Ten Things I Love about Truth or Consequences

Conversations. I’ve never been in a situation where anyone was at a loss for words. The line in Bullock’s grocery store, Art Hop, the pool, a drum circle by the Rio Grande at night … it doesn’t matter. People will talk to you anywhere. I met all my friends here through random conversations with strangers.

Passion Pie Café. The place has art on the walls, art on the tables, great tea and coffee, vegan date bars, a free book shelf, and plenty of the above-mentioned conversation.

Hot springs. Of course. That used to be the town’s name. A soak can restore mind and body and spirit.

A history of healing. Magnolia Elis was an important part of the town’s life as a healing destination in the middle of the twentieth century. Her capacities as a healer were reputed to be extraordinary. Her building is a historic landmark now, with her name glowing on the roof in blue neon at night.

Critters. Bats come out at dusk to hunt insects near the Rio Grande, swooping and dancing over the river and the wetlands. If I go to the right spot at the right time, they surround me. Sometimes I’ve seen them crossing the stars as I lay in a hot spring at night. If there’s been rain late in the day, tarantulas emerge from their burrow to seek mates. Lizards seem to be everywhere—scurrying from one patch of shade to the next by day, occasionally sticking to walls and windows in the evening. They look bland at first, but on closer inspection I’ve found that some are pearlescent gray with a subtle peachy glow and others have a delicate brown-and-white checkered pattern with hints of orange. There are hummingbirds, butterflies, and also few of the most impressively vile bugs I’ve ever met, such as big black ants that can bite through your socks and a few summers ago we had a bizarre inundation of skunk beetles. I don’t want them to visit again, but they were interesting.

Stars. Okay, everyone in the desert gets excited about stars. Anyone who has ever come from the humid East to the dry West has had the same dazzling discovery: there are a lot stars up there, and they are really bright.

Rain. It’s so special when it rains in the desert. A big black cloud is not threatening but promising.

Turtleback Mountain. The serene turtle draped gracefully on its crest really looks like a turtle. (I can’t see the elephant in Elephant Butte, can’t even tell which of those gray buttes is supposed to be the elephant)  The turtle is always relaxed, as if he has just done yoga and is now in an amphibian’s version of savasana. With the recent rain he’s looking a little like a chia pet as the red-brown rock fuzzes up with patches of green.

Color. Much I love adobe-brown-pink-beige Santa Fe, I like the way T or C mingles that esthetic with wilder décor (and a lot of trailers). There is a candy-cane striped law office on Main Street. Homes range from adobe-normal to pink, purple, yellow, turquoise, and covered with murals. A shop on Broadway has Lakota-style ledger art on its stucco walls. The next one is bright green with orange and blue turtles parading over the door. An old van drives around town wearing the word “whatever” on its collage-covered side.

This isn’t a rich town; in fact quite the opposite—it’s always struggling. And yet it never collapses in on itself. It’s vibrant, full of art and originality.

 Do you know and love T or C? What’s one of your favorite things about it?

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12 thoughts on “Ten Things I Love about Truth or Consequences

    • I can hear thee coyotes howling every night on the other side of the river. I like the art by the museum. And across the street there is the WPA art mural in the old Post Office. The museum is really good for such a small town. The murals on the Civic Center and the Visitor’s Center are worth taking a drive by to see.

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      • Good additions to this list! I used to hear a donkey answer the coyotes a while back. Great music.
        And since tonight is Art Hop, we can add that to the pleasures of T or C. Maybe I’ll see all of you there.

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  1. I love it here in T or C, I moved here in 1994, from California and then I left for a few years, but I had to come back, because I missed it so much, people accepted us back like we never left.

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  2. I have my heaven right on the bank of the Rio Grande tucked up with a porch that keeps me in a cool breeze coming up off the river where I sit, read and enjoy everything from tubers floating in the summer months to kayakers in the winter. There’s a deck out over the river where the hot tub is set to enjoy both mornings and evenings and fishing during the day.
    It is my oasis in the desert, and home.

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  3. I’ve been going to T or C since 1952, fishing, boating, soaking, walking the desert, enjoying the delightfully offbeat population and, in the last eight years or so, doing books signings at Black Cat. When I tell my wife I want to move there, I see divorce in her eyes. When I tell others who motor past T or C on I-25 that I always stop even if I don’t need gasoline, I see fear in their eyes as if I’m a lunatic who might come unhinged at any point. I don’t think you can sell T or C to anyone. You just have to feel it. But if anyone can convince others that T or C is a special place, it would have to be someone who writes well and truly loves the place. That would be Amber Foxx.

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  4. We lived in TorC for 22 years. What makes this place so special are the people. After being gone for 20 years they still remember who I am.

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