“It’s an Albuquerque morning.”

What are we, exactly? Us humans.

Are we thought? Mood? Something baser and more concrete? A series of complex chemical reactions? Are we merely memories that breathe air, bump into each other and get into arguments? Perhaps we are someone else’s dream.

Are we skin-wrapped souls? Are we the sum of our experiences? Are we beautiful? Horrible? Violent and compassionate? Aimless and dedicated?

What are we?

This post is a distillation of several hours of conversation recently had at my house. A reaction. Possibly, even, a chemically complex one; my thoughts; my mood.

As I write this, I am drinking an exceptionally fine white tea, listening to sounds upon a windy moor (pumped through my little office speaker so as to help drown out the quiet moan of a window frame that’s shifting creakily in the fitful morning breeze.) I want to light a piñon incense, quite frankly, but I won’t as it would alarm the sleeper in the other room to wake to the smell of unexpected burning.

It’s an Albuquerque morning.

The phrase is a packed one. So much meaning in four little words. In many ways, it does a fantastic job at answering my questions above. (The Who am I? What am I? Why am I? of it all.) It is, in fact, the tack I took during the aforementioned philosophical conversation at my house.

For I am someone who lived in New Mexico in the formative and most impressionable years of my childhood. I returned to Wisconsin and embraced the heritage of the maternal side of the family. I drink tea. Decaf. I am selectively ambidextrous. Big dogs make me smile, almost unconsciously, but little ones scare me. I love to walk out on a frozen lake in the middle of winter, playing the game of how far from shore I dare go before I lose sight of safety and warmth. I am a member of the Roman Catholic church. I love sad stories with happy endings.

And it’s an Albuquerque morning. A reminder from the world of who I am and where I stand within it. Of where I’ve been and where I am going. A depth sounding of memories kept inside my soul.

For me, an Albuquerque morning is one that somehow carries the light and essence of my time spent in that city between the ages of 4 and 8: Not a cloud to be seen, the sky is the brightest, fairest blue. The air is crisp–borderline cold–but warming fast. The humidity is low, adding to said crispness in the air. Pent potential hums but does not rouse the late-sleeper. A lazy energy, it can be whatever you want it to be, will give you all that you ask of it.

More than that, it’s a feeling. Not quite a longing or reminiscence, but something in that vein.

My dad said the phrase a lot.

I always figured I knew what he meant by it.


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