Hear Me Roar
June 2022 Issue
Career: Chiropractor and Acupuncturist, retired.
Current: Guest services, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú, New Mexico
Hometown: Brunswick, GA (since 1980)
You split your time between Brunswick and New Mexico. Why New Mexico?
My first trip here was in 1993, on a summer vacation with my young children and my travel friend Sister Andrea, a Catholic nun. Our first impressions were immediately positive: The landscape was outstanding and so was the wonderful food. We all fell in love immediately with sopaipillas served with honey, and the rice, beans and guacamole chicken enchiladas that are so delicious.
Our first stop was in Albuquerque, where we saw hot air balloons being inflated in the field outside our hotel, and where a mariachi band serenaded our table at dinner.
In Santa Fe, we found a children’s museum with wonderful interactive activities, including a rock climbing wall; and the art-tastic Canyon Road, where galleries are so numerous it takes more than a day to thoroughly see them all. Never had we viewed such brilliantly colored art, such exquisite Native jewelry and pottery, or such perfectly crafted statues!
On this first trip, we made friends, including the well-known Taos Pueblo painter and author Jonathan Warm Day and his girls. For years, we visited nearly every summer, enjoying the unique experiences that New Mexico offers in terms of art, food, hiking, people, and weather. Have I mentioned how incredibly blue the sky is?
Fast forward to 2016. My college friend, Lynda Mcintyre, was teaching an art class in New Mexico and wanted me to enroll. My kids have long since grown up, so this was a good opportunity to have a different experience of New Mexico. I visited in Santa Fe for a few days, then made my way north to Espanola. Here, instead of continuing straight towards Taos, I turned left onto Route 84, in the direction of Abiquiú and Ghost Ranch; I had never driven this way. I sometimes get anticipatory jitters when taking a new route, especially when mountain driving might be involved. I’m afraid of heights, and had been on some scary roads a few times while driving around New Mexico. So I headed up route 84 not knowing what to expect.
Never have I seen such incredible high desert scenery, magnificent multi layered mesas, and faceted, colorful rock faces! The view was, and still is, stunning, breathtaking, and the most exuberant expression of earth and nature that I have ever seen or experienced. I passed the tiny town of Abiquiú and continued north. A formidable mesa loomed ahead, and I could see the guard rail along the left side. Jitters! I have to drive up that? I inhaled and stepped on the gas. Up and around, with big rock on my right and space on my left. The road eventually opened at the top, and then it was a series of peaks and valleys that brought me in between the huge rock formations, with their enormous stripes of colorful minerals.
I was awestruck. Overwhelmed;
filled with emotion and appreciation
and joy and humility. I cried.
The immensity, the timelessness,
the sheer beauty of this place was,
and is, beyond my ability to describe it.
I arrived at the turn-off to Ghost Ranch a changed person. The art class, creative and fun, along with being with my friend again and meeting all the new friends, was all overridden by my perception of this extraordinary place in which I found myself. I knew then I had to be there. This land called to me like nothing else ever has. It’s six years later, and now I live and work at Ghost Ranch. I am grateful for every minute I spend here. There’s a sweet and joyful community among the staff of 50, with our collective job being to provide a welcoming and wonderful experience for those who visit. I embrace the practical nature of the work, but I am quite continually and humbly aware of the gift and blessing that this land is to me. I get to see and experience these astounding mesas, this incredibly blue sky, the cottonwoods, the ravens, the deer, the flat-topped formation of Pedernal standing sentinel in the distance. My heart is wide open. My soul is energized. I have found home.
What have you learned from your travels?
Travel is enriching in so many ways, as every state and town has a unique identity, and every community has a special beauty. The trees, birds, climate and horizons shift and change as one drives through them. You can tell I’m a fan of road trips! #RoseOnTheRoad
What three words inspire you?
Never. Give. Up.
What’s your favorite book?
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
West Side Story (both 1961 and 2021 versions)
"At Last" by Etta James
Who is your greatest role model?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I loved the film clip of her working out at the gym in her 80s with Stephen Colbert. She was unafraid and persistent in all her work.
What do you most look forward to when you get home after a road trip?
I love coming back to Brunswick to see family and friends, to the familiar faces and fun local spots, the pets, the ocean and the islands.
What has been your greatest adventure, so far?
I’ve been blessed with so many great adventures that it’s impossible to single out just one, but I think hiking in the Alps in 1998 is close to the top of the list. There were cows all around on the sloping pastures, and their cowbells were incredibly melodious.
One thing on your bucket list is:
A lengthy visit to Ireland and Scotland
What is something about you that would surprise people?
I ran for Congress in 1996 and wrote a book about it. No; I didn’t win.
What advice would you give to other single women about traveling?
For women who want to travel alone, go for it! Take reasonable precautions and don’t take risks, but also don’t be afraid to see the country and the world, if that’s your wish. Your heart and mind will be opened by seeing what lies outside your usual places. There’s so much wonder to be experienced, and so much learning to be enjoyed!
I always feel better when…
I’m outdoors, with a New Mexico ultra-blue sky framing my view of the world.
I’m Roaring about:
The joy and opportunity of life! Don’t wait to live it, take yourself outside and find the adventure.