Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Then There Was Oregon!

I am moving AGAIN!  Still in the high desert but in a different state and with more that is green and lakes that still have water in them.  As a matter of fact I will be living next to a small lake that is the three season home to all kinds of water fowl, including Pelicans and many varieties of ducks.  
I hate to admit it but it is a retirement community. If we are lucky, age catches us all.   I can actually afford to live there and that is a huge relief.  I bought my own little manufactured home. It faces the lake.  There is a large wheat field behind the house.  this place is a quiet little speck on the map but close enough to get to things one needs in life.  Feels as though I can exhale and write again.  :)  Move happens in November.  Think I found the middle ground that I've been seeking.  Close to friends and family in three states minus the harsh winters of New England.  Let the packing begin!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Remembering in the First Person

"Everyone needs his memories.  They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door."
~ Saul Bellow

It is about an hours drive from Boston to the last place in which I lived (nestled in the southwest corner of New Hampshire) before departing for California.  I was lonely there but I've since learned that I am lonely every where and I did manage to take many photos and write numerous entries in blogs. On the day of this particular trek, I wanted to know if I still found comfort in that soft green sleepy retreat.

"Memory... is the diary that we carry with us"
~ Oscar Wilde

I stood just above the last place I lived.  It was softly raining.  In November this rain will annoy because it will likely turn to ice but in September is brings a simple chill and gentle mist to the air. I am able to see bits of the house from the road. Someone else is living there now.  They have a Jeep with off road tires and lights mounted on the roof rack and bully bar...I'm just a little envious.  They are prepared for winter and mud season, at least as far as their transportation is concerned.  Is the fire wood laid in? When I lived there, it was a three or four cord winter...and I ran out before the weather turned warm.  Oil and butane ordered?  So many things to plan for when living in the northeast.  Will those folks living there plow their own drive way?  Are they renting or did they buy the property?

"We each need to make peace with our memories.  We have all done thing that make us flinch."
~Surya Das

Up the hill and across the road is an old farm house.  It still stands empty.  It emptied a number of years ago.  The result of infidelity. He cheated, she found out.  The house was their summer place. He most especially loved the location.  She got the house in the divorce and specifically forbade him from coming on the property.  It broke his heart.  I imagine her saying, 'touche'.  Pay back truly is a bitch!  Once hers, she never used it again.  She left it to her daughter, that was in 2007.  I guess the daughter decided against rehabbing the house.  It has no central heating,  and many windows are broken.  I'm sure birds, raccoon, mice, and bats have done their fair share of damage.  I walked through it once.  Up stairs was a page help prisoner in time.  Her dress hug in the tiny closet and his prayer book opened to the last page he read there, all a headstone to a marriage that once worked.  If I had the funds, I would buy it, tear it down and put a ranch-style house on the foundation...a sign on the front door would proclaim "Beware all who enter here...".

"There are memories I chose not to live with, but we hangout at the same bar."
~ Robert Brault (rbrault@blogspot.com)

Back to the main road.  We make a quick stop at the stream that traverses the land there.  It is a nearly a soundless world.  The misty moment punctuated by the trill of chickadees and water passing through on its peaceful path.

I don't want to move back.  So more thinking is needed.  More thinking and more money.  It may drive me out of retirement.  I do know I love the near quiet.  But would like to be within eyesight of a neighbor.  Phone reception would also be nice.

" Memory is a crazy woman who hoards colored rags and throws away food."    ~ Austin O'Mally

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Return to Wildwoods Retreat 2014

"And when the day arrives I'll become the sky and I'll become the sea and sea will come to kiss me for I am going home..."    ~ Trent Razuor

The long trip to my old New England home was uneventful.  It was also, in fact, a bit of challenging fun: Figuring out how to sleep in the car at rest stops; how to get the little dog to eat something other than it's fresher variety of food; how to manage stopping for human food and exercise and still get in 700 miles a day and so on.  It rained almost the entire trip which helped take a bit out of the hot, humid days.   It was I-80 most of the way, then I-90 and finally the Mass Pike into Boston and my old neighborhood.  I left in 2001.  Since that eventful moment in the early fall of that year until today, I've lived in Vermont, New Hampshire, California, Washington and Nevada since that year.  It is a sweet moment in life to return to the people and places that one holds dear and loves deeply.  Has the neighborhood changed?  Huge changes.  But somehow fundamentally the same.  The people I knew are almost the same but perhaps older and wiser.  Babies have been born and elders have died,  and the folks my age move more slowly and struggle with the physical problems of aging, the challenge of  trying to stay fit and somehow keeping ahead of bill collectors  while somehow living on Social Security.

