Chelle Summer

I can see for miles and miles

Michelle Rusk

There is a place as I’m driving to downtown Albuquerque from my house that is at the top of what doesn’t look so much like a hill until you realize how much you can see heading west to the mesa where the city ends.

(The photo above is going the opposite direction– up the steady incline toward the mountains).

I was driving that way to 12:10 pm mass recently– which means it was early enough that the day still felt fresh and crisp– especially because the temperature was going up to 90 degrees in the afternoon and it wasn’t hot yet. Everything felt new. And hopeful.

I had lived right there in a studio apartment during my first year of graduate school when I moved to New Mexico when I came to Albuquerque with no car. That meant I biked south to campus. And when I found a high school cross country coaching gig, I biked several miles north– and about two miles east– via the bike path to the school.

Growing up in Illinois and attending college in Indiana, seeing for miles– especially when it wasn’t a cornfield– wasn’t something I to which I was accustomed. Quickly, I found the views inspiring and reflecting back I see how lucky I was that I had the opportunity to bike it daily. The wind wasn’t so fun but until fall kicked in, I felt as if I hit the jackpot every afternoon.

As I drove that way to church last week, I realized how much that view was hopeful to me. And then I recalled the many times I’d made the trip on my bike when I first moved to New Mexico. Then as a 22 year old who uprooted my entire life and being to become part of the desert landscape. It wasn’t an easy time as my younger sister had just died eighteen months before, but I can look back now and see how coming here was part of my hope.

Continuing to live here with these vistas and sunny days is part of where I still find my hope and inspiration.