Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blame Allen Ginsberg, Solstice Solar Blog and First Thoughts

I am blaming everything today on Allen Ginsberg.  I tend to honor his "First thought, best thought" credo and then spend hours agonizing about something stupid I said or wrote because I've taken that pledge. So, take that world, it's all Allen Ginsberg's fault.

On the other hand, Feliz Navidad is on the radio, and my greenhouse getting ready for the big moment.
At 10:11 it is the solstice.  We have a wonderful solar greenhouse my husband planned into this house, full of geraniums which he hates and San Pedro cacti which he loves. The yin and yang of it aside, it is a beautiful greenhouse and heats us all day if the sun is out. Today it is and so I can find that line which shows how far up the wall the sun crawls every year as the angle of the sun swoops down and we have a line there,  Last night at my reading of the solstice renga verse, Jerry Wellman or maybe Matthew Chace Daniel called it our Sun Dagger a la Chaco Canyon.  It does pierce the center of us when we shower (there's a shower there I forgot to tell you), water plants, or just heat up a bit.   I want us to have a full solstice experience, and though I was unable to take a flattering selfie we have eleven minutes till the days begin getting longer, and what with my night blindness which restricts my wild social life, I am happy for this solar turn of events. James Taylor is covering "Here Comes the Sun" on the radio.  The song is perfect.   Little darling.  I wonder if that is the darling I have to slay?

Yesterday life in Santa Fe touched back into the "Here Comes the Sun " life that I love.  I got to have my photo taken and there were four other poets being interviewed for a New New Mexican article of poets in Santa Fe. See Pasatiempo January10th. Then I zipped over to Sanbusco, that great space that used to house Borders, RIP, and the students from New Mexico School for the Arts got a piano donated, painted in, and it is now a "Play Me Piano."  I hear it as a statement as in "Now I gonna play me piano."  But I believe it means, play-me,  piano.  Or play, me piano--the piano speaking.  See how important punctuation or line break can be.
Anyhow they got it permitted and insured and held a big musical fundraiser with singers, musicians, and I got to mix some poems in with Mohit Dubey on violin and piano.  It was absolutely so much fun.  Three people from my mailing list came, that was epic. Thanks to Mohit's dad for these photos and to
Mohit and his inspired friends for the all day event, I was just one voice in the mix.

Then We skittered on over to The Renga Project.  Three people from my list came there, and that was the biggest audience they have had in weeks for what amounts to a 5-10 second poetry reading in the cold.  Mercifully short.  When the photos come, you'll be the first to see them here in blog world.

Are you listening, Allen Ginsberg?   Now it's solstice night, my old friend Jim Oberlander just started talking to me about Allen Ginsberg and I said, oh no.  It must be Allen Ginsberg Day! All these holidays cropping up.  He told me his Ginsberg stories and about where he was on the day Ginsberg died. Jim was on his way to Disneyland. I told him I have a poem "My Day the Day Allen Ginsberg Died" in my book, The Singing Bowl.  I was in Albuquerque humming Ginsberg's songs, no kidding.

Happy Allen Ginsberg Day to all.  I think First Thoughts may be a lot better than obsessive thoughts.
Writing is a cure for that, and being asked to be involved in very cool and genius community poetry .
Also, the solstice helps. It's the soltice!   Now I can exhale and get more optimistic.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recycled time

My daughter, Corina, and I just spent a weekend in the Convention Center selling our wares for Recycle Santa Fe sponsored by Keep Santa Fe Beautiful.  You know I have been keeping it by writing down the beauty when it crosses my path.  The weekend was beautiful and it kept me hopping.

Corina made leather items from scrap leather and I had my PoemHolders.
We had fun, visited with dozens if not a hundred friends, and sold some goods. We have  lived here 40 plus years and Corina there for all but one of them, so life is a party.

  It was pretty cool to have people stand and read my poems for long periods of time. Some people got what I was doing, others just came away smiling but perplexed.  I recycled perplexity.
I also recycled, repurposed, retyped poetry.  I had mostly my own poems, a few Emily Dickinson and William Blake crept in and a Stafford and Sherman Alexie.  They couldn't help themselves.  I recycled public domain and copyright infringement.  

