Sunday, May 25, 2014


I feel strangely bereft and sad. There is a fire in Oak Creek Canyon the beloved place we delight in viewing each time we descend that winding road from Flagstaff to Sedona on our way to Cottonwood. It is never going to be the same. It has been our own happy road to Shangri-La. The things stored in the past that I hoped would someday be used in the future are burning up all around us, blowing away, as softly as white ash.  Yesterday, on the way home from the post office, I had an attack of nostalgia for the 80’s and 90’s. It was a “you can never go home,” feeling. Taos was then so alive with spirit, creativity and the anticipation of even greater things.

“For everything there is a season,” and we are on the edge of a seasonal change. For now, the spirit of life seems to be retreating. The earth itself is changing perceptibly. The beautiful green places are going brown while the oceans come ashore. After years of warnings, climate changes are now approaching the front door, and fire, water, or air may overtake your dream home, even the earth may buck us off like a wild horse. Thank God or Mother Nature for each mercy. Taos is finally getting some rain after a very dry winter.

Shadow loves rainwater, and it is finally raining in Taos!
 I used to wonder how people such as my English grandfather felt when they came to the American West in their youth knowing they would probably never see their homeland again. My dad told me that his mother once asked her husband if he would like to visit England or more specifically Lincolnshire again before he died and he said, “I wouldn’t dare because I don’t know if I could ever leave again.” Of course, the changes one makes in one’s 20’s don’t have an exit clause. The possibility of undoing a major decision is always beyond the horizon in an inconceivable future.

These thoughts may be encroaching because PQ and I are wedged in place right now. I’m still hoping that this is a short-term circumstance but options keep wafting away. I suspect this yearning for a previous time comes from an interrupted life of unfulfilled hopes. It seems all wrong, the way the death of a young person seems wrong. It may be just a personal mood, but it sure seems that Taos has left on vacation and we feel deserted. The old pizazz just isn’t there anymore, although such a strong spirit never completely disappears. Getting away feels like a needed chance to gain perspective and regroup.

Although the spirit of Taos seems to be taking a negative turn, there was always a fierce aspect. Domestic violence, drug trafficking, gang murders, criminal politicians and general surliness are not a new development. However, the creative power, closeness to earth and the inspiring interaction of many kinds of people who follow their creative passion are waning. Then, perhaps other Taosenos are also staying home as we are waiting for something to change.  Change can’t be forced; Taos has never allowed willful interference and only a humble ear laid close to the sacred earth can detect approaching change.

 Perhaps I’m jaded. The things that were new exciting and liberating then are ho hum now. Maybe it’s not the 80’s and 90’s that I miss but the intellectually and emotionally adventurous person I was then. Probably it’s some of both. However, so much of life back then was flat out traumatic and I was much less secure about who I am.  Perhaps it’s the wish that the things I anticipated back then would  be fulfilled by now and that hope has gone south. In that case, being a bit nonplussed and disoriented would be natural. Is it possible this only an intermission in the play while God is changing the set for the next act? I hope this is the case. Meanwhile, the garage is full of stuff from our time in Arizona waiting for another chance.  In case that never happens, I’m exploring ways to deal with now from a new perspective, now is all I have.

There is nothing wrong with being stuck in Taos except that PQ does better at the lower altitude of Cottonwood, and we are merely treading air. In the meantime, there is a lot to do around the house, although attempting to save money seems doomed.  Whenever our income promises to improve, an unexpected expense pops up or a family member or friend needs help over a rough spot because they live here too. I fear that we may never go back to finish what began a few years ago in Arizona but that may not be the point. Life streams forward over the banks of expectation and we don’t control where it flows. Nature sometimes insists that we take the challenging road home.

We prayed, for abundance, creative stimulation, and progress on the spiritual path, but change can be a bitch with a mind of its own. Sometimes it doesn’t come the way we imagined.  Actually, I’ve never known it to come the way I imagined which is probably a good thing.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Finally, it seems like spring! Coffee on the patio (small sandstone space behind the house) while soaking in sunshine. The Starlings that usually nest in our bathroom air vent didn’t stay after a brief visit in March but another couple has moved in, possibly one of the kids from last season and its mate. Starlings have an incredible vocabulary and PQ is trying to learn it. He copies their chirps, throaty trills, clicks and various other sounds that I won’t strain to describe. They answer back and now and then stop in silence for a while as if trying to figure out what this odd bird is trying to say.

