By Dylan R.N. Crabb
In March of this year, I migrated south from the village of Questa in northern New Mexico to the city of Albuquerque. It was a dramatic change going from a village (not even a town) of less than 2,000 people to my state’s largest city of approximately 559,200 people. I’ve lived in rural New Mexico since 2005, so for all intents and purposes, I’m from rural New Mexico. I attempted to go back to southern California in 2016 after graduating from college but then I got a closer look at housing prices over there; I came back to the high desert with open arms. Although, I’ve always preferred more urban environments over rural towns for purposes of convenience.
My initial hesitancy to move to Albuquerque was based on crime statistics (number one in the country for auto theft) as well as a less than favorable local reputation. However; my two best friends in this state secured an apartment in one of the better neighborhoods in the city and offered me a chance to move in with them. I accepted the opportunity because I was tired of living with family members; I wanted a place I could legitimately call my own (or at least 1/3 my own). I had my own experience with local crime early this month and I may write about that in a future post but, other than that one instance, my apartment living in Albuquerque as been decent. I’m using my hand-me-down car a lot less than in rural Questa and I’ve been attempting to “get out more” so goes the phrase. I’ve learning more about the culture around the craft beer industry and scouting some local hangout spots where taps drip and gossip floats. One brewery on Unser Boulevard, the Lava Rock Brewing Company, has a spectacular eastern view of the Sandia Mountains from its gated patio.
It seems New Mexicans really enjoy congregating around craft beer since there are 20+ local breweries/taprooms in Albuquerque alone. Can you blame us? We’re in the middle of a desert. What else are we going to do with our water?
Communication, congregation, and productivity are keys to solidifying a community. There are a lot of small communities in New Mexico but not much communication between those communities. One reason for such isolation is the geography, the vast space between each region of the state. I assume that as been an issue with communicating across the American west throughout history but, in the twenty-first century with our computer technology and digital environments, there are less excuses for not connecting with one’s neighbors. Even a solitary curmudgeon like myself can understand the importance of being in touch with one’s locality.