And family.  At one point  Corina and I, the baby, Kaleia, big girl Kaylee and Tammy, my wonderful daughter-in-law, and Leland and Hope were clogging the flow.  Nobody could get near the booth and I totally didn't care. For about an hour the glorious recycled genes of family and Lineage, which is what Corina calls her business. We recycled like the joke : What is the only thing Unitarians agree on???  Recycling.

I also recycled  joy.
The PoemHolders hold the poems with the breath of inspiration, as Allen Ginsberg would have said, and the joy of sewing together colors and recycled fabric, every piece with a back-story only I know.  I left with many scraps from my late friend, Leslie Pierpont, gone many years but her family are movers and shakers behind Recycle Santa Fe, and now her fabric scraps live in my house and we Recycle. She baby sat Hope when Hope was the exact age of Kaleia and Corina and I even made a pre-Hope doll in her doll making workshop at the Waldorf School in 1985.  What goes around comes back to grab me. We gave her grandkids a hug and they are amazing. They love Corina.  They look like they own the place.  Thanks to Keep Santa Fe Beautiful.....Recycle Santa Fe is another holiday in our religion.

Monday, November 11, 2013

National Hippie Day


I was flipping the waffle iron with its gluten free non-dairy waffles, and my daughter had the baby in tow since her husband was hunting elk, and then there was the houseguest my husband found and brought home.  This was also the week of the fourth storm, washing out the arroyo and the truckloads of gravel he had shoveled onto the road.  It all felt very tenuous and not like we were 66 and 68, but like the old days.  I didn't even mention that a bear got 17 of the chickens my daughter and their housemates were raising, carefully and on organic grain from Dixon.  I hope the bear appreciated their organic status. And the good news, the kids sold the yurt.

About halfway through the waffle flipping, the iron itself 100 years old and cast iron, I felt it.
"I feel just like a hippie."  My daughter laughed but no one else saw anything vaguely humorous.
We made the theme for the day National Hippie Day and kept ourselves amused and our minds off the snow up north that the elk hunters were certainly braving.

We made granola. Now, I used to make bread, yogurt, and granola on a weekly basis, but I hadn't made any since probably 1978.  I don't have the documentation, though I still have the recipes.  I can tell you how to make carob brownies, Ellen's apple cake, Angel's Chow Mein, and Kahlua. I can let you know all the names we considered for our first child in 1974, from Anna to Sophia Claire to Zachary. I have the guitar chords to "He's got the whole world in his hands' and "Michael Finnegan."
I have miniature patterns for ethic fashion and directions for corn husk dolls all in a tiny red notebook.

The funny thing is, my life has not changed all that much. We live in the house we designed and began building in 1976.  I cook less, but I still heat with wood, recycle, drive a bad road, have babies showing up unexpectedly, not to mention stray houseguests and dogs.  I live in New Mexico, not back east and these occurrences are normal. I wrote a poem this week  called "Things I didn't tell my brother" when he calls and asks how we are.  It depends if you are asking according to Back East standards and Eastern Standard Time or New Mexico, where the mountains and time zones are Rocky.

Let's ask the kids. Who has health insurance, raise your hand?  Who froze chile?  Who is secure in their housing arrangement and has mortgage in hand?  Who has enough firewood?  Who got an elk?

On National Hippie Day we not only made granola, my daughter made me ghee and printed out its benefits which I didn't want to tell her I used to know myself in 1970.  We took a walk during which, while carrying the baby in a front pack she took off shoes, thus leaving bare footprints on the La Puebla road.  We found out that the three weird dome shaped structures that came over-night are meant to be a meditation center.  I don't know if anyone mentioned to the owner that they are right next to the Rio Grande Sportsman's Club where the sounds of guns popping fills the air, and which may have targets aimed in their direction.

