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2.27.14 ~ living off the grid….or not.

by | Feb 27, 2014 | art studio, living, moving, rio grande, solitude

Along the RIo Grande, somewhere between Taos and Espanola.

I did something I knew I shouldn’t. But my curiosity got the better of me. I clicked on the Craig’s List housing listing describing an “off-the-grid” house with “spectacular views” about an hour north of Santa Fe.
And for several days my imagination got the better of me, dreaming of living in a solar house with a large fenced in, irrigated garden on 11 acres surrounded by BLM land, there in the Rio Grande canyon, with the river just a 10 minute walk away.

Look at those views! Look at those gables and dormers! 
The romantic light coming into that bedroom…. That beautiful kitchen! How I’d love to cook in that beautiful kitchen…and what a cool bathroom — with a bathtub! God, how I’ve missed taking baths….
No studio…Hmmmm…..but glorious high ceilings upstairs — couldn’t I paint up there if I’m very careful with the walls and that wood floor?
And that porch!  Ohhhhhhh how I’d love to sit on that porch and watch thunderstorms roll through the canyon….
And family and friends? They would LOVE this place! And my dog? She would be in doggie heaven with all the acreage! Just imagine the RABBITS!

My Man’s eyes lit up when I showed him the photos. “My God, that’s the kind of place I dream of retiring to!”

For four days I was lost in it.
I even scoped out the place from afar with a friend who lives in the area.
‘Talked it over with girl friends over wine and chocolate during our vision board gathering.

I contacted the owner.

And then I couldn’t sleep.
My heart was pounding — RACING! — like I was sprinting with everything I’ve got.
For 10 or 15 minutes my heart felt like it was in my throat. I couldn’t believe it: I was having an anxiety attack.

deep breath….


…..Deep Breath…..

…………..d e e e e p  b r e e e a t h………….

I focused on my breathing and repeated to myself:

All is well…..All is calm……I am at peace in this moment.
over again and again….. 
finally… heart……slowed…….
my breathing……slowed….and 
I was asleep.

Maybe it was the Spirit that hurled the brick at my head last summer when I was coming up with stupid excuses for not doing an art residency in Oregon. But the next day a Banshee voice busted through all the romantic daydreaming and asked,
What the hell are you doing?! 

This IS NOT your game plan!

This is NOT what you’ve been wanting!

This is ISOLATION! Do you really want to be an hour from town? Four hours round trip from Your Man?!

Do you really want to deal with a frickin water tank, filters, solar electric system and all the maintenance of living off the grid?!  Do you really want to live 15 minutes down a dirt road that’s dicey at best, harrowing at worst, and a likely worry all times in between?!

You have an ART BUSINESS that relies on a solid internet connection! Do you really think you’ll have consistent internet and cell coverage up there, if at all?! and say good by to studio visits from all but the most adventuresome patrons!

And — HELLO!! — remember the conversation with yourself at Playa, when you came to
the realization that, despite living in one of the art meccas of the WORLD, you hardly know any artists, are hardly involved in the art community, and you decided you want to CHANGE that? Do you really think you can achieve that all the way out there?!

And what about YOUR FRIENDS?! WHAT ABOUT YOUR MAN? You will rarely see them, no matter how much they love the place!


“Sounds like a whole lot of work for a nice view,” said one wise friend.

I cancelled my appointment with the owner.

And slept deeply that night.

“Sleeping Dog” by Waugsberg