I’m hooked on thoughts of love. I’m sure it’s accelerated right now with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, so I’ve been noodling on ideas to keep romance alive. But when I got the news that my sweetie had been tapped for a month of Sundays – and Fridays and Saturdays — at work, I took my long face alone into another room to pine over weekends of romance lost. But I decided to give myself some credit instead of pity, and had a short old-fashioned talking-to. That did the trick: sad enough that he’s stuck, but why make it sadder? I’ll simply be my own queen-bee until my honey is free to buzz around with me. How do I love me? It’s time to count the ways.
Shake It, Sister
I cherish my hands, because they do so much. I’m fond of my feet because they carry me all over town. My eyes and ears share all the good sights and sounds of The City Different. And I really appreciate my whole body operating by itself without my having to remind it. In view of my body’s excellent performance, I believe it deserves to perform freely, by which I mean to say: let’s dance!
Perhaps you’ve wandered around at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market and wondered why you heard the sound of drums. Be advised, there’s some wild action going across the tracks at the Railyard Performance Center. Over the course of 20-plus years, the fabulous free-spirited Elise Gent has built a legion of loyal followers who join together every Saturday morning to welcome the weekend in a ritual of rhythm. In a series of dances from West Africa, the Congo, and Haiti, waves of the willing let go into the joy and freedom of movement accompanied by a killer live drum circle. Open to anyone of any skill level, this is a full-body connection to loving yourself. All you need is loose clothing to lose yourself in this community gathering where you’ll never feel alone. It’s girls and guys alike, so don’t be shy, Mister. Check out this video from Santa Fe Creative Tourism and get ready to dance!
A Sweet Meal for a Single
After letting go on the dance floor, I always feel confident that I’ve shed enough calories to partake of a good lunch without worrying about every bite. All week long, I mind my diet, but when faced with a weekend lunch alone, I think I deserve a sweet hour or so to relax the rules a bit. And one of my favorite places to feel cozy and comfortable is to take the advice of the Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen: Eat Here Now (isn’t that a good old-fashioned slogan?)
Noted locally as one of Santa Fe’s Top Ten eateries, the light, bright dining room feels just right for a gal on the solo go. Secure in the knowledge that I shed at least a pound or two on the dance floor gives me license to order whatever I want, and it takes less than a minute to hone in on the shrimp and grits, a creamy bowl of rich and robust flavor. It’s been on the menu for quite a while, so I’m pretty sure I am not alone in making such a quick decision. And yes, those grits are gluten-free, as are a whole lot of choices, along with plenty of selections for vegetarians and vegans. Who knows, I might even come back on Saturday night to hear poetic tones from John Serkin on the slack key guitar.
Feeding the Soul Is a Worthy Goal
Poetry comes in many forms and it’s an old, old tradition, as is Zen meditation. Considering that I have a host of free time to fill, it’s stimulating to have the chance to combine two ancient traditions in one weekend at the Upaya Zen Center. I am a rank beginner where meditation is concerned, but a retreat feels inviting, and Upaya has a welcoming reputation. To me, Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan sounds tailor-made for Santa Fe, especially since Upaya is perched right below that big sky.
Led by artist/translator Sensei Kazuaki Tanahashi, writer Natalie Goldberg, and Zen teacher Roshi Joan Halifax, this thought-provoking program explores the life and work of Ryokan, considered to be a Zen wise fool — a most intriguing concept. Roshi Joan, founder of the Upaya Center, is the author of many books on applied Buddhism and has a led a multi-faceted career; Sensei Kazuaki Tanahashi is a noted calligrapher, born and trained in Japan. And New Mexico author/Zen practitioner Natalie Goldberg is well known to the many who have used her book Writing Down the Bones to develop the courage to write from the heart. Given that retreat schedules are so comprehensive, I envision taking home some contemplative centering and a dose of wisdom from an inspirational time on my own.
Cooking Up an Artistic Evening
Inspiration comes in many packages, and the artistic scene of Santa Fe comes in many flavors. Some are consistently on tap and others are a rare treasure. Fortunately, one of those once-in-a-while events is happening on Valentine’s Day itself. Seeing as I’ll be flying solo that night, I plan to join other arts-lovers At the Artists’ Table. Hosted by the Santa Fe School of Cooking, which is always first in line to give back to the community at every delicious Santa Fe event, this is a one-night benefit dinner in support of a whole spectrum of the Santa Fe arts community.
Combining the work and inspiration of artist Susan Contreras with the culinary skill of chef Michelle Roetzer, the multi-course meal paired with wines is designed to reflect the artist’s Mexican heritage, and it sounds like a winner of a dinner. It’s so satisfying to know that I can dine like a queen, and at the same time help support a cause near and dear to my heart, namely, nurturing the artistic life and love of our community and keeping it vibrant and alive. And going home with a signed, limited-edition piece from the artist is definitely a tasty incentive.
Keep that Art Vibe Coming
One artistic weekend deserves another, and Santa Fe delivers big-time, since February means ArtFeast. Now in its 17th year of showcasing the artistic lifestyle of the City Different through a series of exciting experiences, ArtFeast expands its horizons annually. Taking place this year from February 21-23, five separate events offer five different windows into the originality and innovation that has created Santa Fe’s reputation as a major arts destination. Even though I’ll be strolling alone, I won’t miss Friday’s Edible Art Tour. Gotta love this unique gallivant through the galleries, teamed up with Santa Fe’s best chefs, whose nibbles are there to nosh as you admire the art. And this year, Friday boasts even more to enjoy: a Fashion Feast!
Fashion fanatic that I am, there is no way I’ll pass on the chance to party with a Project Runway reality star. Denver-based designer Mondo Guerra, a hot Season 8 contender, is bringing some sizzling styles from his newest collection, and with footwear from Santa Fe’s own Goler Imported Shoes, there will definitely be strutting on the catwalk. And the lucky live-auction winner scores a Saturday lunch with Mondo! Hors d-oeuvres are courtesy of the Eldorado Hotel’s signature menu, so it looks like I’ll be continuing my nosh-fest late into the night. No fear, I’ll be whirling about when D. J. Rose from Denver’s Beauty Bar spins the sounds.
Single-ing Through Santa Fe
I’ve spun an enviable plan, don’t you think? A wealth of weekends — or a batch of weekdays for that matter — as a single in Santa Fe seems not only eminently do-able but downright appealing, too. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and what’s more, it’s actually a lot of fun to find ways to show the love – to you! And hey, if things should change at the last-minute, there’s always room for two in Santa Fe.