Tuesday, February 13, 2007

We are back from a weekend trip to a mountain getaway that the College owns southwest of here. Sorry, Virginia, but charming as the Llano Estacado may be, we’re stuck on the whole mountain sublime thing. Lo is planning to teach a class out there in April, so in some ways this trip could be seen as work … nice work if you can get it! The townhouse we stayed in was built in the 1970s in that cozy rustic style--you know, a couch with removable square cushions built into the wall, a wood stove, lots of rich, brown wood accents and pieces of earth-colored pottery sitting around. Our families decided they couldn’t afford the transportation to get to this spot for Thanksgiving this past November. This year, we’re going to twist some arms.

The place is nestled in a valley between two mountain ranges on an old Spanish land grant. In the nearby small towns, boutique-ish hippie craftspeople, various flavors of New Age spiritual seekers, and a few Tibetan refugees rub shoulders with real estate speculators and a dispossessed rural underclass. We got to mingle with a cross section of these crowds during a delightful afternoon at the local hot spring. Actually, there are two prominent hot springs in the valley--the $12.00/day one which offers yurt rentals, massage therapy, and private pools; and the $6.00/day one that looks like a swimming pool and sells chili dogs and cheese steaks, along with the odd vegetarian entrée. We went to the latter spot and spent the afternoon basking in the hot water, watching the clouds recede over the mountains, alongside local moms and dads with kids, a crowd of punkish teenagers, and a few corpulent German tourists.

In this community even the fire department playfully adopts Buddhist symbolism (left), but we were struck by the economic inequality evident amid all the mysticism. When Laura went to the hyper-expensive grocery store in the small town near the satellite campus, she stood in line behind a father buying food with food stamps. When the man’s daughter asked to buy a Valentine’s Day card for her teacher, he said, “No, honey, it’s too expensive.”

Yesterday was a beautiful day for the return drive, and we did it just in time. We arrived to find all the snow in our backyard melted and Mike-n-Ronda’s pansies still blooming after nearly two months on ice. We won’t see them long, however. Another three inches of snow are expected today, and it will probably be around until Friday at least. This is our last week of relative “freedom” until we both start teaching. Wish us luck!


Blogger la rebelde said...

sounds like a nice little vacation!

February 13, 2007 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm jealous and will make a commitment for next Thanksgiving.

March 13, 2007 6:29 PM  

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