Monday, July 21, 2008


Musings in the Shadow of Georgia's Mountain
Barbara Heming.

Stepping Off the Highway

Welcome to an exploration of creative living out of the mainstream.
After four decades of urban living in world capitals and smaller cities, three years ago I stepped off the highway. Although I had never visited New Mexico, it had been calling me over a period of two years. Unable to continue to ignore its voice, I quit my job in Ohio, packed up and headed west.

The artists’ Mecca Santa Fe was my tentative destination. Less than twenty-four hours after my arrival, I knew it was a mistake. Despite the museums, the architecture, and the plaza, the energy wasn’t right.

Confused, almost in despair, I decided to visit Ghost Ranch northwest of Santa Fe. Beyond Abiquiu I drove up the hill to a mesa. On my right red rock cliffs towered in stately columns. The land dropped off to the left opening to a narrow valley through which the Chama River flowed. Hills of red, yellow and white rock glistening from flecks of mica rose from the valley floor. Pinions and junipers dotted the hillsides. My heart shouted, “I have to live here.” Although I had never lived in a high desert place and didn’t know anyone, I knew I had finally come home. Through serendipitous conversations and events, I found a cabin to rent in an old Hispanic village in a box canyon three miles off the highway.

Our hearts know the home where our creative wellsprings dwell. At times the resonances are strong; other times they are the merest stirrings of recognition. If we listen to them, we can follow the thread through the maze of our daily routines to the center where our lives wait to speak to us. What places or moments in your life have spoken to you? Have they led you to the creative stirrings in your heart? As you remember them, what do they tell you about how to live your creative life wherever you are planted today?

Stepping off the highway does not have to mean making a huge life change as I did, rather it can be as simple as taking a different route to work or trying a food you’ve never tasted or not turning on the TV as usual. Then listen. How does it feel? What does it tell you? A small change in routine can be a step off the highway to a new direction.

In this blog I will reflect on aspects of living the creative life close to nature in the high desert suggesting how those lessons might apply to artists wherever they might find themselves at this particular moment. Hope you will join me to muse in the shadow of the mountain Georgia O’Keefe made her own.

After four decades of urban living, Barbara Heming, a former college professor and fiber artist, stepped off the highway into the high desert of northern New Mexico in Georgia O’Keefe territory, where she has devoted herself to writing and creativity coaching. She will reflect on the many facets of living the creative life close to nature. Her first novel is in revision. In addition, she continues to write poetry, take photographs and work with fiber. You can contact Barbara at

1 comment:

J Johnson said...

This is inspiring.

To see, to feel, to grasp in part your journey and sense the template that you have shared with us makes my heart and soul just sing.

It makes every moment and best of all the next moment a possible gateway filled with precious opportunities.

Thank you.