Saturday, April 16, 2016

| new home fires. |


(and this update ought to have been penned on April 3rd, to be exact, but as anyone with any acquaintance with my personality will recall, tardiness and Hannah Hopkins maintain a regretfully intimate relationship)

One year ago I stepped off a ten o' clock American Airlines flight hailing from Dallas onto New Mexico soil, which I had seen before, but hadn't called home for eleven odd years. My mom and my brothers were there to greet me and help me haul my guitar and my suitcases down the four escalators in the ABQ airport (ah, the diabolical entertainment my brothers and I have discovered in those epic employments of getting from hither to yon) and we all took off to celebrate with burgers and milk shakes at a joint that still plays Johnny Cash. I'd never eaten a green chile cheeseburger before, and while in the majority of my conversation I refrain from cultural clichés, permit me to declare that a green chile cheeseburger is the bomb.

That was the first day.



Since then I've shaken hands with a hundred flavors and signatures that New Mexico gave birth to, and fallen hard for a sky that no eastern state could ever boast. The definition of American liberty cannot be fully understand, at least in my humble and flawed opinion, until you stand (or better yet, ride bareback) beneath a Western sky without a tree or a shrub in sight, feeling the fingers of a stiff wind in your hair and seeing nothing but the invitation of empty space in front of you. Because I take empty spaces as an invitation, an open gate to a place where you can really set your soul free. Whoever wrote that poem "Out in the fields with God" was a genius of faith and human emotion.



Just because my sister is adorable, and I wanted to stick her in somewhere.

Also, since then, I have recalled some of those memories we have made in Vermont, missed them, finished missing them, folded them up and tucked them in the closets of my brain for safekeeping, then pawed them back out, dusted them off and missed them again. They don't have sugar shacks or maple syrup here, but they do roast green chiles in the fall and the wind carries the signature flavor of a Mexican food joint for days. They don't have autumn foliage boasting every color in the wheel, but they do have aspens in the mountains, and I never knew how breathtaking yellow could be until the October wind brought it out of their leaves.

They don't have the friends I left, the kidhood that I traded for Texas when I was eighteen, the house that built me, the church that I was saved at and baptized in, the backyard where I remember most of my birthday parties, the trails where I used to ride a horse and dream about being a woman, and they're "a long way to the place where the home fires burn, two thousand miles and one left turn."


But they do have Mexican food, which everyone should taste once in their lives (real Mexican food, NOT Taco Bell and NOT Tex-Mex) and they have some amazing mountains, jagged sentinels of limestone and sand and granite standing like a giant militia against that swoonworthy sky (I think I just made up a word, at least, the Blogger dictionary didn't recognize it) and they do have two of the most amazing friends I met last summer (Victoria, you would label me a loser for waxing sentimental, and I would laugh and try to spit out a comeback and fail) and they have a incredible church that taught us how to go soulwinning, which should be one of the major themes of life, for everyone.

In short, the place has God. He brought me here, and He is my oasis in the desert. (Literally).

And, have you ever seen a desert sunset? I think I just found new home fires.


(I want to claim the credit for this frozen moment of majesty. I want to. SO BAD. But.... I can't. I deleted my sunset pictures a few weeks ago, so I had to go borrow someone else's.)