The houseguest didn't spend a second night, he was told in meditation to go back to Phoenix.  He left before dinner which is hard on a Jewish mother/hippie/poet.  He asked if he could shower before leaving. I said, of course.  Now our shower is in the greenhouse. It is very tropical and what many people enjoy about our house.  He emerged minutes later and I said, "That was a very quick shower."
He said is was just an "aura cleansing."

I have no imagination.  I couldn't make my life up. Does anybody need a very large dog?
Happy National Hippie Day.  Hope to see you next year.  Bring maple syrup.
A few days earlier. Halloween at the mall.  I am masquerading as a regular person.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Beti's yartzheit

Did I ever tell you about my mother?  She was a hairdresser, had a fancy beauty shop and I never could get it right by her. I went to the shop on Fridays in high-school, and every week emerged with a new do. One week a flip and the next a page boy, I was caught between Jackie Kennedy and Annette Funicello. She told me every girl would die for this opportunity. I remember tears at a haircut, fingers soaking for manicures, and meeting all the foil wrapped hair-colored ladies. 

As an adult, from college on, I never set foot in a beauty salon. I wore a long braid off to the left.  
After years in New Mexico, the dry wind and two kids didn't agree with my long hair.  Even though the cocktail waitress at Line Camp told me I had beautiful hair I was fed up with it.  So, I cut my long braid at about 35, got a perm and felt I was a perky mother of two. I looked at myself in shop windows and mirrors, toting a baby and dragging an exuberant toddler through the West Palm Beach airport. It was a sort of frizz, or what is now called a Jew-Fro, a term I dislike but it is descriptive.  But then I felt so au courant.

My mother met the plane and she said, "What happened to my Indian Princess?  Now you look like everyone else."  Her statement was a great gift, cultural inappropriateness aside.  I knew then I would never please her and it freed me.  I had to be my own person from that moment.

In her last days in 2001, I would fly in every two months, first Florida and then Pittsburgh. She was of good cheer and adorable. Her hair white, for the first time after a lifetime of prize-winning blond coloring, and fuzzy like an easter chick.  I even got Julian who used to work for her to come to the house for her last hair cut.  My mom looked ecstatic, and Julian was honored to do the honors.  I should add, that sometime in those final months she let slip that my brother was always her favorite, but that somehow I was winning some points now. I sat at her feet embroidering roses onto pillowcases.

A few months later was her last day.  The helper, part of her round the clock care, quoted my mom as I was not there.  "Pack your bags sweetie, we're going to Florida."  And she went.  That was 12 years ago today.
It's her yarzheit, the anniversary of a death.  I don't have the official candle but I have plenty of votives.  

Here's to Beti, queen of beauty and the first who taught me I had to go my own way and please myself.
She did and was also able to be generous and light up a room.  I have my hair in a braid once again, white hair at that. I don't know if she would like it. I do know I asked her how she could stand all her friends dying around her.  She said, "Every morning I thank God I am alive." She played golf when her sister Pearl died because she wasn't strong enough to go to California. She was a club champ into her eighties and died at 88, "ver ner 89" as my dad would have said for almost.  I think my hair would have ver ner pleased her.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not Available

"I give you the end of a golden string,
Only wind it into a ball
It will lead you in at Heaven's Gate
Built in Jerusalem's wall."  William Blake

I think I am through with my summer of being available to people.  I need my work life, like the golden thread Blake wrote about that we follow into Jerusalem. I need a grip on my time, a schedule, a ladder, an alarm clock. It has been a month and two days since my last entry and I have been available all 33 days of them.  There have been deaths and I have written cards, traveled on an air plane with family including a five month old, gotten home at 4:00 AM, forded the arroyo, been pleasant, written more condolence notes, and had dinner various places.

All I want to do now is write, teach, and sew.  I heard from my Wisconsin sister-in-law that women lose their desire to cook and nurture when the estrogen drops.  My estrogen has been an archeology project for 16 years.  I like making gazpacho, but that involves no cooking, more of a smoothie with an Italian name.  We have always called the Santa Fe Street, Don Gaspar, "Don Gazpacho." Let that be my signature meal which once received applause.

