Onto a new path

’Tis another washed out, grey day dawned in the high desert.  An anticipated big snowstorm failed to have its way with us.  Cheers for that.

Firing up Apple Music on my iPad Mini first thing this morning, my fingers found their way to an album from my long ago folk music names.  A Joan Baez collection called Farewell Angelina.  Bob Dylan’s song.

Listening to Joan B’s Spanish music makes me happy, while her early music sends me off into a time warp when the struggle of life was to assert myself in an unaccepting world.  As soon as I could find whoever myself was under all that surface manner.

It was a time of bravado, over reacting to slights from would-be employers and landlords who openly denied me opportunities in fear of my very visible handicap.  It was a time when I smoked cigars in places such as Boston’s Symphony Hall, wearing a safari hat and sacklike granny dress.  One day while I was doing that a blue-haired, mink-wrapped woman glared at me at muttered, “I particularly detest people on crutches!”

It was a time when I listened to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s brilliant oratory in Boston, when I bought a 12-string Martin guitar at a street corner at Boston Gardens, and thundered away on it with and without others.  I carried my guitar on my back at the Newport Folk Festival, where I ran into Joan Baez and her husband, David, again.  The first time was while I was at Boston University.  She had dropped out of that school to pursue her music and was considered a radical at the time.  Her message to us who considered the radical path for ourselves was, “Drop out.  Do it.”

I didn’t drop out and I never followed anyone else’s political agenda.

That said, back to today’s slo-mo doings which will have far, far reaching effects upon my quiet little life.

No sooner did local radar show the last clouds slipping completely past than something way up there tossed mega tons of hail upon us.  White covered all there is to see out the windows.  Street, roofs, open land, driveway, bushes.

Thirty minutes later it was gone.  Two hours later, flaming sunshine.  Quirky!

Today I set in motion the process of selling my house.  Just before we got that hail.

I’ve done this before, with some good fortune. though the summer before last it was all but sold, when, days before closing, the buyer was denied her mortgage.

house for sale
In the summer of 2014

I liked my realtor, and she comes to meet with me again next week.

Farewell, Angelina, the sky is folding

and I must leave fast

My dad’s family set foot on the East Coast of what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts when the Mayflower landed.  From that day forward they made themselves into landowners by means fair and foul.

To this day my father’s people have owned homes, businesses, land enough to comprise an entire town.  Less is known about my mother’s people, other than that there were a lot of Quakers, some of whom were wealthy.  They were also homeowners and both families had plenty of politicians over the centuries.

The American way.  My families were big on that.

So here I go, selling the last house that I will ever own.  Launching a new phase of life as a renter, most likely of a corporately-owned, way over priced little apartment somewhere in the Silicon Valley.

This is to be near my daughter, my only close living relative.  She and I both look forward eagerly to the change, whether we can afford it or not.

Those old views from the 1960s will fly through my mind like so many mosquitoes.  Fight the greedy establishment, stand for the rights of the little people, don’t believe a thing a politician ever says.  Live lightly on the land, love the people, share flowers.

In doing this I’m saying farewell to the way of life practiced by all those forebears of mine.  Given the financial output required to live in the Silicon Valley — and me with Social Security for income — what I’m selling is the last house for me.

I’m pretty sure that will be just fine.

When I think of the years my late ex husband, Yakov, and I spent in apartments in New Mexico, California and Massachusetts what comes to mind is how carefree we felt.  No leaky roofs to fix or lawns to mow.  We spent more time out and about, doing things we loved.

Farewell Angelina…  A vivid memory from Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1977, where I first explored the famous caverns — learning that nearly five hours plodding up and down the underground world with crutches and braces  stretched my capacity to sacrifice sunshine.

In Carlsbad I also learned to shoot.

…Perched in the sun

Shooting tin cans

With a sawed-off shotgun

And the neighbors they clap

And they cheer with each blast

Hey, I did that in the wide open desert!  And it, too, was a bit of bravado by me.  My chosen religion strongly discourages ownership of weapons.  If a life is being threatened you may do what is necessary to save that life, if it be another’s or your own.  If you live in a place where a gun is necessary because of genuine threats (large carnivores come to mind) they are alright.  Well, my young self decided, I may never own a gun but I will for sure learn how to handle the things.

Today I can only marvel at my neighbors, a man with a herd of young male relatives visiting him most of the time.  Regularly a few of these fellows trot out of the house bearing big guns, in camo.  Off to shoot at deer and bears…? To me an AK-14 seems like excessive force against animals.  And I  don’t object to ethical, efficient hunting for food.

Dylan, though, he was a prescient song writer way back there in the 1960s:

The machine guns are roaring

The puppets heave rocks

The fiends nail time bombs

To the hands of the clocks

Call me any name you like

I will never deny it

Farewell Angelina

The sky is erupting

I must go where it’s quiet

These days I have friends of my age who are packing a few belongings and selling everything else, leaving the USA for more economical and friendly nations.  Like Panama.  Evidently countries that have felt the sting of revolution in the not distant past feel safer than home in the US, where just about anyone can own as many assault weapons, handguns and other weapons as they can find room for.

In California I became an avid bird watcher, and when a newspaper job failed to materialize in my vicinity I set up shop in my living room as a carver of birds and animals.  Yakov hauled them to about a hundred craft shows and galleries, where we sold them, then later paid our bills.  Rent wasn’t so impossibly high in those days.  While doing this I formed a life-long love for the Golden State.

There’s no need for anger

There’s no need for blame

There’s nothing to prove

Everything’s still the same

Just a table standing empty

By the edge of the sea

Farewell Angelina

The sky is trembling

And I must leave

And so, an adventure begins!

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