Half-way between New Mexico and Virginia, my tire pressure goes down. It happens every year. Nothing is wrong with the tires. It’s just that I go to mechanics in Santa Fe and they make sure the pressure is normal for that altitude, and then I descend to the lowlands.
When I unpack in Virginia, I always find that my shampoo bottle and other plastic containers have collapsed inward, folding in around the empty spaces inside them. When I run, I feel the heaviness of the air—the dampness as well as the low altitude. It’s hard work, like plowing through used teabags. Talk about coming down!
It’s time to recompress. I’ll readapt to the climate, to the busyness of the academic year, and to the green campus, so conventional and normal. I’m in the transitional phase, now though. I miss the colors and textures of the desert, the people in T or C, the eccentric personality of the town itself, the spaciousness of my life there and all the open space around it—so delightfully situated in the middle of nowhere. The challenge now is stay spacious inside when my surroundings aren’t, and as external demands become like the air, an unseen weight leaning on me. I did yoga on my back deck today, and two tiny bees sat peacefully on my shoulder through several poses. I was grateful to have this practice of active mindfulness. It left me feeling whole and bright. My outer life has to recompress, but my soul doesn’t.