Oh Santa Fe, you are so beautiful from up here. Like the westerlies in Ireland, you’re so decadent and violent.

I know that jagged watermelon is Albuquerque, so Taos must be over there.

That’s where I started the pandemic last March. My little brother visited. We talked about how it sort of feels like the world is ending and caught the last runs the day the season was cut short. Then I dropped him off at the airport and drove back to my casita.

I grew up in Washington, D.C., with Rocky Mountain blood. Riding a snowboard suits my personality. Every September, the first frost makes me feel antsy for snow, so I start squatting and biking up hills. I’m all guitar solos and broken bones. I enjoy the views and how no two runs are the same. I like pretending to be somebody else on the chairlift and driving a Subaru up Hyde Park Road through the snow with one hand on a red chile breakfast burrito.

I remember holding on to optimism about the future around the start, but mostly the pandemic has me living in the confines of fear.

Fear that I’m going to lose my job. Fear that I contracted the virus while out reporting and just infected the grocery store cashier and then her family. Fear that I’ll lose somebody I love. Fear that whatever is on the other side of this is somehow worse.

Emotions have two sides, and I missed the good fear, the kind where the risk is a personal consequence I accepted long ago. Friday, on my first day riding this season, I launched into a back-side 360 without really scoping out the landing.

I also missed just saying “thanks, bro” to the lift operators, who I believe should also be deployed to the Plaza to tell tourists to “put your mask on, bro.”

I have also missed summer music and vacations and other markers I used to stick in the calendar to keep time. This pandemic life is so repetitive. I go to the grocery store every other Wednesday, the laundromat once a month and take socially distanced walks and hikes. While riding, I at least know it must be December, which means Christmas is coming up, which really does suck, even up here in the mountains.

And I know there’s heartbreak at the bottom. This week I’ll write about how your children are starving and your mothers are facing eviction. Maybe for an obituary, I’ll interview some of your siblings about just how in love their parents were before COVID-19 killed them.

But my my, Santa Fe, you are so beautiful from up here.

Dillon Mullan is a staff writer for The New Mexican.

(1) comment


Please always scope out the landing zone first. This too shall pass and by next spring we’ll be hearing that long awaited wedding toast and hitting the horse race at Funland. Vaccine on the way bro!

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