Sunday, November 25, 2012

The fountain of youth

One of the things that brings people here to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, is the location along the Rio Grande-- the attraction of naturally occurring Hot Springs. I was excited about this, awesome, a hot tub in nature, but it wasn't the thing that brought me here. I had my first soak days after I arrived, and I have pretty much gone every other day since...

What is it about the hot springs? I'm not sure. They were considered sacred waters, some called them the fountain of youth, they have ultimate healing powers, they are spiritually calming, they reverse the aging process. Whatever it is, it is amazing. There are a number of spas and hotels to choose from, but I choose La Paloma.

They have private rooms with low lights, flute music, the sense of total rest and isolation. Yet once you've gone into your room you climb the wooden steps down into the actual river-- you are in a private pool, yet your feet rest on the natural rocks of the river bottom.

The water is usually around 108 degrees and for half an hour I float in the pool and literally can feel my body unwinding, loosening, relaxing... and the miraculous thing is that my mind does the same.

I am a morning writer. But I like to soak in the hot springs in the evening, walking back through the wide streets at dusk. The stars are blinking alive, people have strung christmas lights along their low fences (everyone has low fences-- with vicious dogs behind them), and the night is quiet. It's cold too, once the sun has set, but my body is still radiating heat from the hot springs as I walk. And the thing is, even though I'm a morning writer, once I've soaked in the fountain of youth, I'm writing at night. Something I'm grateful for as I have just under a week left in this writer's camp. Some days it's the canyons, some days the hot springs, some days it's the cowboy on a bicycle or the artist in town who paints only ducks and horses, but each day something else is climbing into the stories I'm telling.

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