Here’s a rule to live by: avoid any event at which glow sticks are sold. My friend Matty, who hosted me in Santa Fe, and I were momentarily excited by the fact that the annual Zozobra event was happening while I was there. It seemed a lucky coincidence. A great mannequin had been erected in the center of town, and it would be burned, along with all the bad thoughts from the year, down to the ground that night. Until we started realizing that there would actually be a lot of people there. People. To quote Georgia O’Keeffe again, “I wish people were like trees and I think I could enjoy them.” Because if they were, then Zozobra would have been like being in a forest in downtown Santa Fe. Maybe it’s the fact that I live in New York City, but I find that when I leave, the last thing I want to do is surround myself with lots of people, no matter how empty their heads are of bad thoughts, or soon-to-be-excised bad thoughts.
“Aren’t there hot springs around here?’ I asked Matty. Next thing you knew, we were heading through the crowds, a flowing mass moving unidirectionally, glow sticks their guiding wands, as we traveled in the opposite direction, out of town to the hills and the Ten Thousand Waves Spa, where 20 bucks got us a good long soak in a hot tub under ten thousand stars. We leaned our heads back and watched the swath of the Milky Way, the glow of what we think was Jupiter, and shooting stars, one..two…three! Each streak of light would be enough of a taste to make me continue to stare up into the clear desert sky, waiting for the next one. The joy of celestial mechanics never ends.
The next day, I’m on the road again, crossing the blazing desert and heading to Tuba City, Arizona.