Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fly Away From Here

These are the Sangre de Cristo mountains as seen from White Rock, NM.  I've got a special relationship with these mountains, and this overlook.  This was where I came the day I moved to New Mexico, when a double rainbow stretched the width of the view.  It's where I used to walk to while I was still adjusting to the altitude.  It's where I biked to at 5 in the morning because I'd been up a straight 36 hours and was freaked out by what I'd just done to myself,  moving cross-country.  It's pretty close to the view I used to see around 6 am when I was finished with the first bake of the bagels at Ruby K's and I had the bread in the mixer.  I'd take my coffee and my cherry turnover and sit on the steps by the Parasol and face the mountains and watch the sunrise.   It's where I'd crawl out on the rocks and think, or draw, or cry, or laugh.  I ended up lying flat on the rock holding on for dear life when I let the storm I'd been watching creep up on me, and I also went here illicitly on my first day home from the hospital when my kidneys freaked out even though I wasn't supposed to go anywhere. 

That sunset became very special to me.  I've got a million pictures of me sitting right here.  I've got pictures from when I spent the better part of 3 hours watching the light change and fade away.  Sometimes I can smell it when I look at this picture- juniper and rock and sagebrush. When it would rain, all I had to do was open the window a little bit and it would perfume the whole house. 

There's something about the way the sun is on your shoulders out there-it antiques the rocks and fades the facades but it's friendly somehow.  The closeness, though sometimes downright hazardous in its intensity, used to make me feel a little more connected somehow, and a little less alone.  The warmth almost seemed protective most of the time.

The color of those sunsets- the shocking blue of the sky and then the purples and oranges and pinks and yellows...I know that they happen everywhere from time to time, but out there it seemed like the daily art show.  Nothing is more breathtaking than a painting on a canvas that stretches out over the mountains for miles in every direction.  Sometimes the display almost made me feel guilty- like little old me shouldn't be able to experience that kind of decadence every day.  

Life's been rough here lately.  I've been sad, and I've been hurt, and I've been frustrated. Some of the pain I've felt and am feeling recently is of an intensity I don't know if I've felt before.  

But the silver lining is, I've done something about it.   Long about New Year's Eve I'd been thinking I needed to get back.  I needed to feel those things again, even just for a visit.  I've never been able to explain why I felt so strongly that I belonged there, but I do, and I feel the pull.  I was driving a friend home in the very early hours of 2013, and my brain exhaled "I need to go home." when I was talking with him about New Mexico.   It took me by surprise. All this time in the suburbs and I guess I wondered if anywhere was home, and if that was anything more than a memory.   But I think your heart knows things before your brain most of the time, at least those sorts of things. 

As of tomorrow, I have a ticket "home"

I can't wait.  I won't be going to White Rock, but I will be back to my red dirt, mountains, juniper, sagebrush and desert skies.  I'll get to see people who changed my life, and go back to places that I could always run to.  I'll get to feel the sun right at my side, and let everything else fall away.  I know it might sound ridiculous to some, but I honestly feel like going home right now will help heal some of these wounds, if even just for a little bit.  

I can't wait. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Borrowed Time

I've had these words pressing against my ribs trying to get out all weekend, but I'm finding it hard to write in spite of that. 

Earlier this week, a friend of mine was in the middle of handling a loss on their in-law's side. They'd been up since 3 am trying to keep the slightest handhold on the situation, and the exhaustion- emotional and physical, was reading on their face. 

The death was sudden, completely unexpected.  In the grand scheme of things, I don't know which is worse. 
But as I talked to this person, I saw it rock their world, even though it wasn't someone they were personally close to. We talked some more and they mentioned that "you don't really think about it but anything could happen, any time, and you could lose someone you love."

That thought was particularly unpleasant to me where I'm at now, because there's at least one relationship in my life that is absolutely not right right now.  If something were to happen me or's a thought I don't want to follow through on, though that's instantly where my brain went.

As I studied my friend's face though, I saw a genuine shock in their eyes. And I didn't understand it, I guess?

My brain instantly went "well of course anyone could be gone in an instant."
My brain doesn't go there, it lives there.  Maybe my heart too.

