My braid and I are happy it is poetry month.
Last night it frosted. My windshield and the lawn were white. The beautiful three peach trees seem to be still holding their blossoms, but maybe it is a last ditch effort before they turn black and shrivel. Spring in New Mexico is full of heartbreak. I know. I have been here forty-one years, one week from today is our New Mexico anniversary. So I called my old land lady and invited her to lunch.
We arrived on April 11, 1973. This was before there was poetry month and before I had poetry credentials. I wrote, was class poet, and won a Academy of American poets college poetry award in 1966 of all years. I was a freshman. But in 1973 I was married, had survived a few months driving a school bus in Fox Chapel, a year in Chiacgo teaching Kindergarten, a year in San Francisco, and two long sub zero winters in rural Wisconsin on my husband's family dairy farm.
New Mexico looked like paradise. We landed in Pojoaque which we pronounced as you would expect two greenhorns to pronounce it, and stayed with Robin and Jim, Barb and Syd. Barb remembers me walking around naked. I remember her soaking pinto beans and baby Jessica crawling around my ankles. Michael and I drove the dirt roads looking for a place to rent. We considered ruins of adobes with no windows. Hey, after two Wisconsin winters how bad could it be? We stopped at Al's Pharmacy and Al told us of a house up the road a mile.
When we got there and I knocked, I noticed the succulents by the door, a good sign as I love succulent plants. The woman who opened the door had the most beautiful open smile. Beatific. It was Virginia. We were to become neighbors for 3 1/2 years. Now I haven't seen her for about six, but I just called her on the phone to ask if she will celebrate with me.
I think living there is the luckiest thing that happened in a pretty lucky life, knock wood. The three room adobe was a classic and Nora and Roland Pickens had lived there. They restored it as Roland, may he rest in peace, designed exhibits at the museums. I have written this again and again, but there I was painting the house a fresh coat and all three doors to the three rooms open tot he road. The people streamed by on the Nambé Road and I thought New Mexico rich with walking. It was Good Friday, April 19th, 1973. These were actually pilgrims walking to the Santuario de Chimayo.
Forty-one years later, our son is married to Tammy Garcia Logghe, from the family who owned the Pojoaque place where we first landed. These braided lives come out of a state with a sparse population. It is just right for me. I was a pilgrim and a stranger. I live in that beatific smile
more than my back east frown. We drove the road this week to see if we could see Angel, Ana, and Joe walking, these new New Yorkers in our life. We drove our pilgrimage, but still, cruising is a sort of prayer here, and you and me, babe, keep on trucking.