The Street Where I Live February 22nd, 2008

Garcia Street looks different today.

To my mind it’s one of the prettiest streets in Santa Fe.  The guys at the electric company do a mindless job every spring of cropping branches on the cottonwoods and Chinese elms lining the street.  There are so many talented sculptors and arborists and city planners in this area, you’d think these trees could be cropped away from the power lines with at least some sense of aesthetics, but they’re not.  Still, the street on my block with the butchered trees is nonetheless remarkably pretty.

While I’m at it, the sidewalk along Garcia Street is nothing to blog about, either. Mud covers the cracking concrete in patches, as city efforts to pave and repave the street have raised its level higher than the sidewalk.  Every rain brings a river and the sidewalk becomes the riverbed.   Pedestrians on their way from the art galleries of Canyon Road to the coffee shop and bookstore on Acequia Madre (“The Mother Ditch”), are forced to walk in the street.  This gives Garcia some of its character as well.

The houses along Garcia reflect the mixed architectural history of Santa Fe.  Our own house is made of both wood-frame and adobe bricks, originally built in 1912 – the year New Mexico became a state – and rebuilt in 1924 by John Gaw Meem, the founder of “Santa Fe Style” architecture.  Our street also has houses that reflect “Territorial” and “Pueblo” style architecture, plus a few grand Victorian houses which pre-date the design restrictions that otherwise give Santa Fe its consistent “look”. 

Yes, it’s beautiful.  I’m standing at my front door looking out onto the street and I’m seeing it all differently.  I’m so sad.

When I picked Asa up from school he noted at least twice within the first two minutes, “What’s going on?  You seem really happy.”

“Aren’t I always happy?”

“Not like this.  You’re different.”

Such is the nature of springtime.  We’ve had a day of snow followed by melting and sunshine, followed by more snow.  The weather doesn’t know if it’s coming or going.

But I’m going.

After sixteen years in Santa Fe, my childrens’ home town, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse.  By September we will be living in Boston.

Friends and followers of this blog will already know some things.  Change has been in the air like these opening fits and starts of spring.  Even my brother’s bout with mortality came as a sign and portent for the whole family. Ubiquitous posters and commercials by a certain prevailing political candidate all send the message of change change change, fueling my own fires and striking a very personal resonance.  Turn the page, the man says.  Let’s write our own history, he says.  Well, that’s what I’m doing.

Even this blog – which, due to the tectonic shifts I’ve ridden over the past couple weeks has been irresponsibly absent of new entries (my apologies) – reflects my new open door policy.  The blog is my shingle, and when I put it out last October I was declaring to the world, “I’m open to the public.  I’ve spent enough time in the relative isolation of my thoughts in my garage up in my mountain.  Starting now I’m putting myself out there.”

I opened the door to let myself out and to see who might come in.

And it worked.  Some really amazing and interesting people from all over the world have come in.  One of them offered me a job.  That’s what happens when you open a door. 

In the meantime, both my brain and my computer will be staying close at hand, and I can only hope that I will continue to post these essays and musings for a good while longer. 

But there is a Groundhog Day type observation, here, and that relates to Garcia Street:  same street, different Danny.  And it all turned on such a small thing – the place I choose to call home.   On such small things such big changes come!  It’s so sad, but I don’t think I’ve been this happy for a long time.



Comment by michael rubin
2008-02-22 13:09:09

Hey bro.

I’m remembering our life in LA for the short period when we overlapped. I’m remembering how fun it was to be adults and to live a mile or so apart, far from where we began. You were married, of course, living in Los Feliz — I was dating Jennifer, not even yet engaged, but living in sin in Beachwood Canyon.

And we were all four of us talking about where we should live; i mean, it went without saying we weren’t going to stay in Los Angeles!! So i’m remembering the four of us sitting in some breakfast spot maybe on Normandie? The way i recall it, we were talking and maybe there were two guys at the next table, or maybe they were a couple and you knew them? But they were just back from a GREAT vacation in Santa Fe, and talking about it.

“Hmmm… Santa Fe?” We all mulled. I don’t think any of us had considered the town, and none of us had ever visited. “Let’s go check out Santa Fe,” we decided that morning, that breakfast, on the random suggestion of two guys I can’t remember.

In my version of things, we decided to go immediately, flew out a week or so later, stayed in a that little B&B on the Paseo. I remember that trip so fondly, the colors and smells, the people we stumbled into and with whom we began conversations. And just like that, in a day, you and Louise proclaimed “we will live here!”

Jennifer and I were less sure. On the one hand, Santa Fe was totally great. And the idea of us having a little family compound with y’all was enticing. On the other, there is something important about the ocean….

Jen had convinced me that if I didn’t leave LA soon, I would grow far too comfortable — and knowing my tendency towards inertia — and painted a picture that began “if you don’t leave now, you’ll NEVER leave…”
You moved to Santa Fe, and shortly thereafter, Jen and I got engaged and moved to Santa Cruz. And off our new lives went. Just like that.

At some imperceptible moment, we leaped. Inexplicable for its randomness, really. And once again, now, it happens to us both. Your job offer, my stroke… here were are at that open doorway where for no good reason other than reason itself, we take a step. I don’t really know what’s next from here at the beach, but if history is any indication, i’m a year or so behind you, watching what you do. Encouraged and inspired. In some way, that’s what older brothers are good for. “Go have fun.” That’s what you advised me when I took the Bertolucci job in London. “Just go with no preconceived ideas, and see where it leads you.”


Comment by A Long
2008-02-26 04:43:40

Good things happening to a nice guy… I guess Phil Connors wasn’t such a far-fetched character after all. Congratulations. I hope you can keep this blog going.

Comment by Danny
2008-02-26 07:31:36

Will do, my friend. You meet the nicest people!

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