While on the road I turned 35. This blazing sunset was taken on the eve of my last day being 34. I was in the parking lot of Bodyshock Fitness, a gym in Los Lunas I discovered on this trip that was my salvation while in New Mexico. After a particularly hard workout, I was rewarded with this fiery sky. I thought about the past year and all the change it has brought for me, the wild ride my heart and body have endured, and what I want from the next cycle - be it a day, a year, or a decade.
This snapshot was taken at sunrise on my 35th birthday, taken from the ditch road that runs behind my dad's house. I was feeling very proud of myself, as I'd managed to go to a 5:30am body combat class to start my day off right, an intense bout of movement before getting on a plane and heading to Houston later that day. I could hear the soft sound of water flowing through the irrigation ditch some doves cooing in the distance. I kept my ears and eyes alert for signs of sandhill cranes (they migrate to New Mexico every fall, often arriving on the day of my birthday) but didn't hear/see any although I knew they were out there somewhere.
As part of the Texas leg of my trip, I decided to drive to Austin for a night and experience the last place I called home prior to moving to Mozambique. I haven't been back since I left in 2005. I decided to visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and journal for a bit amid the greenery and bronze figures. It was hot and humid, but the scenery was so perfect for reflection that I found a bench in the shade and wrote for about an hour, trying to ignore the sweat dripping down my legs. What a strange experience to revisit Austin after 11.5 years. So much has happened in that time, yet in many ways it feels I'm back in the same psychological place I was in when I left Texas and headed to Africa. The end of one major chapter and the start of another, tumultuous at times but full of promise and adventure.
In the Mexico leg of my trip, I enjoyed reflective time while swimming in cenotes (freshwater swimming holes that dot the Yucatan Peninsula and were considered sacred by the Mayans). This one pictured here is Cenote Azul. The water was clear and refreshing, and the jungle scenery all around made it feel like the garden of Eden. Swimming here felt like hitting the reset button on my life, which may be a bit dramatic but it really did seem that way in the moment.
Finally here is a moment from the women's wellness retreat that brought me to Tulum. We did a clay treatment and then went into the ocean to wash it off. I am the person on the far right. This was the start to me swimming far out into the water, what I wrote about in my previous post. I felt very calm here, at ease with myself and my surroundings.
My hope is that I can carry these feelings from my trip into my California life, especially as I gear up for the busy holiday season with my jewelry work, and continue to navigate the up's and down's of my personal life transition. Starting my day today with blogging was a good way to reconnect and reflect, for sure.