Funny, as I was graduating college in 1971, lots of my hippie contemporaries who were not yet ready to begin careers, looked westward. I was all about crossing the Atlantic, and spending my first summer travel adventure in England and Austria. A European history major, I was not yet bitten by the see America bug, and I remained untouched for many years, saving my summers for more trips to Europe while my younger brothers traveled together across the country overwhelmed by the parks, the deserts, the Pacific Ocean, Las Vegas. I was the family snob.
But when I began to teach high school, Georgia O’keefe came into my life. A great documentary about her on Channel 13 turned me to her art and to her Southwest.
My dreaming began to take shape when I found my writer’s identity with the help of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and one day at school, I picked up the phone and called the number on the back page of her book. Natalie answered the phone. Natalie Goldberg graciously shared information about her upcoming summer workshop in Taos, New Mexico and my southwest travel plans began in earnest.
Georgia and Natalie joined forces and I fell in love with the southwest, then and forever. Many of us were captured in the spell of the southwest. Maybe a second home? Maybe?
For the next 4 summers I found my way back to the area: writing, riding in the mountains, but somehow, as hard as I tried, I would always be a visitor. Too far from the Hudson River.
But I never lost my passion for the feel of the southwest and Tuvia joined me in January for a return to Tucson and it was still overwhelming and overpowering and thrilling.
I am an American. I am an American.