On getting close to stardust

If April showers bring May flowers there should be plenty of wild food around here for hummingbirds when I bid adios to New Mexico in a few weeks.

Today has been soft, grey and way more humid than what I’m accustomed to.  87%, up from a period of 9% (daytime).  Which all makes me dreamy, and keeps Elf and Opus snoozing soundly.

The disassociated part is good because at the time I fell asleep last night I was prepared to toss and turn for hours over the ins and outs of selling furniture via Craigslist.  Nobody wants a nice old Hitchcock rocking chair priced — I think — very reasonably at $30.   They will message me with a hopeful, “Would you take $10 for it?” But an old dresser of no particular distinction, that has a partial split on one side and is actually going for $10, got  many requests, even an outright demand that I throw the thing into the truck I no longer have and drive — late at night — to a casino 25 miles up the road.  There I would hand it over to a person whose name begins and ends with the letter X.

I don’t think so.  I fell asleep eventually, knowing that XX didn’t have my phone number or address.  The falling barometer kept the dogs and me snoozing past our normal 7 a.m. wake up time.

I admit that the episode left me feeling scared and vulnerable about letting strangers come into my home and wander around looking at things I have for sale.

Morning brought yet another dresser message from Craigslist, this time from a fellow named Ray, who has a Mexican surname and speaks as a Native American on the phone.  He just wanted the dresser, and was ready to roll on down here and get it.  He sounded imperious.

I was good and ready to part with this trouble making hunk of furniture that had once dresser frontbelonged to my Aunt Mary, so I gave him my address and he said he’d be here in 30 minutes.  The trip from Albuquerque normally takes me 45.

The dogs and I gobbled our breakfasts, and they went into their crates as wheels sounded out front.  He was bang on schedule.

Ray was short, stocky and with an astonishing curly beard.  Rather shyly he introduced a towering older black fellow who came in behind him.  Archie.  All was not well with Archie, I sensed, in a non threatening way.  He turned out to be the one in need of a really cheap, but good quality, dresser.

Ray wheeled the thing off on my dad’s old oak dolly while Archie and I explored the various things I had to sell in the garage.   His gentle manner and good humor had won me over…  He said he’d been a long distance truck driver till an accident caused a brain bleed, and he has been “simple” ever since.

“My wife always had the sense in the family anyway,” he said.  “But the Lord took her for some reason.  Instead of me.  I don’t understand why.”

When they left Archie had also bought two good rakes and a shovel — “for my kids, cuz they don’t have nothing either”, as well as a rocking wood loveseat from the living room.  “Do you have a skillet, an iron skillet, you want to sell?” he asked so hopefully that I dug out the big old one that had been my mother’s and handed it to him.

Ray was all business, the business of being sure Archie was okay.  He packed the purchases onto his big pickup while Archie said goodbye and a gentle, “God bless you” at the front door.

What a wonder is intuition.  Last night I was bothered and even frightened by some of the responses to my inexpensive dresser.  This morning when I spoke to the one fellow who had emailed today I felt strongly that he was okay, and told him where to find me.

There is a sub culture here as in other places, and a big one.  That of extreme poverty.  It seems to bring out the good and the bad in people such that, for me at least, intuition and the reactions of Elf and Opus have brought me the good ones thus far.

As I was rolling around the house taking stock of the gaping spaces where familiar things had been standing for so long the dog alarm went off again.  There came a great thumping at the front door.  The doorbell has always been on the fritz.

There stood big Michael, the Native American from Isleta Pueblo who takes care of my wheelchair.

“They did call to tell you I was coming to pick up your old wheelchair today, right?” he asked, noting my surprised look.

“Nope, of course not, but do come in,” said I.  I’d been hoping for a good way of disposing of my old, spare power wheelchair, and had rather forgotten that the company Michael works for does sometimes cart off non functional power chairs.  They get either broken up or sent, via a church, to a new life in Mexico.

Never underestimate the ingenuity of people south of us.  I think the ability they possess to give fresh life to material things we of the north discard rather than fix is a firm rebuke of our poisonous consumer culture.

goodbye to the old jazzy
Michael threw a tarp over the old Jazzy

So, within moments, there was another gap in another room, and Michael rolling off in the chair — the easiest way to move a power chair from one place to another.  Its dying batteries had just enough oomph left to get it out the front door to the tommy lift on his pickup.

Then the heavens opened up and down came a long-lasting gentle rain.

After a few weeks of not an awful lot happening in terms of reducing my domestic inventory, today has been so different, a welcome experience, other than that my dreamy state of mind makes things feel unreal.  Not happening, not really…

The sun is struggling to take over, as I write this.  Thinking of my vanishing truck and other belongings, I remember words from Baha’i writings:

Rejoice not in the things ye possess; tonight they are yours, tomorrow others will possess them. ….  Say: Can ye claim that what ye own is lasting or secure? Nay! …. The days of your life flee away as a breath of wind, and all your pomp and glory shall be folded up as were the pomp and glory of those gone before you.

 I am struck by the sense of ancient pomp and glory in places like Egypt, Rome, Central America and civilizations we have no knowledge of being “folded up.”  It resonates with the sense I’ve gotten from the writings of Stephen Hawkings, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Albert Einstein and many others that, at the end of the day, everything material is stardust.  Particles, atoms, quarks, photons, bosuns and their impossibly tiny counterparts interchange at incomprehensible speed with other teensy bits of the universe.  A remarkable and baffling process.  Matter, anti-matter, ripples in the fabric of the universe.  Why does time pass  more quickly on Earth than further out from the planet?  On and on with things we have the barest glimmerings about.

It’s quite comforting, really, this feeling that I’m following new-to-me, ever-recycling, mysterious stardust.  My turn with different stuff, new mysteries, the effect of completely different stardust on me and my faithful dogs.

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