Yesterday I admit, I made my famous zucchini bread but only because it has chocolate chips that I can slip in around the healthy.  I also made chicken enchilada and Saturday soup, I have to say, but only in the interest of a clean frig and not living on snacks.

Right now I would like to acknowledge the widows.  So many of my friends in the past 14 months, my love goes out to Monique, Iren, Flo, Dia, and my sister-in-law, creator of Saturday soup, Sharon.  These women not only have lost a beloved, they share my age demographics and perhaps my feeling about cooking. I think of them every day and how it is good to be living and how I have always hoped to die at the exact time as my parents, but that ship has sailed.  I didn't want to be alone in my Pittsburgh childhood after the atomic bomb.   Now I don't want to outlive my spouse or kids in the Apocalypse in whatever form it seems to be taking.

This week we had five solid days of my prayed for gentle rain.  Relentless rain. Run-off rain. Drought-buster rain. Feminine rain. It put the earth to sleep for winter. Then we had one night of gully washer, masculine rains. Luckily the man of the house made it home from the mountains an hour before it hit. The arroyo ran with a deep cut. The garden doesn't know what to think.  The datura are six inches wide. He brings me one every morning to behold.  That should be enough.  He calls me beautiful.

Yet I am pissed off.  I am too available.  I want a sanctuary inside the house.
I am like that girl I was, the "I vant to be alone" one my mother teased me about after some movie star.
Lana Turner, Greta Garbo, someone who even with high estrogen count did not cook. I don't know what has come over me, but it's back to school, back to work, and no, I am not available for dinner- at least after this weekend when I am still cleaning up my availability.

Some day, death with her Harley, will vroom up on me.  Right now I can say, "Back off.  I am not available.  I have a class at UNM to teach, my new sixth graders at the girls' school, and I haven't frozen my green chile.  I am following the golden thread of the seasons and my commitments. See you in a few decades.  I have not thrown in the towel and I am not available to do so."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Being and Believing.

Well, I found a note I jotted, since I am a great believer and practitioner of jotting.  My Polish neighbor did not say, "This is my lucky moment" as I reported in my last entry. What he said as I emerged from the greenhouse shower, scantily clad (I'm almost 66) in a towel was, "I am a lucky moment!"  Much better.  So, I bring you two moments since we last met.

I went to Pittsburgh to see family and after much fussing about how best to be in Albuquerque at 5:30 AM I decided to wake up at 3:15 and head down.  I did a great job of driving, had my boarding pass ready for an early seating on Southwest, and was in plenty of time for breakfast.  I waited for the 6:00 doors to open, made a hasty order, and waited, and waited, and almost left, but instead was served food which I inhaled, or just shoveled unattractively in.  When I got to my gate there was no one there, but he waved me through clucking that they board a half hour ahead of time.  At the back of the plane, with an aisle seat for my long legs, was a seat and a young woman with a pleasant face.  It gets better, don't stop now. This woman, Pauletta, was going to Pittsburgh to study wetlands.  How sweet is that and besides, she was native, she just was.

We made it to Houston where the plane stopped and let on a lively crew.  There were some lovely young women and when I rose to let one into our middle seat, she said don't get up and climbed over me.

With my conversational skills within one minute I found out that this 16 year old was Jewish, coming from being a camp counselor, lived in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh (also called the ghetto), and was a member of Chabad.  Chabad is an orthodox and very traditional group out of Crown Point, NY who I think of as wanting to convert all of us not so good Jews.  There were all were on and 3 hour and 20 minute flight, a marginal Jew married to a very non-Jew, a Chabad teen, and as it turns out, a Diné.

Our teen is named Chana Ester but everyone calls her Chester and the camp kids called her "Chest."
I ask her many questions.  It turns out I know some members of her community, as my mom's golf friends, the Rudolf twins or Edsel and Diesel as we called them, have eleven grandkids in Pittsburgh's Chabad.  Chabad is everywhere, in Taos, Santa Fe, they get around. Chester is the youngest of nine.
I ask about arranged marriage, school, modern influences. She goes to Yeshiva Girls, will have a matchmaker Though you do not have to accept the match they research background, do blood work, etc. She has never talked to a boy as a friend. They don't talk to boys or touch. Touch is for marriage.
I asked her how many drop out and we talked about the Amish and their tradition.  Meanwhile, Pauletta is leaning in and I am explaining as we go. I ask about wigs, and being around bad influences like me.

