What I Love


Last Friday, I had the simple pleasure of having lunch at the Santa Fe Bar & Grill, relatively alone (we had the puppies), with my wife, Chelsea while the littlest ones were at Reunity Resources Farm Camp.

We discussed what we loved about Santa Fe so far.

My list was so long that it almost felt like I was bragging, which merely reinforced the feeling of our great fortune.

I’m sharing it here with y’all, just in case any of you are looking to move away from the hustle and bustle and searching for your own little (affordable) piece of paradise:

I love the skies here - big ass blue skies that make you feel like an astronaut, even with your feet firmly planted on the ground.

I love the people here, in Santa Fe and Cerrillos, New Mexico. Everyone is amazingly personable, and many are likewise accomplished, interesting and inspiring.

I love the climate here (hence, perhaps all the happy people). Despite nearly reaching triple digits at times, the lack of humidity makes all the difference. Yes, it’s “dry heat,” which makes it bearable, especially if you’ve got a good reason to sweat and then some shade and an ice-cold beverage as a reward for your efforts. Practically everyday, all day long, I’m prompted to think, feel and praise the fact that I feel like “I’m back home” after 30 years of yucky New York summers harsh winters.

I love the opportunity we have here; whether it’s working on cultivating our permaculture and land preservation aspirations or providing a different kind of life and existential education for the children, as well as ourselves. Living so close and in conjunction with the land, as challenging as it can be (i.e., we had to ward off a pack of seven coyotes this morning -thanks for the warning Kevin! - as the girls and boys (chickens and puppies), were all out grazing and running about), the steep learning curve has been well worth the climb.

I love the light here - the light, the light, the light! It’s a fricken photographer’s paradise. Honestly, basking in the glare or grey shadow of giant cloud cover makes me feel like I died and went to photography heaven. It’s almost as if, after having earned my chops shooting on the badass streets of New York City, that I get to be reborn again, ready to take on and revel in the privilege of capturing the magnificence and glory of God’s Country, Cerrillos-to-Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Likewise, the awesome experience of this Wild West life - off of dusty roads, anticipating snakes and cougars and wind scorpions around every corner- is a writer’s fantasy come true. Everyday, there’s something - to write about, to revel in, to marvel over and share with the world. Morning, noon and night, it’s not hard to find some little thing that turns out to be utterly fascinating or illuminating, if you only look close and long enough. And all of it is fueling the fire like never before.

Likewise, I love the experience overall, as it makes me feel like this is my second coming, my renaissance, my second chance at becoming and being an artist in the fullest sense of the word and the promise and the calling and the creative potential that we all have as human beings. Getting dirty everyday, working with wood and dirt and rocks, makes me want to do far more than simply craft with words and cameras - I want to carve and paint and weld and sculpt too now, for truly creative beings are only limited by their imagination.

I love the small community we’ve come into, how welcoming everyone has been, how embracing of all of us - the good, the bad, the ugly. Whether it’s communal decisions on road grating, a chance to apply many years of study in international affairs and diplomacy to cultivating our place among folk who have been here 20, 30, 40 years, or simply loving all the spontaneous get togethers with our new friends and neighbors - it all makes it feel like we’ve finally found our village.

I love how that practically with everyone in our community I’ve found that there is something intriguing I want to do with them: drink homemade and shaken creamy-dreamy, dark & cloudy, scandalous cocktails at sunset with Kevin; sweat and drum out decades of anxiety with Dennis and Martia; learn to understand and ride horses with Michelle; go fly fishing with Joel, while listening to his stories about surgery and flying and polo playing and building mechanical wonders; dreaming of planting, harvesting, fermenting and distilling Mezcal (or more likely Sotol)with genius partner-farmers-restaurant impresarios like Rich; or simply learning to grow and make ethereal lemonade with Chris.

I love the amazing food here: finally real Mexican and “New Mexican” food. I’ve literally waited thirty years for this. Tamales whenever I want, real rice and beans, amazing spicy food; awesome cocktails, OMG.

Oh, and it behooves me to also mention how much I love the cacti, los nopales - symbolic gestures of and homages to my amazing Mexican heritage, as well as a forward-looking omen to all the great things to come, as we build our own legendary Atzlan here at Hacienda Dominguez & Chelenzo Farms.

These be some of the many things I love about living in Cerrillos,-Santa Fe.