I don't know if I mentioned it here before or not, and I probably didn't, but now seems like the time.
I knew loss before I knew much of anything in the world. I knew what the void was like that a person leaves behind.  I knew that nobody you meet in your future can fill the hole in your past, and there's no piece that completes the puzzle.  

My dad was gone about two weeks after I got here.  A birthday, a birthday, then a funeral. 

I have a strange relationship with grief.  I had to figure out what was missing, then figure out if it was ok to grieve, then figure out how to do it, both as an adult and as a child. I had to deal with the fact that people weren't always going to accept my loss as real or tangible to me, since I was so young.  Many times I felt I had to find a secret way to go through it, because I didn't think people would understand why or why now, and I didn't know how to explain. 

I had to figure out how it affected my life, too.  I don't believe that we're only a product of our circumstances and genetics, but I do believe they can have a deep impact on our lives. 

For's that I feel like I've always carried around a ticking clock.  That I'm constantly aware that all time is borrowed time.  In the darkest corners of that it's the expectation that people will always leave. 

I know a few things about this.
It makes me fight too hard sometimes. It makes me push so hard to fix things that I just break them again or make things worse. 
It makes me weak sometimes too. It makes me go the other way and let people walk all over me because of the fear I have of losing them otherwise.
It can be good too though. I think that it makes me love harder in the good ways too.  Growing up knowing you don't have another shot sometimes makes you want to make sure that people know they're loved.
It gives me wisdom to know that there's things that are way more important than this fight right now.

I'm writing this because I couldn't not.  I'm writing this because I can't explain it to the person I want to right now.  I'm writing this because there are things that are so much more important than the way you or I feel right now.  I'm writing this because we're all on borrowed time. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 1- Clock

(In case you wondered, I've decided to do a photo a day challenge. As per usual, I'm already behind, but this time, I fully intend to make it up and keep it up, because I am now sure I can do something for thirty days straight, and this time around the block, i want it to be writing.  The photo's gonna be the prompt.)

It started simple.  The dark would be interrupted by soft oranges and yellows, the evening clouds would part. Clear blue would stretch across the sky most days, but on certain days the blackness would only cede to grey. Though the bright fingers of the sun would pry eyes open before they were ready, its warm touch was missed, and the earth was cold those days.

But more often, the sun cut a path through the sky. In the middle of the day it hung above, cutting its light into those without shade, making great mirrors out of lakes and oceans, fading colors, melting ice, warming earth.

Sometimes the light stretched out forever, and some times it hid beneath clouds.  A stone was carved and stood in a common place in the open.  As the sun went through its paces, a shadow was cast, and we followed.

Then the wheel. Then the cogs.  A rhythm followed the shadow, a pulse. Numbers.  The cogs and gears and mechanisms turned and it was 1.  Then 2.  The time between insignificant perhaps.  Days subdivided into hours.  Early morning hours, for sleep or work.  Daylight hours, for work, for exploring while the shadows were at bay. Nighttime hours, for dinner, for rest, for socializing as long as the lanterns had oil.

But soon enough it never had to be dark. Soon enough the space between one and 2 became set aside.  Minutes. Minutia. This precision, this pulse driving life to an ever rising pace.

Then time zones, so we could deign to make the hours bend to our will.  So we could pretend we had any control over the light and when it came and went.

Cogs and gears a thing of the past, we crush crystal, let it flow liquid.  The number is luminescent so we can always see it, always watch it advance.  So we always know when to expect the sun, so we know when it is time to start a new day, or time to end one.

Such precision now that races aren't won by a nose, they're won in bits of time so small that blinking seems like blindness.

Still we aren't satisfied. Since splitting the atom, we want to drive deeper even if we've gone to the core.  Now a clock won't do.  Time tracked seems a waste of time, and an object that only speaks in seconds seems a vanity.  "Yes, time....but what else?"

The silver hands of wristwatches atrophy, forgotten in jewelry drawers as the batteries die.

We find time where we find bank balances, messages from friends, entertainment, recipes,pictures we take to remember moments we didn't want to pass.  We find time on things that also cook our food in minutes instead of slow simmering hours.  We don't find time on its own, and we don't find time alone. But maybe we should.