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."


  1. Always an inspiration Joan. Glad you all survived the monsoon


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