A Tale of Two Cities

As I write this, it has been almost four weeks since I left Santa Fe to embark on a new life journey. In July, I was called to be the new full time Director of Music Ministries at the First United Methodist Church of Trussville, a suburb of Birmingham, AL. Life has been a whirlwind ever since, beginning with trying to discern if this was the correct call, advancing to packing up and saying goodbye to New Mexico, and finally to my current project of settling in and adapting to a new place and a new job. My time in New Mexico was a wonderful journey amidst the iconic and ethereal backdrop of the desert landscape, a time of great trial, great change, and great achievement. But for all of the positive things that New Mexico had to offer, it was simply time. Time to move on. Time to take on greater responsibilities. Time to step into roles toward which I have been moving for years. And thus far, it seems like this new opportunity and new place are a perfect fit. I spent 10 years in South Carolina and Louisiana before heading out west, and though I have developed a great love for the desert and will certainly return every once in a while, coming back to the south feels perfectly natural to me. This change, while difficult, was necessary. As one astute person told me before I left, I needed to have the chance "to fly."

In Waldo Canyon, near Cerrillos, NM

So the music will change. The songs may talk a little less about deserts, although I'm sure I will carry those images with me wherever I go. But I believe there is a great deal more to write, and I'm looking forward to doing it through a new lens. Maybe I'll finally write that Bluegrass Concerto Grosso I've been talking about for 20 years: orchestra vs small ensemble of banjo, fiddle, washboard, and Jew's harp.

The altitude has also changed. It's lower. Much lower. I'm not sure I ever mastered running at 7,000 plus feet. Actually, I'm quite sure I never did. Here? 700 feet. I'll be looking forward to running 5ks at that altitude.

The photos will change. For one, they will be greener and have more sloping hills than jagged mountains and mesas. I've become attuned to the otherworldly imagery of New Mexico, but beauty is everywhere, and Northern Alabama is certainly full of it. Yes, there are mountains. There are also waterfalls and many areas of green space and wilderness that overlook the city of Birmingham. This area offers a lot of beauty that I am looking forward to exploring. 

View of Birmingham from Ruffner Mountain in Irondale, AL

So I'm looking forward to many new experiences and adventures and to sharing what I find!!! All the best to everyone in The City Different, from over here in The Magic City.

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