I'm staying with a young couple raising a son and both are working.  They are two women.  One Mom is the birth parent and works in the trades ~ a plumber.  The other spouse is the stay at home parent during the day and leaves for part-time work in the evenings when the other Mother gets home.  Eventually she wants to go to law school.  She will make a great lawyer as she is a fierce advocate for what is right.  My contribution to the family is to cook.  So far so good.  One Mother and the son are omnivores and one Mom is a vegetarian.  Sometimes I cook only veggie and sometimes  do both meat and veggie.  How I love dinner time here.  Happy newsy chatter about life, news, the progress of toilet training and other "stuff".  I've missed that connection more than other.  

But my favorite part of each and every day is spending time with this wonderful 2 1/2 year old.  To him I am "Nana Mini" ... I love hearing that in his sweet baby voice.  The innocence of the very young is intoxicating!

Wish there were a way to slow down time just this once.  To make the time between now and my departure date drag out even a little bit.  My fantasy is to move back but I know that is not likely to happen.  It is too expensive for me here. The desert can be demanding to but too expensive is not one of the "demanding problems".  Just paying a little attention to old friends for a short time will have to do. 

"Going home and spending time with you family and your real friends keeps you grounded." 
~  Jennifer Ellison

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Gnawing Hunger

"They that die by famine die by inches" ~Henry Matthews

Even now the desert is no place for the weak.  The low humidity and the harsh unrelenting sun are hostile hosts.  "Drink water",  we are reminded daily, "even if you are not thirsty".  

The Tall Texan and I were sitting on the front porch, in the comforting protection of shade, chatting.  It was a familiar but all to  rare moment when we exchange small talk and pondered my upcoming trip and his busy 20 something life.  We have a tender friendship that has some how managed to cross the barren boundary of a couple of generations.   A man approaches us from the street.  He walks slowly across the tiny front lawn and stops abruptly at the rod iron fence that surrounds the front porch.   His face tells me he must be about 38 - 40 years old ~ beware reader, I know I usually guess wrong about the age of people.  He is short and husky and has muscular arms and chest.  He wears a light jacket even though it is hot.  He tells us that he has come here through Canada but that his journey started in Guadalajara, Mexico.  He stammers that he speaks only a little English.  I tell him I speak a little, very little, Spanish.  Somehow we make it work.  He is looking for work.  His face contorts into the pain of a man choking on emotion.  He is, he tells us, very hungry.  The Tall Texan tells him to wait.  We both go into the house to fetch a little cash and meet in the kitchen to make a sack lunch for this person.  We work in quiet unison.  We throw it all into a plastic bag and walk back to the porch.  The man stands exactly where we asked him too.  I hand him the cash and food.  He kisses the bag, tears rolling down his face and tells us in Spanish "God Bless You Sir and Mamacita".  The Tall Texan worries that he does not know how to tell him how to get to the food pantry.  My Spanish vocabulary is to small to translate that.  I wonder that the Tall Texan knows that there is a small food pantry in the neighborhood.   

I know not where this gentleman from Guadalajara is now.  I hope he found work.  I hope he found water and more food.  His hunger was a brush with my youth in the now distant past.  Now, although I live within the limits of social security, I have a roof over my head and friends and some food in the pantry.  I am thankful for the life I have, whatever the challenges.  When I was just barely 20, before I was a RN and while searching for a job and housing in Boston, I knew the hollow empitness of the unfed.  I was young and strong then, still, hunger hurt.  Gnawing hunger.    It is humbling and painful. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cross-Generation Friendships

"Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed" ~ Cicero

We are an odd household.  Forty decades seperate our life experiences.  The way in which each of we three were raised are as different as day and night.  Still, we have forged sweet friendships.  People ask me "if it is odd living with 20 something guys?"   Yes, often it is just a bit odd, not just for me but probably for each of us.  The youngest is just 23.  The older is 26 today.  They are cousins, both alike in some interesting way and both very different in equally interesting ways.  

This contact keeps me mentally limber.  I've learned the ways in which we use language is  very different.    I can hear that they are not trusting of government, police, politicians.  Neither am I but we've come to distrust via foot paths.  Still they are  both hopeful and happy.  Both believe in the future. As 20 somethings, they have no way of understanding,on a personal level, of the many ways  life will throw challenges and disasters in their path.  Just as well.

Both men are gear-heads.  I'm making a collage that, will hopefully, demonstrate what life looks like when looking into the garage from the kitchen, so to speak...

"This is not a dress rehersal" ~ enjoy your day!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Moving Ever Onward!

"Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep." ~Shakespeare

Okay, I'm over it! I am over a misdirected relationship and over living in the desert.  Time to move on.  Will be traveling back to New England and staying for a month or two.  There is no escaping the desert until I can afford a permanent move and my housemates and I can figure out how to replace my economic place in the home we rent.  But a month or two is a month or two.

