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.  


  1. Replies
    1. Not my strongest writing but I wanted to document before I take off for Back East. We had an idea at a meeting yesterday, to do a little fundraiser reading for the Peace Foundation.


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