Thursday, March 31, 2011
A Big Change: Busy SoCal to Rural New Mexico
In Mora County there are 3 people per square mile. The county's total population is 4,881. Our closest neighbor is a half mile away. From our house we can't see any lights except our own.
The 15 freeway, a main Southern California transportation artery, provided constant background noise, cars and trucks passing 24/7. Helicopters circled, whackwhackwhacking, monitoring the traffic or looking for bad guys.
Here the silence is deafening. At first the total absence of noise feels almost eerie. It's disconcerting hearing nothing....but wait a while and there are sounds: the wind hits the pine trees on the rimrock making them whoosh, the pines moving like slinky toys riveted to the ground. The creek trickles not too far away. Far off, a truck pulling a trailer clanks along the dirt road. It's not much, but it's something.
The postmistress knew us right away. "Are you Bridget?" she asked, my first time picking up mail at the post office 6 miles away. We have a free post office box since they don't deliver out our way. "I have all your mail right here," she said, and passed it across the counter. I was the only one in the post office. Saturdays can be busier and you may see several people in the parking lot catching up on the gossip for the week. A traffic jam is when people stop their trucks in the middle of the dirt road for a chat.
At the DVM, which is the motor vehicle department, I had to get my New Mexico driver's license. There was one person in line ahead of me, so I waited about 3 minutes. "Do you want a four year or an eight year license?" the clerk asked. The lady standing behind me tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "Decide after you have your photo taken," she advised. "Go for 4 years if the picture is bad. You won't have to put up with it for so long."
Good advice. The photo looked decent, so I don't have to renew for 8 years. There was no test except for my vision. I was out of there in 10 minutes.