The two of them then dive into a Marie Claire magazine and giggle at all the skinny models.
I decide that this is one of the great moments of being.  A Diné woman trying to recall her Navajo language to a Hebrew speaking Chabad girl.  I felt between worlds, living out here for 40 years and a Pittsburgher all along.  I said to them, "This is a great thing.  Both of you come from beautiful cultures that are trying to keep them alive."

Chester loaned me her earbuds so I could hear my music, and they were passing the magazine back to the other girls in her pod, and I asked her anything I could think of.  I told her I was exploring coincidence in my blog.  I jotted but can't find what she said.  Something along the lines of it being a holy moment, that Hashem (the Holy One) had it planned all along.  This moment, here, she said, was planned.  I said, "You mean it was Beshert?"  She gives me a little nod, that I know this yiddish word for it is meant to be, it is planned.  I told her to tell her mother that she is a great spokeswoman for Chabad, lively and open, and reverent.  I am madly in love with my two seat mates, hugs goodbye.

I am a lucky moment.  Dear Letta and Chester.  That was the fastest three hours ever.


And this is the lucky moment I wasn't.

I called home every night and asked Michael if the Night Blooming Cereus was going to bloom.
Every night he said no, and that he had invited various neighbors and friends to see when it did.   Each blossom from this very homely plant is about five inches across, smells lovely, and has a little universe inside.  I always think it is my version of going to the opera, or that it is the opera of plants.  There is a yellow stage and hundreds in the audience, all lined up in white and yellow rows.

He kept saying, "No, not tonight."  He decided to stay an extra night to see me and maybe catch the plant blooming.  This year there was a record eight blossoms, all ready to go on the same night, just a few precious hours of viewing.  The night I got home, I asked, "Are they going to bloom" and again he said no.

I was so fatigued from travel without my two blessed seat mates, a trip where I barely talked to anyone, that I headed right to bed around 8 PM.  I did not even think to check the greenhouse, not even when I was woken with a leg cramp at 1:30. Hello, Joanie, my calf was saying.

Only the next morning did I check and see that we had missed the opera.  I  felt slightly sick at heart, but did not want to go into blaming myself, or Mike.  Instead I wondered if a night blooming cereus blooms in the night with no one to watch it, is there still beauty?  I decided the eight blossoms were having a party all by themselves, as it was beshert, meant to me.

The photos from the internet show what we missed, and this larger one is the morning after, all hung over.  I e-mailed the invitees so they wouldn't be losing sleep in anticipation.  Mike took off for Telluride and the Mushroom Festival.  I ate Bolitas mushrooms with my eggs, courtesy of my own kids.  Those ones who are thinking of moving to Pittsburgh for a Phd program.  I would love to know what Hashem has in mind.  What has been planned.  What is already woven, and what will blossom.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Lucky Moment

Yesterday I was emerging from our greenhouse shower and I hear my name being called, "Joanie, Joanie" and with a strong Polish accent.  I grab a towel and it is our neighbor, Andres.  I tell him I am not dressed and he smiles at me, "It is my lucky moment."  It's not a creepy moment, just me in a towel and this man my age with a large dog on a leash outside the house. We are both laughing.  Nobody has ever caught me in dishabille and it doesn't embarrass either of us.  I get Michael who also thinks it is funny.

I am just back from a week at Ghost Ranch with my grandson.  I have three days and then I am off to Pittsburgh so see my dwindling family, my brother and wife, my niece and great niece.  Ghost Ranch in summer, and lots of walking from our room down at Corral Block which I have always called Cell Block.  I liked it.  The Milky Way was showing off. The other folks sharing the communal bath were all very sweet.  Galen tooled back  and forth on his bike and practiced hanging out with kids all day.  I was the writing part of Hiking, Writing, and Yoga for Women.  The women were amazing, strong, uncomplaining, game.

