Life in a Small, Small Town- Los Lunas, NM

© Nicole Bradshaw Photography 2019; Life in a Small, Small Town; Los Lunas Photographer, Belen Photographer, Bosque Farms Photographer, Peralta Photographer, Albuquerque Photographer, Photography Teacher, Los Lunas Public Schools

In past posts, I’ve shared about how our small town life means that we are connected- and interconnected- with a LOT of people, both friends and family. And, it’s true! And, I really do love this aspect of life in a small town, because there is always someone to visit with, help, or to provide help. But, another thing that I love about living in our small town is that there is a certain rhythm to the days, weeks, months, and years here. I know it sounds crazy, but stay with me here!

Los Lunas only has one school district. There are two high schools, two middle schools, and ten elementary schools. We also have one alternative high school, one family school, and one charter school, but all are under the umbrella of the Los Lunas School District. Because of this, all the kiddos in town run on one of two schedules: Middle/High or Elementary. This means that parents- and the rest of the people in town- base their own schedules around when school begins and ends each day. We all go to work at roughly the same time, get home at roughly the same time, and eat dinner around the same time before changing gears for evening activities. There is a distinct rhythm to our days because of this.

Most people work Monday-Friday (with exceptions, of course!), and usually attend their children's activities on Saturday, with church on Sunday. The activities vary based upon the time of year (football games in the Fall, basketball in the Winter, soccer and t-ball in the Spring, with scouts all year long), but it’s what we do. There are weekends off, and the occasional missing of a game or activity, but this schedule gives our town a rhythm to our weeks.

Then, there are the seasonal events- fiestas and fairs in the Fall to celebrate the harvest, matanzas in the winter, the annual pilgrimage up Tomé Hill in the spring, and BBQs and fireworks in the Summer. There is also a time for watering, planting, growing, harvesting, and resting- we are, after all, still a farming and ranching community! These events all take place on or during set weekends of particular months every year. It makes each month and year pass by with a comfortable rhythm. Everyone knows what to expect, and when.

While there are exceptions based upon each individual family, most of us can relate to this pattern of activity, and for most of us, it brings a sense of community, comfort, and safety. It allows us to plan and participate. And, I know that at least for myself, it brings a sense of belonging- these events mark the years of my life, and I can easily measure my growth by them. I have elders in my community who can remember me running around as part of these activities and events as a child, and now I bring my children. In fact, just such an occurrence happened yesterday! My best friend’s eldest daughter recently got her Learner’s Permit, and since she goes to the school I work at, she’s been riding home with me, but now I make her drive! Yesterday, we pulled into the elementary pick-up line to pick up Christopher and my best friend’s youngest daughter, and one of the eldest’s elementary teachers saw her driving and was completely shocked! Things like that don’t happen in the big city!

While life in a big city can be exciting and unpredictable, rarely do they allow for community-based traditions such as the ones we have here in Los Lunas. It has been my experience that when communities grow beyond a certain population, a lot of the closeness is lost and traditions are thrown by the wayside because there are just too many people to try to accommodate. I’m grateful that we have Albuquerque well within driving distance, so that we can take full advantage of the amenities of a bigger city, but I wouldn’t trade the rhythm of our small-town life for anything!