I got up at 4:30
this morning, because the weather was too hot for me to stay
in bed. When the temperature gets in the 90s, Santa Feans complain-but
keep in mind that we are spoiled. Every time we take a trip
to other parts of the world, we realize all over again how wonderful
we really have it here. Most homes in Santa Fe do not have air-conditioning.
Even the very expensive homes. When things get too hot, most
of us have an old electric fan lying around, and that usually
does the trick. Yet this year seems particularly hot. Some people
say Santa Fe is going through a temperature change. Maybe they
are right. Santa Fe is going through a lot of changes.
Approaching the Plaza
shortly after 6 o'clock, on my normal Tuesday-morning walk,
I started reading the signs of the businesses along the way.
And suddenly it hit me-Santa Fe was changing from a big town
into a small city. Although I had realized it before, I guess
I had never stopped to think about it. This morning, however,
In my "town" mentality, I was still picturing Santa
Fe in terms of stores owned by local shopkeepers, plus the few
big retailers such as Sears or J. C. Penney that can be found
in every town of consequence in America. Yet now so many of
the business names are those of chain operations: Borders, Eddie
Bauer, J. Crew, Haagen-Dazs, Ann Taylor. And where Southwestern
products once represented the norm, now stores selling products
from other countries-Persian carpets, Kilim furniture-seem to
stand on every other corner.
I passed one shop selling fancy Western clothing like the kind
you would see performers wear on the Grand Ole Opry. The same
store also featured leather plaques with the carved bust of
Roy Rogers, leather-trimmed mirrors with cow horns mounted on
top, and a lunch pail like we carried when I was a kid-only
this one had "DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS" painted on the
side. Gazing into this window, I thought to myself, "Maybe
Santa Fe is headed for the last roundup." Maybe from the
special town many of us remember, Santa Fe is evolving into
a city. Maybe some of us who have been here a long time are
finding it hard to make the adjustment. But was this bad? I
A block north of the Plaza-where things have looked pretty much
the same for many years, the area where the city administrative
offices are followed by the federal building complex-I slipped
back into my comfort zone. It was the Santa Fe of yesteryear,
and at that early hour few tourists were out and about to dispel
the illusion. In the calm of the morning, surrounded by familiar
things, I began to compare the town of my memories to the city
of today. And to my relief, I still found much to appreciate.
The stores may have changed, but the skies we walk under while
wandering the streets are still brilliant blue, the mountains
that surround us are still pristine and restful, and the air
we breathe is still fresh.
As I circled the federal building and headed back toward the
core of our city, I realized that despite its growing pains,
Santa Fe is still the place for me. It still has charm and tranquility.
In my opinion it is probably the most cosmopolitan city of its
size in the world, yet just outside of its boundaries the wonderful
feeling of the out-of-doors still exists. And anytime I feel
like grumbling about the weather, all I have to do is go somewhere
else-anywhere elseto be reminded of how good we've
got it here.
Have a great day.