One woman, seeing someone in line thought she looked a lot like a girl she used to go to school with at Miss Hutchinson's School for Girls, in Mississippi.  When Ashley saw the name tag, it was Cassie.  Now these women had not seen each other in 26 years and were in our group.  That was amazing, but Dona, our fearless, leader, just attributed it to Ghost Ranch.  The next day I felt a poem in my pocket.  Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay." I was trying to memorize it.

Randomly, of all the poems I brought with me and my limited time with them, I read it to the group of women.  I didn't know it at the time, but Cassie and Ashley were doing inward somersaults.  That was their class graduation poem.
 We discussed coincidence, which may be after all just random chance and statistically usual.  I asked painter and poet, Cynthia West, what she thinks.  Her take is that at a place like Ghost Ranch, which really has wild beauty and power, the veils between world is thinner.  These things are always happening, but we notice them here.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay. 
Robert Frost

   Ashley and I were walking down the hill.  She works at United Way as a publicist and likes it, but also shared that she really likes small grass roots foundations that grow, lets say, out of a mother for her son.  A few hours later I speak with C. S.  Merrill, who has lost a son. She goes into the library and shows me the press release.  She has started a peace foundation in his honor.  I give some suggestions, and relay to Ashley who spends an hour on publicity for fund raising.  Issa Merrill Sakaki Peace Foundation. Now, excuse me.  But this is an odd amount of random for a few days if you ask me.  
Here we are, Susan Weber, Yoga teacher extraordinaire and Ghost Ranch Wellness coordinator, Dona Bolding, the fourth in the country spring board diver for her age group, and me in the middle, happy to be there in my lucky moment.  I realized I have spent so much time at Ghost Ranch it is like my body.
I am intimate with this place, going there since the 1980's and offering workshops over 23 years.   I was there 28 years ago when I learned I was pregnant with Hope.  I had crushes there, marital  crises while teaching there,  and got to be with my own teachers, Robert Bly and Gioia Timpanelli.  People I loved a lot have now passed on.  I felt my own mortality mixed in with the permanence of cliff face.
If I didn't realize the deep connection before, I do now.   Nothing gold can stay, and the last light on Kitchen Mesa  seems to have memorized that poem and is giving its interpretive rendering.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fruit Loops

Every day when there is nothing on the calendar is a full on experience.  There is no structure so it is wandering in Eden all the time.  Yesterday I was dressed for a swim, two days after making our baby quilt.  I was so sore from sewing all day on the quilt, with my lovely daughter across the table sewing as well, that I could barely walk.  I had never had so much muscle ache from sitting still.  I am a practiced sitter.  So I am trying to get back into my sixty sixth next month, bathing suit shape.

Here's the quilt.

Mike and I decided to go buy fruit from Marguerite since it would get us out of the house, see Marguerite whose quilt show I missed, and eat lunch out on the town.  We did. I changed out of my suit into city clothes.
 We bought cherries, strawberries, apricots masquerading as plums, and nectarines.  We ran into Carl and Lisa Ray there and though planning ahead makes me tired, running into people delights me.  We talked about our daughters, and they bought two PoemHolders which made my day.  That's what I mean about Fruit Loops.  I sent out a notice of Marguerite's fruit sale, and that brought us all together.  Lisa and Carl and Mike and Marguerite and me. After feasting in the quilt studio, Marguerite gave me fabric scraps from her quilts so I can enter recycle Santa Fe in November with my recycled projects.
Here's what they are looking like.
Rowing in Eden, Emily Dickinson said.  Or that Sabbath is a taste of Eden, say the Jews.  My Peeps.  That's it.  This odd time, my shut-in stay-at-home make no plans, is a Sabbatical.  I think giving a name to my post PL life gives some credibility to it, but maybe not having credibility is a part of it.  It is illegitimate time. Wasted, composting (ugh!), down time, seclusion, hermitage/ home.
I have no idea if I am the happiest I have ever been or teetering on the edge of depression. 
I am just myself, the same girl who loved getting Weekly Reader at school, ordering those cheap paperbacks at the book club, and going to the Carnegie Library and flaunting my library card. I know how the library smelled. It smelled like times past and words.  Today smells of Italian herbs I picked to dry. Words, herbs-- finally I am going to swim not laps but loops.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

