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A kind of life
Homebound, heart full.
On May 22, my friend and I drove away from Chicago and toward New Mexico—not yet for forever, just for seven weeks, with our hearts set on something more and different, as they tend to be these days.
You may recall the day after we left I shared a list, a distillation of 300 or so words I wrote fast and loose in response to the question I asked myself: what do I want from this time that we have?
The list, in no particular order but this one:
joy grace gratitude
presence play poems
seeds community family
love progress people
Tomorrow we leave where we've been and make our way back to Chicago, stopping first in Lawrence, Kansas to meet Isaiah, a Sam + Carrie collaboration who by now is nearly four months old and shares a name with my late great grandfather, and then in St. Louis for a few days, where my darling Angel will be with her family for the month, whom I haven't seen since before the world turned on its head. I think of her often, and love her always, and soon she’ll be in my arms.
All these faces that I love just a day or two before me.
Seven weeks of wilderness and wonder on my back.
How did I do on those intentions?
Every night we chased light across the sky.
Always worth it.
My friend reminds me in the morning when we need to remember:
Let us be patient with each other.
Mimsy—blind, deaf, 16, with a heart that’s two sizes too big and leaks from two places at once—is still with us.
“My gratitude goes on forever.”
I try to stay here.
Every place has its own time and I’m trying to go with it.
Try to float for a moment, be the river not the rock, put my faith in me right now, which is really all there is, which could maybe be more than enough.
It gets easier with practice.
Wherever I can find it.
Sofia and Itiola joined us for four days.
We read favorite poems and new work.
Pulled cards and played Punisher again and again.
I had a poem accepted in a weird journal I admire, as did Sofia, and it’s marvelous. You’ll see mine soon enough.
In three to five years this will be our home.
We’re learning so much.
There’s so much to learn.
We’ll go in this order, more or less: water, solar, septic, build.
We met John—of John and Lisa, who’s in a band with Mike, a poet we know from poetry things who knows people like John and Lisa, who live in the tiny town we’ll call home within half a decade—for a beer at the tavern when the Turquoise Trail bends back toward untamed desert, and if you keep going another 17 or so miles south you turn right into the foothills of San Pedro Mountain, where our neighbor’s former roommate’s parents Catherine and Virg built their own green home, whose massive windows look out over piñon and juniper trees, where they’ve hung enough humming bird feeders to feed a nation of humming birds if you can imagine such a strong low hum, where they walked and talked us through every painstaking and loving design decision, each made with both beauty and climate in mind, because who moves to the desert in the coming disaster without considering what that could mean, and if you keep driving south another seven miles from there, you come upon Cibola National Forest but just before that the Tinkertown Museum, whose glass bottle walls were built by Ross, who painted carnival murals, carved miniatures, collected treasures and left this earthly plane 19 years ago, and Carla, who survives him having lived her own wild, wonderful life sailing the world, raising horses, hosting artists and writers in the cabin behind the museum, and who in 1967 chose San Francisco over college, taught herself pottery, made us whiskey sours and smiled through our questions and, not without a touch of mischief, urged us to take what risks we can and trust what happens next.
So the answer is yes: community.
Both of our parents came out for Father’s Day weekend. My mother made lobster and said to me out of nowhere: It’s time you learn to make tortillas. And so I did. And then she gave me her tortilla press, which she had made in 1988 in a rancho village outside San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato, where my grandmother was born and raised and left accused of witchcraft when her first, violent husband died within the first year of their violent marriage. She returned in 1988 with her daughter—my mother—and grandchildren in tow to meet their great grandmother for the first time. I was 5. She told me I was cursed. My mother chose the tree. She left with a tortilla press, unaccused. And now that I know how to make fresh tortillas, I’m never going back.
We showed our parents our land and blessed it, passed around the Dad Weed, perfect for dads on just such an occasion.
More than ever. More still.
Related: seeds; community
I stretched every morning.
Put on sunblock and my new hat.
Stopped often for small sips of water.
Climbed several mountains.
Told the people I love that I love them.
Held me in my arms and said to her thank you, soft body, for bringing me this far.
Everywhere. Always. Amen.