As a little girl I used to keep a journal of all my thoughts and dreams. I haven’t done that in years, and it occurred to me that now would be the perfect time to start a new journal after something miraculous happened to me.
How good it felt to leave my worries behind, waving good-bye to anxiety and stress and welcoming calmness back into my soul.
A miracle happened to me on this trip. My non-disabled body was returned for four glorious days while in Santa Fe. With no humidity, I was able to spend an entire day — AN ENTIRE DAY — fully awake and functioning without the need to nap. My legs and arms were never weak. I felt like I did 30 years ago.
It was phenomenal, and something I won’t soon forget.
How sweet it was to start our journey by spending time with family in Scottsdale that I rarely see and to renew relationships kept on hold while life continues to take us in different directions.
My journey continued to Santa Fe as I joyfully celebrated my silver wedding anniversary with Gary. It was a blessing. We spent quality time together in an area where art, architecture and landscape intersect to create a Mecca of beauty in a quaint, picturesque town.
It was thrilling to be here because this trip has always been on our l-o-n-g Bucket List.
I could breathe again and be myself. Wearing scarves, boots and turquoise, I fit right in with the rhythm of the creative culture.
The adobe buildings were captivating, housing unique galleries, museums, restaurants, shops and homes that colorfully dot the landscape.
Walking along the unique Canyon Road was bedazzling. As we took our time strolling along the area, we discovered that each adobe building housed new and creative artistic treasures of sculptures, jewelry and paintings.
The nature in Santa Fe reinvigorated me. We drove our rental car out of the city and into the narrow two-lane highway of High Road that brought us into the majestic mountains that offered breathtaking views at every turn.
Along the way we stopped at several charming galleries and walked around El Santuario de Chimayó, a National Historic Landmark church that is famous for the 300,000 yearly visitors it receives in search of their holy healing dirt.
We fell in love with one gallery in particular because of the sweet nature of the artist/owners, their creative pieces of art and the magnificent property they’ve owned for more than 30 years.
I imagined myself sitting outside, listening to the wind chimes created by the owners, surrounded by the beauty of the mountains.
We could finally understand why Georgia O’Keefe moved from New York to Santa Fe after losing her husband, famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz. To be alone with her art, and with the landscape she loved. Now it all made sense.
I loved the blending of Native American, Latino, White and Asian cultures who peacefully coexisted. I loved the vibrant colors of the textiles, jewelry, clothing and artwork.
Every meal was another adventure in delicious cuisine, whether it was authentic New Mexican or French food, or a small bakery (Sage Bakehouse) where using only organic, farm fresh ingredients is important to them. Their policy of providing leftover food to charities that feed the poor endeared them to me.
There was so much to explore, and we made a concerted effort to live fully in every moment, savoring each experience together while toasting to the next 25 wonderful years together.
With love and thanks,
A Grateful Girl
— Cathy Chester
Cathy Chester is a writer and health advocate from New Jersey whose blog, An Empowered Spirit, helps people live a healthy and vibrant life after 50. She’s a blogger/moderator for The Huffington Post, MultipleSclerosis.net and Healthline.com. She’s a peer advocate who also provides professional education presentations on behalf of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to nursing homes about the basics of living with MS.