Rain

4/28-29/17

The rain woke me after midnight. This is the first rain since I’ve been here, just over a month now. I thought at first it was leaves tapping against the concrete walkway outside. I thought, “more sweeping to do” as I’ve swept every day, sometimes twice to keep the walk clear. Saves the heavier work of vacuuming what is tracked or blown in the door.

As I surfaced from full sleep, I realized there could be no leaves this crispy in spring…

This rain is tentative but steady, tap-tapping on the metal roof. I climb from bed to make a cup of chai, and return to cover up & sip it. And listen, cup in one hand, pen in the other. The heavy curtains belly out with that distinctive fragrance: Rain In The Desert. The Balinese cow bell serving as my doorbell sounds quietly, announcing a soft gusting accompaniment of breeze.

(In the desert, the smell of moisture precedes it, distinct & heady from the usual baked-sand scent. This rain will help to settle some of the dust raised by the highway department lately on a mission to dump yet more dirt. This seems to me an exercise in futility since dirt is hardly scarce here & quite abundantly distributed. But with their arcane signage & the unexplained descent of men in orange vests driving orange earthmovers, there is nothing to do but obey the “stop” & “go” of their outriders.  I question their purpose & their presence, especially when they leave the soil on the roadway – the one place it was not before their unexplained project. Are they burying us in more?)

When I thought the rain had passed by & started to doze again, another mild volley begins. I can feel the trees outside expanding, the weeds under them reaching out for sustenance. Are there others brewing tea & returning to cover up their legs in bed, just listening to the fall? A rare & delightful sound, a “joyful noise.” Who else in town lies awake scenting this perfume of suspended water falling on a dry world? More than I know? Fewer than I think?

Geoengineering has upended the weather patterns. The changes in Mother Nature herself wing out from that foul ruination of climate integrity. As the sun rolls from yellow to white & the clocks continue a relentless march forward, tonight’s quiet cleansing gentles the planet: rhythmic, soulful, fragrant, musical.

I pull the covers up to my ears & return to sleep, listening to the lullaby.

 

Hillsboro

This is my reality now: sun-filled days, whirring wings, the strange, coaxing cries of ring-neck pigeons. A tan-white cat with arctic eyes who visits, meowing, for a pet & a pat. A bedroom in pale green; a bed with a hard mattress I settle into carefully at night. Three deep sinks & water that heats up just as I’m finishing the dishes.

The ocean is above in the sky now, endlessly blue with irregular white waves of cloud. My life is organized as I want it to be, with no commitments other than what I make, no activities other than what I put myself forward to do.

I am rounder here without the regularity of the gym to help. I need a bigger commitment & heavier weights to trim off & I have not yet committed to these. One day soon, though, I will do so.

Here I am not concerned about my age anymore. I don’t fetch up four times a day telling myself I’m a septuagenarian. I don’t feel it here: the light has made me lighter of thought.

I notice things more or I notice more things. It is easier to be kind. I enjoy dressing nicely each day & I really enjoy having nice clothes to dress in. I find myself watching much that goes by, cars, people, animals. The stars seem to wink on when the sky goes black – some celestial switch is flipped. The moon carries proudly into the morning & remains visible most of the day; you just have to look for it. Today is the first day I have thought about seagulls.

History is harsh here, dusty & drowned in risen rivers. In its beginnings as a mining town, there was little enough law (and strangely, this still seems to be of minimal presence as drivers fly through at all speeds except that cited on the limit signs.) There were no rescue groups to distribute blankets & water when tragedy struck. There were raiding Apaches versus “decent” households – huts built on stolen land where the warriors did not want habitation by whites to root or grow. To them, we were the pests with our domestications & demands upon the land, with our claims to scarce water & women dressed in layers & men in hot collars & coats, the children like children everywhere, wild-eyed but brought up to obey, so conflicted (as perhaps even today) by reality & what was passing for civilization. The East imported to the West was an unfitted overlay. Adaptation to local habits was “going native” with all the negative connotations thereto. We are a mixed-match, a blended heritage, a small, tightly-knit community where everyone knows something else about who you are.

I could vacuum everyday so I learn to live with tiny leaves shaped like small dimes carried in on my sandals. Flip-flops pick up grit in the toes – a startling pain – unless I’m staying on the map-cracked sidewalk, I wear closed-toe shoes.

Perhaps the history impacts more here since I grew up at the seashore & so know that with my blood. There is a taut ethic called into survival by realism: cactus, snakes, endless & unmarked space in all directions. Yet I love it & there is a westernized me indwelling, caught up in every breeze & flicker of light dancing among the leaves.

Here I can live as though I belong. Here I can make choices not based on need, but based on a personal truth. Here I can notice what does not belong to me & set that much more aside for recycle.

I have all I need.

Hillsboro Greeting

First Rendering

I think that all this time

my muse has waited here

wrapped in a serape, wearing a light sombrero

that covers her eyes and her face

when she folds down into her arms

the bright blues, reds and greens of the fabric

stand out against the landscape

only the toes of her boots peeking

She has the patience of a mountain

all this time biding everything, awaiting my voice.

So, speak to me; I share your soul

I will lay it atop mine; we will be naked together

I will take your hand

Hike you up.

We will walk the crunching, dry road

Atop a memory of rivers.

Together we will teach what we have learned

Rebalance this nature to

the water I was from, before & after

This eternity of land

the patience it holds for all of us

​You, newborn again, mute, blind, awakening a soul…

And this silly, simple human made of words.

Second Rendering

I am listening as hard as I can

To silence

My ears are still

No cilia vibrate

Nothing is

Except a breeze passing

Quail-calls

The buzz of a heat-fly

En route elsewhere

I am amazed

No other sounds are available here

The silence has an intensity

My ears bear weight

Bear witness

Eternity exists

A scant half-mile from

What passes for a road.

Third Rendering

Here are the mountains I remember

In utter stillness, fully alive

Never fated to touch the sky.

Just to survive the eternity it takes to be a mountain

Underneath it.