I am in a twilight, bardo state. One foot is in an old reality, the other searching for the new, tapping the linoleum. I listen for echoes which grow faint, distancing gently to silence.

The apartment is two-thirds packed but not properly so, as in boxed up to be sealed. All is in a temporary holding, odds & ends protrude from the cardboard flaps. I’ve arranged for a loan of tables, put an ad in the paper about the moving sale. Daily I check all the rooms, perhaps to see if any possessions have sneaked back upstairs, looking for pictures which may have leaped onto their old nails still on the walls. I open closets to ascertain if the clothing has multiplied & I understand this is the next step: the pinnacle of a final sort to bring me down to what will fit in my Volt once I have the cat “environment” set up – those parts arrive Tuesday. I envision a three-sort, the third being the final one.

I will be left with some clothing, the cat, the car, some cash, a long journey which may lead to a longer one once at destination. I am heading to a state where I’ve only ever skimmed the border on a church weekend many years ago.

And all of this as the world changes into a place just as unfamiliar as my arrival will be.

I experience a layer of stillness – not of a peace, but rather a drawing-back to take stock. Then I get to moving between the boxes, rearranging the surface levels. Ideas emerge in a whisper which I tug at to discern meaning. I am withdrawing from one world but have not achieved exit speed. One more lap, then another, until the door opens in finality & we depart.

I have a feeling on these days when the sun slips away to allow the unusual balm of afternoon rain. I wonder if I am escaping just before the tiny world of Truth or Consequences shrinks to a pinpoint light & pops with a spit-hiss to go out. When I lived here in 1998, the people talked about being amidst a 25-year drought. Townies still describe it that way, taking no notice that another 23 years have passed & we are still in that same drought. Lately it has started to rain almost every day. But the town is scraping the river bottom for water, the Rio Grande is reabsorbing itself & once the irrigation gates close, will dry to a soupy grass, literally a wet spot with brackish edges.

Attention spans are short: nature is as close to eternity as the foibles of men will allow. My neighbors shower for 30 minutes each. Some still water lawns returning with the afternoon moisture. A cloudburst produces giant puddles which will provide many birdbaths before evaporating. The familiar dusty streets immerse. The plumbing never did get fixed although much-discussed. Instead they spent a cool million on electric meters. shortly after which the City Manager left town.

The weather & I coincide. Both in a hush of indrawn breath, we gather strength & purpose & continue on our way. T or C would be an easy town to miss. Two sawhorses & some cones would close off our either-end-of-town exits. Our two markets serving 7,000 bodies can only provide as they are provided & that could change far too easily. Who would miss us? City services dwindle; the departed City Manager brought a number of expensive contracts to the City Commission for signature about which few questions were asked… why? We had the money! It sounded like a good idea (though only the City Commission thought so as they staunchly shuffled papers while alarmists predicted this scenario, assuring no one took more than three minutes so they could head into Executive Session to approve purchases.)

Endings for one & all line up. I wonder if the town can carry on. New people move in, the Californians & Texans finding inexpensive housing, cheap land & just enough amenities to get by. I am reminded of John Mayer’s song “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.”

My ending will not precipitate that of the town’s, but I wonder just how far behind that is.

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