After a Perfect Day

I can't even begin to tell you what it is with Española, so I will begin.
Monique says I romanticize Española and she can't find anything to resonate with there.
Somehow, though friends I admire have called me a romantic, I don't like to hear that diagnosis
about my relationship with my nearest town.  Believe me, I know its foibles, have been robbed, visited the schools, swum in the outdoor pool when it was functioning (which is not this year), gone to its movie theaters, and longed for Italian food after its one good non-New Mexican restaurant closed.

And today, Española proved itself to me again.  We went to Farmer's Market to drop off books for Sabra. Sabra Moore, an amazing artist from the Women's Movement in New York, by way of a Texas childhood and Peace Corps in Africa, gives a free book to the children every single week.  I love this low key approach to literacy, plus she has grown this market over the years and we all take ownership and rejoice at season's end with a Biggest Vegetable and Best Poem Contest. Sabra has made our little market very successful, a secret that I try to spread --every Monday in summer, 10:00 to about 2:00.

The musicians were there again, five old guys playing their beautiful Spanish music just for fun and a tip jar.  I danced with Sabra Last week and tried unsuccessfully  to get Mike to dance this week, so I danced alone. It made the farmer's smile, me in my Keen sandals and black clothing, dancing with an invisible and handsome partner.  Michael Combs called out my name and he and his beard gave me a big kiss.

I saw my friend from Ghost Ranch, Patricia, who liked my jewelry and I told her it was from a wonderful jeweler named Sue who sells at the Ranch.  Mike and I bought lunch from a vendor called Edwin, a Guatemalan thirty years in this country.  I trusted that his ceviche would be fresh and good and it was indeed perfect withs its shrimp and fish and forty limes.  He said that this is Guatemala, the cultura. While I was sitting on the cooler and loving this guy's food and activist outlook, who should amble onto the scene but Sue, the very jeweler I was marveling about. Of course I hollered down Patricia to meet her.

 Then Esta, my old friend, showed up and I got to thank her for sending me to the one outdoor public pool in Santa Fe last week, a place I hadn't been in over a decade.  I took my grand daughter there and as we walked in, my grandson with red cheeks and a big smile happened to be there. I got to thank Esta for sending me into another beautiful sychronicity and my day in Espanola felt woven and whole.

Michael and I spent a perfect day, planted some salvia we'd purchased from a very cool market dude, moved a Buddelia or Butterfly bush, walked around congratulating ourselves on having a good day. We visited the Datura and the chickens, and our daughter Hope, and grand child came to play.  The three month old slept on my chest as I rocked the recliner She splashed in a blue plastic dishpan, and did her chubby best to be happy to be alive, even if teething. Hope is a beautiful mother who lives in, you guessed it, Española.  A house where a dear friend lived for 13 years, wwhre there are still marks on the wall to show she grew.  The same house where my son, Matt went to Montessori school, the little desks are still stored in the barn. So somehow, I am woven into this funky place.

Today Mike's truck broke down on his way out of town for a week, and my friend Elaine is ill, and it's not so perfect.  But I am trying my best to focus on the out of synch, beauty of the mismatched and the random.  The twelve colored spools of thread Monique gave me from Mexico, the mystery I am reading by Lesley Poling Kempes, the laundry I get to fold because I am still alive, and the day is long with  light and beauty.  Broken truck and all.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Brownies and Miracles

Lately I notice the words go by in my mind and I have lethargy, I watch the world, the hawk outside the west window and I mean just feet outside on a branch. The return of the lucky turtle we called Scar trucking across the grass.  My grand daughter in her white bassinet,  just her fingers and toes showing above the deep white wicker of it.   The miracles are there, but like Scar they are a rarity.

