Callie and the Skunk

ca and skunk

No I ain’t gonna chase it away

Far too psycho to write today, but here’s the cat looking at a skunk eating all the birdseed. Enjoy!

Up for Air

Rio Pueblo gorge

Rio Pueblo just below. Cliffs across the way are Pueblo land.

Fortunately I’ve learned (?) that I don’t have to tell everyone everything, but we’re dealing with meat and bone here. A couple of weeks ago, there was a horrendous rolling crash in the kitchen. I immediately said, “Something terrible has happened,” and got up from my chair in the next room to look. It had. One of the cabinets screwed into the wall near the sink had fallen down, spontaneously, all on its own, spilling virtually all of its contents onto the hard concrete floor. I didn’t take a picture, but maybe I should have: virtually all of our everyday dishes, bowls, glasses, plates, and more had shattered! I’ve never seen so much broken glass and ceramic wreckage. It was apocalyptic.

The next day I went to the hardware store and bought larger masonry screws. The cabinet had been mounted on the concrete stucco that covers what I grew up calling a cinder block wall. After getting the thing rehung and usable, I realized the stucco itself would be the next thing to go. We’re okay for now, but only sort of. The concrete is slowly pulling away from the wall because an apparently unfixable water leak is dissolving the bond. (That same leak had softened the fiberboard backing on the cabinet where the screws gave way.) We have so few dishes now, it’s ridiculous. I don’t want to buy new plates before we move, because they’d only have to go into that same cabinet and be next in line for sacrifice. The gods aren’t going to fool around the next time, either.

I do not understand what our housing dilemma has been about all this time. I honestly don’t, and it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except right now, the almighty present, where I’m trying to focus and let the past die. Today my wife and I sat down together to look at all the real estate listings in Taos County on Realtor.com. I set the price filter for $100,000 more than we could pay (so we’d have something to see), and even at the high end, there wasn’t a single property we were interested in. That’s how it’s gone for the last four years. I check the listings at least twice a day, we drive by anything we sort of like, and almost nothing feels like “home.” I thought our old house in Maryland was pretty ordinary when I first saw it, but the location near the bay was a huge attraction, and I loved the fields and tall green woods on its 2.57 acres. The house was secondary to me, in other words. It really was. All it would take here is that 90 mile view across the Rio Grande, plus surrender. I’m ready to surrender. I simply haven’t found where to lay down my rifle and raise the new flag.

Not a day goes by, however, without one or the other of us saying something like, “The air feels so good!” Or “Jesus, look at those clouds!” Or “I’m so grateful that it stays so cool inside this old adobe!” And at the end of our long, frank talk today, mostly me ranting about cheap housing where neither of us wants to live or go back to, she said:

“I really like it in the mountains of New Mexico…”

Well there you go, jackass.

Live harder.

Break rocks.

Die close to the sky.

Sunday at 7,500 Feet

Mountains north of Taos in fall color

Changing scrub oak thickets light up burned over mountain

For the last nineteen years, I’ve lived within 30 miles of scenes like this. Could have been doing something else, I guess, but hey. To me this kind of space and clarity comes close to peak existence. It ruins you for ever moving to a city, though. We ate our sandwiches at a pristine picnic table looking out at a 90-mile view and there was no one else around. Yes, I say that a lot. But I mean no one. Not another person or car. There wasn’t even a single fly. Air temperature around 75°F, very dry, no wind. Silence. It’s just completely stupefying. I never want to leave. It’s like the landscape of my soul. You want to watch people who say things like that, of course. They end up sucked into the void like moths in a tornado.

My wife is suntanned now and probably doesn’t know it. I see it in her, though, a touch of golden color on her face and arms. But the lady ain’t no moth. Followed me like birds migrating, joy and purpose all the way.

Burning Juan

Burning Juan post image

There’s too much going on and moving much too fast. I’ve written this post at least six times. Each version was completely different and obsolete by dawn.

Incantation

Early morning sun

Early morning sun lights up the California smoke across the valley

This morning after visiting the bathroom, my wife crawled back into bed around 5:30 a.m., pulled the covers up to her chin, and said, “This is the end.” (Driving by those houses yesterday had something to do with this, the way it always does.) I put my arm around her, held her close, and felt no fear for once. This is the end, I thought, although of what, I wasn’t sure.

Going to Santa Fe on my birthday to haul my Twin Reverb in to be repaired was like that. It was fun to drive the truck, for one thing, and I wanted to. With plenty of power, the Dakota squirts ahead whenever I stab the gas. The ride is smooth and stable, the speedometer dead on. Down the road, the guy at the guitar store treated me like a mensch. We had fish and chips for lunch outdoors and felt a breath of normal in the air. I wasn’t worried about money, finding a place to live, or cataloging my old sins, as if the act of doing something that was so important to me personally and artistically after all these years had let the goodness flow again.

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