Today was one of those dazzling spring days that just beg you to walk around in the sun. As I drove home from work this morning I knew I had to get out in it and I had the idea to try something that I’ve been wondering about for a while. I had, until today, never worn my whole get up out of the building, I’d barely left my front room. Not wanting to waste what may be the most beautiful day we have all year, I laced up my duds, grabbed my umbrella and set out. My neighborhood has plenty of hills and I thought for sure wearing a corset would slow me down. I am proud to announce that I was no more out of breath than usual! I probably got a good mile worth of walking in, round trip at a perfectly normal pace. At 62 degrees and sunny, I was perfectly comfortable even with all the layers of chemise, corset, drawers, skirt, and shirt.
I know the Converse are not accurate (nor is the shorn off haircut!) but I don’t know that I could have made the walk in heeled boots. Even though the temperature is very mild today, the sun is incredibly bright due to our high elevation, almost a mile up. I’m standing on U.S. soil, but the mountains and much of the city you see behind me is Mexico.
El Paso isn’t like a lot of other border towns. People have been living in this spot long before the United States even existed, and as El Paseo del Norte was a city in the State of Chihuahua. El Paso wasn’t considered a part of Texas until 1848 and it was a very difficult process for families who had lived there for generations as Mexican citizens. It’s a quiet town these days, but it has a complicated history.
I love those scrubby creosote bushes. They have a very unique smell after rain, which many people don’t like, but I simply adore. They blanket the landscape in this area, as there aren’t many plants that can handle such an inhospitable area. And yes, there are also lots of tumbleweeds, but they are more on the New Mexico side of town.
It may seem silly, but I had a lot of fun for such a short trip. To me, this jaunt was another step closer to what I’m trying to get at by making and wearing these clothes. I want to know what it might have felt like to be a woman during these far-off times in history. I loved walking around on the rough ground in these clothes. I was a little afraid that I might lose my balance, but I couldn’t have been more comfortable. I can’t wait for my next excursion. Once the whole outfit is completed, I would like to drive to Old Mesilla in New Mexico. It’s a little frontier town that has been kept pretty historically accurate and you wouldn’t believe how charming it is. My only fear is that these beautiful spring days will have burnt off by then and the long hardship of a high desert summer will have set in. Finger crossed!