The decision to move on

Cattle drive_2

Just yesterday an opportunity presented itself while visiting a friend in Santa Barbara to move to a semi remote, rural ranch community in Central New Mexico with a population of approximately 950 people.

Recent events have me thinking differently though and part of me is giving every indication that I should make the leap of faith and in doing so, make the very best of a unique situation that I now see more clearly and feel more connected with instinctively as a true adventure.

One very compelling factor is that I love the people I have met there and their rural view of life being so open, friendly, helpful and genuine. I will have plenty of work, I will have lots of alone time to write, and for a time I’ll be living in an old hotel and helping out in the dining room and doing some event planning and the operation of a ranch auction where they sell and trade farm equipment and off road vehicles.

Something was just missing here with my move to the further south of Southern California and not that I don’t deeply appreciate and love the friends I have made here, have been closer to my children for the past several months, it’s just not as compelling for me to make a life here as it once was. I will not miss the traffic or the crowds either, for in central New Mexico you can be driving on one of the many two lane highways and not see another vehicle for an hour or more.

the shafferIt is very much the wild west in the purest sense of cowboys and cattle ranching, where you have to actually make a significant effort to survive, the conditions are harsh at times though the conveniences of urban city life less than two hours away in Albuquerque.

It is a rather raw landscape, and open range abounds with beautiful mountains, buttes, plateaus and mesas. In the winter it does get cold with a few feet of snow fall some years. Absolutely everyone drives a 4X4 pickup and you don’t even think about going outside without your cowboy boots, a wide-brimmed cowboy hat and your trusty leather gloves.

Previous visits have always involved hard work and horses are a part of seasonal duties too which I will enjoy, though modern technology has replaced the horse at times with motorized quads and even helicopters when working the cattle and the open range. One neighbors ranch is some 25,000 acres or 39 square miles and that’s tough to cover on horse back.

Even wearing a side arm is recommended at times, simply to protect yourself if and when you come across rattle snakes which are plentiful or the occasional mountain lion. Guns are a part of life there as well as plenty of opportunities to do some elk, turkey, deer and pheasant hunting with trophy trout fishing not too far away. I guess I’ll just have to get used to eatin’ Black Angus, range fed rib-eyes on a more regular basis and don’t even get me started on the local bacon of the amazing chilis that are grown there.

Moving cowsOne of the things you notice right away is that everyone says hello, they wave when they drive by and there are always invitations to pull over on the side of any gravel ranch road, enjoy a beer and tawk. If you make mention to your neighbors that you have a project that needs gettin’ done, they offer their assistance without hesitation with no demand for a return favor.

Everyone works together and support each other as simply a way of life that makes the most sense. It truly is a community feeling and the main town where I will be living for a while has a population of less than a thousand people compared to the 3.5 million here in Orange County. The history surrounding Mountainair, NM is all about ancient Pueblo Indian civilizations with ruins of their existence and their monuments which is very cool and full of history not seen as much here in Southern California.

So, here I am, wondering about the next phase of my life and where I should be, with my children being in their late teens now and in college or about to begin college, I am an empty nester and have only myself to look after. I am thinking that a complete change of scenery, atmosphere and lifestyle just might be the very best choice with a renewed inspiration for livin’ and getting back to the earth in a very big way.

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12 thoughts on “The decision to move on

  1. You’re going to be a real cowboy?? Sounds like a great fit for you … but a big change. I think I would love visiting, but taking the plunge, naw. But sounds like it could be a great fit for you. 😉 Follow your heart and instincts. And pictures are an absolute must if you go … =)

    1. Life is all about the journey right? Thinking that I could choose many other roads, but this one seems like a good idea for a while at least. Rural life and the heart of America is calling and there will indeed be many photos to share. Thanks for your comments.

    1. Thanks Sis – thinking that living in a town of 950, getting reconnected with western life and having a ton of time to write will be a very good thing indeed – and the NM rail runner express goes to Santa Fe all the time and it’s cheap – Yee Haw!

  2. I say, just do it! Do not think about it or try to analyze it, but just do it. If it feels good, you are moving in the right direction. We draw opportunities to ourselves, so somewhere deep inside this is what you want and need. Hell, I would even do it! LOL Good luck !!!!!

    1. Thanks Cindy – I too am of a mind to venture forth and derive all that I can from a new and better atmosphere and connect with real, more welcoming people. My time here in OC has been one of much discovery, but as I now better understand this move as a rare opportunity, I get more excited everyday. Edw.

  3. It’s true, some places are a heck of a lot more friendly and community oriented than SoCal and NM is definitely one of them. I’ve been in every state of the continental union save for four of them and NM is one of my most fave locations to visit. It feels home-y and familiar to me, though I’ve never lived there.

    It’s a huge step, but if you’re already aware of the changes and challenges and it still sounds appealing to you, go for it! It sounds amazing!

    By the way… as a former OC, SJC, & Santa Ana Historical Society member and historical docent and tour guide of several locations around OC… we do have the history, but few find it as impressive as other native histories. We don’t have much in the way of remains like the Pueblo Indian civilization, but we have the history of the Spanish taking over the area and the Missions and adobes that were built a in 1775 (rededicated in 1776). Not to mention, we have pirate history too! Anyway… that’s just me and my OC history pride. Lol!

    1. I am a huge fan of parts of OC (especially the old town areas or Orange, Santa Ana and Tustin) and I have made many amazing friends here over the last several months. In the same breath I must admit that there have been some negative experiences with the population growth and the hussel and bussel of such a huge community. The have also been a few disappointments that are now helping me see more clearly that a rural lifestyle is just what I need to proceed with new appreciation. I have visited this remote area of NM and I’m only a few hours away from such wondrous places like Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque and Ruidoso. I’ll be doing a ton of driving, but without the traffic and the limitations associated with so damn many people. There is a certain magic in the air there and the opportunity to connect with a different and more mystic spiritual connection will be incredible. Thanks for your awesome posts and your comments. Edw.

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