How I Came to Live on Lama Mountain

I grew up in Albuquerque and couldn’t wait to leave the desert.  I chose an opposite landscape when I moved to Portland, Oregon, at the age of 25.  I lived there for almost 15 years and loved it.  Nobody is more surprised than me that I ended up back in New Mexico.  But I love my new home and all that goes with it.

People ask me how I ended up on this mountain in the Sangre de Cristo range, entirely off-grid, starting from scratch.  I have lived in cities my whole life, and never imagined ending up here, living like this.  The Universe, however, had other plans for me.

I found out about the property a few days after my dad died in December 2008.  My mom and uncle and I were sitting around the dining room table of my childhood home, and they were talking about my dad’s businesses.  I was mostly not paying attention, but when my mom said, “I don’t know what we’re going to do with that property near Taos,” I felt suddenly snapped awake from a long sleep.  I asked for details.  It turns out my dad traded a piece of property for his old aerial surveying plane 25 years ago.  He had never visited the property and the company held it all these years as an asset.  My mom didn’t know much about it – she didn’t know how much property it was or where it was.  It could have been 1 acre or 100, on the mesa or at the bottom of the molybdemum mine near Questa for all she knew.

Like I said, I had no intention at that time of leaving Oregon and certainly didn’t see myself back in New Mexico.  But for the next several days, my morning walks were filled with visions of adobe houses and sagebrush, blessedly replacing visions of my dying father that had accompanied me on morning walks for months.

A couple weeks later, when I returned to Portland, I met Jeff (another story for another time).  He is as close to a genuine old-school mountain man as I’ve ever met, and he started to expose me to other ways of living.  Coincidentally, or synchronistically, he had at one time been thinking to relocate to northern New Mexico, about 15 miles away from where we now live.

The following year we came to see the property, and both of us were sold at first sight.  We went back to Oregon and started selling off our belongings.  We bought an old trailer that we gutted and remodeled, and it was our home for a little over a year when we got here (along with our four dogs and two cats.  Pretty cozy…).  We had no idea when we came here, but we have entered into a community of wonderful, like-minded people and feel like we’ve been friends with some of them forever.

It all definitely seems like it was meant to be, that we are doing what the Universe intended for us.  I hope my dad looks down on us when he’s floating around in the stars and knows how grateful I am that he had the foresight to acquire this little piece of mountain for me, whether he knew it at the time or not.

~ by Kate Mann on 26 July 2011.

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