, but the food comes next. There are so many breakfast burrito options I could write an epic about it. Enchiladas, tamales, biscochitos, all delicious and all easy to find. The endless green chili: on pizza, on burgers, scrambled in eggs.

My least favorite are the spring winds, and we have clearly entered the dreaded windy season. Fire hazards are high and allergies are in full swing.

When it’s not trying to blow your mind, spring is a time for new beginnings, and I’m starting over in a way. I spent the weekend doing the shortest geographic move I’ve ever done, from an apartment in Socorro to another apartment in Socorro, four minutes away. My poor little biceps are tired of moving boxes.

It’s always exciting and exhausting to move. You can imagine the new possibilities in a new space, and you are reminded of how many things you actually own. I own too many books, but at least I have the excuse that I write for a living. I owned too many books long before I wrote to make a living.

One of the items I’ve moved too many boxes of are poetry books. Poetry books have the advantage of being much thinner than a novel or non-fiction, which makes them lighter, a real bonus when you’re on the move. Until you get to the anthologies… The anthologies reminded me that I’m terribly out of shape and maybe I should be lifting more than moving boxes.

In case you didn’t know, April is National Poetry Month. It’s a great time to celebrate poems and poets, and there are many phenomenal living poets from New Mexico who deserve to be celebrated: Luci Tapahonso, Jessica Helen Lopez, Levi Romero, Hakim Bellamy. Go read poems. Or send me your poetry recommendations to add to my reading list.

New spaces always make me imagine that I can reinvent my life. There’s something about reconfiguring all my physical things that reminds me of how much I can reinvent myself.

The self is such a strange thing, always moving, changing.

The worst part of moving is all the cleaning. Clean up the old spot – clean, sweep and scrub corners that haven’t been dusted often enough. Next, clean up the new place – wipe down the closet shelves, put some baking soda on it to soak up any weird smells. By the time you’re done, you feel like you’ve cleaned everything twice, because of course you did. Two kitchens, two bathrooms, two bedrooms. One old and one new.

I wish there was a secret shortcut to a deep clean, but I guess like most things worth doing, there’s no magic shortcut. You just do one thing, then the next until it’s done.