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.