The Moving Blogs
When needing away time from the steady sorting and selling of possessions that dominates my life for the time being, I seek reassurance that the world spins, madly, joyously or ponderously depending on your frame of mind. That the sun shines through clouds that have been covering the skies here, more often than not, for several weeks. Seldom giving more than spits of moisture to this arid spot on the planet.
Emerging leaves hang limp as wilted flowers on some trees. One day of gentle rain does not a season make.
My old friends, trees, stand ready to suggest ways of defining one’s life in a material world other than by the steady procession of chairs, cupboards, antique tools, carving benches and breadboxes hand painted in the 1930s.
Not that part of this selling and sorting hasn’t been fun. Some neat and nice people have drifted through here, stuffing little cars and SUVs with such items as my dear old wood carver’s bench, shelving, a pine cupboard, all manner of artist stuff, blocks of good carving wood, my dad’s old oak dolly, the odd chair and more.
Even the bartering has been amusing. One guy tried hard to get me to accept big, messy pieces of sound equipment in return for two board feet of curly maple. Ha, what does downscaling me need with a monster like that, with its wires hanging out all over the place? Eventually I gifted him with the maple in return for his good efforts. He had come all the way down here, on his last drops of gas, to collect something the previous day’s amusing barterer had forgotten to take with him. After paying for it and all.
We appear to function in a perpetual state of bemusement around here.
These New Mexican trees are friendlier to me now that word has come through that my daughter, a friend and I were not chosen to rent the wonderful house in Santa Clara that has orange trees and beautiful flowering things in its yard. So the search goes on in the Silicon Valley by my daughter and her colleague at work, who would share our living space. Which is to say, they spend their lunch hours driving about, checking on leads, searching for a place to share, while I am feverishly downscaling the number of things I can take from my house to fit into my portion of said living space.
A day or two ago the heavily pruned apple tree in the back yard showed off glowing green leaves against the southern sun, while overhead a fruitless mulberry offered bright tassels. Which, I noted dolefully, were firing off volleys of the pollen that so plugs up my nose with allergies every spring.
I was, nevertheless, pleased enough to be away from things long left to grow musty in closets indoors that I grinned up at the pollen cannons, marveling that I had never before observed the spouts of fine dust being ejected somehow from one tassel after another. Remarkable! How does the tree do that?
And, in case you didn’t know, fruitless mulberries are only too capable of reproducing themselves even without those red-purple berries on real mulberry trees that stain everything they touch. So I think they’re scarcely an improvement on the original.
Having sold my faithful Ford truck I am without means of transportation other than my wheelchair for the time being. Farewell trips to the Very Large Array (featured in Carl Sagan’s Contact), Chaco Canyon, the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, Indian reservations where there are social events going on, even the Gran Quivera ruins nearby are out of the question. But even with the Ranger in the garage they were inaccessible, so what’s to fuss about?
Thus my farewell tour of the state that’s been home for 24 years altogether involves pausing here and there as I do my errands.
Today I stopped to contemplate Belén’s cheerful little community garden in its spring form. In between my visits troops of people had swept in, cleared away the dead stalks of last year’s growth and begun preparing soil in raised planters for a new year of cosmos, tomatoes, zinnias and squashes. Rows of giant sunflowers go around the fences, mostly. It is fun to see that they’ve worked in a few native globemallows, too. With their bright orange flowers on tall stalks those featured in the wildflower “meadow” in my previous big yard. Even more exciting were the long horned beetles they attracted.
A few blocks away at the public library the first little red poppy of the year was poking its perfectly round, fire engine red head up from amongst creeping junipers lining the sidewalk.
A long-boarded up building has been transformed into offices where children experiencing difficulties in public school go for various support services. Even decaying little old cities in the desert, far from anywhere important, can renew themselves.
It’s soothing to my grasshopper mind these days to find the human world as well as nature going on doing what it generally does, quite unaffected by what little folk like me think of as galumphing great changes ahead of us.
And I think of a few lines from the late Native American activist John Trudell’s poem, The Moremes:
There’s me, there’s the other me
There’s another me, and then
There are the moremes
We’ve all got a domino to play so
We’ve been trying to work it out
We don’t know how your life turned
Or what all that means
But me and the mes
We’ve already seen
What we couldn’t do
This is what I’m doing these days, awaiting the closing of my house. After that, scheduled for May 13, I can fund the wheelchair van I’m purchasing from a place in Georgia that specializes in such conversions. It will be a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan with about 86,000 miles on it. After it arrives — and I learn how to use the various adaptations! — we will pack a truck with furniture and boxes, get Elf and Opus into their travel crates and head out down the highways.
Over the mountains, across the salt flats — such as they are these days — and into busy, empty, crowded, dry, wet, green, golden, urban, agricultural, tech hub, beach-y, desert-y, forested by giants, mountainous, multi cultural, liberal, conservative California. The laid back hippie descendants, the hard headed business people, the gentle gurus, the Hollywood types, the migrant workers, the tree huggers, the almost exterminated Indian tribes clawing their way back from oblivion into public acceptance, the acquifer drainers, Big Ag, innovative small farmers, the youthful tech entrepreneurs with laser focus. Such crazy contradictions as make up the Golden State.
Can hardly wait. Especially to find out exactly where we are going to be living!