Last night I cam home wondering how I could possibly cook.  I was deeply tired from the joys, and true pleasure, of grandkid watching, both Galen and Kaylee.  They mostly got along well, one scuffle that I intervened with my superior grandmotherly politics, and the rest of the time I was their servant.  I am  Jewish women raised by a combination of wolves and hired help. I treat the kids like royalty. I don't know any other way.

So by last night, ten meals between then tucked in, I had not an ounce of dinner planning or even motion left.  I crashed onto the bedspread and wondered where the brownies were.  I would take an edible brownie or one who wears green pointed shoes. My daughter called, wondering if they could make elk burgers on our grill.  They would bring more greens to supplement my little garden's offerings.  So, two of the three offspring arrived, and we ate well, tried to comfort the newcomer Kaleia who was just too tired to do her job as Baby Medicine and cure what ails us.  She was the one who needed to be treated royally, and we did.

Meanwhile, the miracle of loaves and fishes and stone soup and an elk hunted by people I know and love.  By the next time I stretched out again
I wasn't even tired, just relaxed.  I am wildly lucky and anyone who doesn't think so didn't feel the night breeze last night and hear the world trying so hard to rustle up some rain.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sitting Still for Love

People have been asking me what I am up to.  Nothing, nothing at all this summer. SInce April we have had this new baby, Kaleia.  Then I went to Minneapolis where I taught poetry to elementary students, me and The Giant Pencil.  Tobie and I hit about five Happy Hours, and these are Minneapolis happy hours, not the chai happy hour at Annapurna in Santa Fe. Then Tammy, my daughter-in-law graduated from UNM in dental hygiene, and then her mom took a turn, fighting cancer, and died. We had Kaylee at the house the week of this sad sad transition.  Kaylee began reading psalms, an amazing response to loss.  Overlay this with our houseguest, six-foot-tall-girl, who was spiffing up the condo she bought and then she and I got stomach flu.  I got it twice.  Then we attended the most beautiful funeral at St. Ann's church, mariachi, community, and the life of a woman of this valley. Sweet Bernadette.

So, I am doing nothing and this is what nothing looks like at my house. I recall my friend Grolnick, the late and great jazz musician, who said that if he sat still the entire world would come to him.  He sat outside the music department where he had a practice room and where I eventually met him. He also said, famously in our house, "Money's no expense" and "Don't make me uptight in my own house."  He died very young but is oft quoted in my mind.  So, I have decided to sit still and let the world come.

On the back porch every night someone shows up.  And it's not as if we live downtown.  We are out here.  The forest explodes like a bomb, you can see it to the east.  The honeysuckle blooms like mad and halfway through a porch visit, the sitter says, "What is that smell?'  Frances came here with stories, and Shebana with flowers and flamenco wisdom. Julie and Scott ventured over last night and we sat pouring fingers of Bourbon and eating grapes while speaking of family and R. Crumb.  Sam and Deb stopped by on their second anniversary.  Monique, who  feel closer to in her year of widowhood, comes over regularly and we sit missing Gary Eckard and talking about her next steps as she prepares to sell and not be my neighbor after thirty years.  I am happy for the magnetism that we seem to have.

So, this summer, I am doing nothing.  I better go move the hose to the next plant.  I have a pomegranate to try and grow.  I have a takeover of cilantro to tend to.  I am trying to move sunflowers.  Like me, the sunflowers want to stay put. They do not want to move.

This summer I play with the baby Kaleia, swim laps, water my garden.  The forests explode like bombs, they are that fuel packed. I am resting up, catching up on sleep.  I said to Anne Valley-Fox that I am doomed. I love so many people and when each one, should they die before I do, dies, I feel guilty that I wasn't a good enough friend.  Anne suggested I treat each time and person as a last time.  We said goodbye, as if for the last time after our New Mexico Literary Arts meeting.  I thanked her for being such a good person and always making me feel better about my life.  She said, we're good, we're both good with one another. I guess I am still the PL of last times.  And as Linda Gregg said, "I am filled with all things seen for the last time."  This time, not by traveling to Greece as she did or in my dreams of Mumbai as last night, but the even more challenging, sitting still.