Shadow loves it. The door is finally open and she can come and go as she pleases. She’s been sampling her entire territory both on the ground and above on our skeleton porch that lacks a roof. It’s better suited to cats than to people. Although It looks good it's no help in the rain.

This winter seemed interminable. Wind and drought since January, it probably wasn’t worse than most, but the colors were only shades of gray. Now we have the Reservation house rented and green is gradually breaking through the gloom. 

Human life moves through time by creating meaning from mysteries but even the need for meaning is a mystery and each life story is akin to mapping the territory of a new continent or discovering a new planet. Naming it and measuring it by a system we all agree on is comforting and assures us that we are and it is and all is in order. We now belong in the universe to a particular planet, place, species and culture. A sense of being seems to rely on the belief of knowing something. Yet do we really know anything with certainty, except that we desire to know. Desire spawns emotion and it seems that it is emotion that truly directs our lives. I find it very odd that we so often leave emotion out of our reality equation.  We value and measure intellect and attempt to develop it with education while leaving emotional development to chance. Perhaps emotion is like the air we breathe, invisible but the necessary engine of everything else. It is emotion that drives us.

Sometimes, on a cool night, just after crawling under the covers I indulge in a comforting fantasy. Usually this happens when the crickets are chirping and I can clearly see the stars through an open window. It may be in either winter or summer, but it is my substitute for counting sheep when it takes a while to get sleepy. I am in the opening of a large cave facing east, curled up in either a bear or bison skin; I’m not sure which it is but it is satisfying to wrap up in the thick brown fur. I feel absolutely at home, comfortable and at peace.  There are usually other people in this cave also though I don’t think about who they are, or perhaps they change depending on the particular night, but I’m by myself in the furry robe and serene.

After my night in the brown fur robe, I follow the fantasy to morning where I can see a vast plain interrupted only by islands of shrubbery and trees. It may be in Paleolithic Europe, Mid Asia or right here along the Rockies. There are herds of bison, stocky dun colored horses, mammoth and various other extinct Paleolithic creatures. The remarkable thing about this vision is that it appears as a sharper high definition holographic and tactile image than say a memory from 20 years ago. Somehow, I can jump 20,000 years as if it was a few days ago while the images of early childhood and even adolescence have gone fuzzy.

Curiously, or possibly because of that 20,000-year gap, this vision also brings up reflections on the Atlantis story. I don’t have a fixed belief about the saga of Atlantis. Perhaps it has a basis in real prehistory or perhaps it is purely mythic. What I really question is whether it’s value as a story is about what once happened to a civilization that was out of balance with too much technical knowledge, pride and greed and too little emotional balance and spiritual wisdom or if it is actually a warning premonition of our future. Either way, it is a story of nature violently intervening to bring back the balance.  

It’s possible that the fate of Atlantis is an impetus behind my pre-historic fantasy, the urge to erase 20,000 years of cacophony and start over with a simple pentatonic scale. Yes, I’m aware that humans 20,000 years ago probably already had plenty of corrupt practices, but I suspect that karma was much quicker on a small tribal scale with little padding between a tribe and its earthly support system. There is no way to return to a beginning we can’t know for sure but it may be possible to follow the twists and turns of our journey back to their source.

Could there be a suppressed death wish or blinding denial beneath our collective indifference around the absurdity of the profit fetish that threatens to destroy our world and us with it? This disembodied cash crazed mentality charges toward destruction like the downhill surge of an 18-wheeler with failed brakes mowing down everything in its path. But, maybe we don’t know how to stop this lumbering monster and its descending fury and are more or less passively awaiting the crash at the bottom. There is a beginning, middle and end to everything within time but the universe transcends time and perhaps a few will begin again at some other point of the timeless circle, survivors of an experiment that failed.
We are wanderers; star children seeded from father sky.  That can be a metaphoric image, if you like, or quite literal if you are under the influence of an indigenous memory of our beginning. Now we are building ships to take us back into space. Is it future thinking or nostalgia by ungrateful adoptees with the intention of abandoning our poor Mother Earth after draining off her life force? 

I believe my nostalgic Neolithic cave fantasy arises from the desire to recall the essence of being human, to wipe away the last 20,000 years of experiences and misadventures, and attempt to understand better, how we came to be here at this now.    

The wind just came up blowing clouds between us and the sun. A reminder that we aren't in the warm embrace of summer just yet and we have one more utility bill from the rez house between now and a clear road ahead. This is tolerable, its a relief to be on the good side of gravity.