I believe in New Mexico.
Every summer, the Land of Enchantment welcomes me deep into its valleys and high atop its mountains. This is where I’ve changed. It has become my holy site- my escape from my identity of the school year and the boredom of routine. It is here that I feel human.
My mom, a professor of photography at a Dallas university, decided that my brother and I should spend the summers away from the distractions of the city and in the flesh of nature. Thus began my memories of Taos, my New Mexican home.
I remember being scared of the hippies with dreadlocks and Taos’ abundance of old, beat up cars. My brother and I gobbled up vanilla ice cream outside a coffee shop off the plaza. After I accidentally rode my bicycle with training wheels over a rattlesnake, I ran to tell my parents they needed to catch the snake. My dad captured that sneaky venomous reptile in a white plastic bag, tying it shut so the snake wouldn’t escape. My early memories of Taos are endless, embracing me with their naiveness and purity.
But New Mexico is more than fragments of my childhood; it is a series of change and internal maturation. Every school year, my mind developed, as I asked more questions about the world and my part in it. Taos marked my growth over the school year. When I returned to New Mexico the next summer, I no longer needed training wheels. The summer after, I could ride my bike without using my hands. And last summer, I went for numerous bicycle rides by myself, high into the aspen trees and brisk wind.
My mental capacity has developed to the point that I can imagine the abstract. I recognize this as a process of growth. New Mexico breathes life into me, for it is there that I connect to my past, present, and future. I believe that as humans, we need to develop a relationship with ourselves, to observe the changes and consistencies in the world around us. Taos is more than a place; it is a feeling of being human and participating in life.
I now love examining the width of a Taoseno’s dreadlocks, photographing those old Subaru cars painted wildly with expression, and watching out for snakes slithering across hiking trails. And it is this change, this progressive understanding and perspective of the world, which I feel so deeply for. New Mexico is my life.
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