It was college that brought Julie to Santa Fe 45 years ago, a liberal arts program she opted out of completing. She got married and built these three adobe structures folded into Santa Fe’s foothills with her ex-husband. She couldn’t have known then that 40 years later, over 365 Airbnbers would show up at her door in search of a cozy retreat.
Julie’s home smells like jasmine and freshly washed hair. It’s much warmer than outside where bone-chilling winds stir dirt and brush below a moonless sky. Walking in, this bohemian place opens to a greenhouse, a sunroom with a party of large leafy plants huddled together by a wall-consuming window. Come on in, she leads the way across a floor of terra cotta tiles to the living room. She’s tall with fiery orange hair and clothes that float behind her. Besides being an acupuncturist and hypnotherapist who takes African dance lessons, Julie’s a grandmother, evidenced by a fridge full of baby-teeth smiles and crayoned cards. Her walls are filled with art: bright arcing brushstrokes caged in thick wooden frames. The place is complete with a piano and a classic southwestern kiva fireplace. This is home for the next two nights.
I move in quickly, storing groceries in the fridge, popping a burrito in the toaster oven, and pouring myself a mug of red wine. I call my boyfriend and we talk for a while. When I finally fall asleep, I take up the whole bed. I wake early to apple-sized birds rustling around in the bushes outside. The rocks in Julie’s driveway crunch beneath my feet and I snap a picture of two lawn chairs. Months later when I develop this photo, I’ll write on the back: To remind you his freedom is yours if and when you want it.