Sold my Yamaha motorcycle yesterday.  Kind of sad about that but it will be replaced eventually.  Am pretty sure that the replacement will be a Harley low-rider....just love it when my feet can touch the ground at a STOP.  The little Virago has gone to a rider who is making the transition from scooter to bike and her passing of hands will help finance the trip home.  No longer drive the MX5.  She has been sold several times over. That car was a great teacher. I'm no longer afraid of FAST or switch backs..in fact it's all a liberating joy.  Good Golly Ms Molly, a year ago I didn't even know what "turbo" meant! :) Driving a Baja now ~ its a Subaru and dependable.  It's a trucklet and that is helpful. But its real strength is in its ability to off-road. She's not a rock climber like some of the Jeeps and other 4x4s but still pretty stealth out there in the forest and in the desert.  I do love that.  Will be putting 1" spring risers in sometime soon and replacing the tires with ATs.  Funny because in NV off-roading is a sport ~ in New England it was a necessity.  I have become an unrepentant automotive geek.

I'm am sickened by the news of late.  So we won't go there too much.  The outback of Alaska sometimes is very appealing but will probably be satisfied with Northern NH...perhaps not to far from the Connecticut Lakes.  "Won't you be snowed in" some asked....god smite me with it! I've given up most the nightly news and rarely read the paper.  I'm weary to my bone marrow (as it is my bone marrow that is under attack from within that is no small price to pay) of police violence, the growing arms race between citizens and police, our government selling military arms to police and the suffering of humans in general.  Politicians...oh my word, what is there even to say that has not been said.   I will admit that I am still addicted to the New Yorker and the Atlantic ~ guilty pleasures.  Better than shooting up or snorting! 

I return to me original purpose and that is to enjoy photography and write about the "stuff" observed.  I would say it is good to be back in the saddle but I sold my saddle when I left Washington.  Okay, I still have my feet, so...it is good to be back on the path, wherever it leads!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Old Loves and Old Lovers

"Things are not always what they seem; first appearances deceive many."  ~ Phaedrus

He was chatting in that relaxed cheerful manner that I have come to so enjoy. His long legs stretched out under the little bistro table, his feet have captured mine.  Even with his boots on he somehow manages to gently caress my ankles.  He smiles a playful smile, quotes a little passage from a sonnet and my heart skips one beat. This is a young relationship between two people who are not themselves young.  We two are both in our sixties and yet here we are, two aging people basking in a newly kindled relationship born a mere 6 weeks ago.  A well read man who is also hard working construction kind of guy, it always takes me by surprise that he so easily slips in a line of poetry when I least expect it and that makes me smile.  It was something from Shakespeare.  For some reason, the words remind me that we met over coffee.  A mere 42 days ago I noticed a man drinking a coffee as he was reading a novel that I've read.  He asks me is if I liked the book.  
I was startled.  Other than the mumbled good mornings of the uncaffinated, no one ever chats with me while I sip a latte.  An odd silence for a few seconds when I finally realized, that he was, in fact, talking to me and I stammered a response.  He smiled that smile. We met again and again in that coffee shop.  A little flame and so much dry emotional kindling that it was a forest fire before I knew what was happening.  And I loved it!  

So many activities.  We went off-roading together, exploring the woods that surround and decorate the high desert.  I drove most of the time.  Once we took his truck and he drove.  His 4x4  could climb rocks that I could never manage is my much smaller vehicle, not mention my much less off roading skill.  He and I both love photography so no arguments over request for frequent stops.  We made love in that great out of doors theatre.  We had  picnics and shared reading a book out loud together.  Neither of us gamble so there was no casino hopping, just the out of doors and the occasional movie and of course, coffee.  My dogs trusted him, and in fact seemed to  loved him and before long I did too.  How I love to lie in his arms, my head on his chest, feeling his warmth and listening to his strong steady heart beat.  I'm 66 and he is 67.  I never dreamed that I would be able to hear a lovers heart beat again, even though that very thing is on my "bucket list".   And he even joined me on a 100+ mile trip to a medical center where I have chemotherapy.  Yes, I'm battling cancer, again.  Another story which we may or may not explore here.  Anyway, I never go with anyone.  I'm usually too frightened and in a horrible mood but for some reason when I finally told him and he asked to join me, I relented and let him escort me to that part of my destiny.  He held my hand and stroked my arm and read a book to me.  It was the first time I've ever been calm or for that matter pleasant while allowing therapeutic poison run into my body.  The nurses had to wonder at the change in personality.

So here we were again, sipping coffee and discussing a camping trip.  He reminiscences about other trips and other places and chuckles when his mentions "Susan and the boys".  I think my heart stopped.  There was something in the tone.  It was loving and tender.  And I knew instantly that he was married.  His tone conveyed that not only was he married, he was still in love with his wife.  He is a still-in-love kind of cheater.  I remember standing up and wanting to throw my latte in his face.  I put the coffee down and whispered "you're married aren't you?" He softly said "yes".  I told him to "stay out of my life" and walked away.  There have been five telephone calls pleading a second chance.  No calls since yesterday morning.  Its over.  They say everything happens for a reason, then so be it.  I discovered that there is still passion in my body.  I know how much I yearn for companionship.  I know I can love someone who makes my smile.  I'm thinking I may give up coffee.