Today would have been our ten-year wedding anniversary. I was hoping that PQ could make it to this day in the flesh, but it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, I had him longer than we thought possible. It was a lovely day and I’ve tried to share it with him. I talk to him every day to let him know how things are going. I find myself wanting to show him how beautiful a sunset is, or how something I planted last year is thriving, and then it occurs to me that people who have had a preview of the world beyond this one, remark that it is much grander than this one.
It has been a quiet autumn day with the amazing clarity of the Taos sky. Autumn is always a bit sad and nostalgic for me. I am definitely not a winter person although I’ve lived most of my life in snow country. As a child I enjoyed playing in the snow, but now it represents snow to shovel before I can drive anywhere and color of adobe splattered on vehicles all over town.
I’m writing this with front door and windows open, enjoying the sound of crickets and the flickering Cotton Wood leaves in a velvety breeze. I don’t look with anticipation for winter’s closed windows and doors. Nature was kind enough to extend summer longer than usual. However, she followed the calendar exactly with a sudden drop to cool nights beginning on the equinox.
I still have unfinished business around Standing Deer’s departure and am still feeling my way toward this new life. Already, I have a few new routines. I get up earlier in the morning, watch lots of Gaia TV and only occasionally watch YouTube videos and nature programs. I haven’t turned on the local news to find out how many new murders have occurred in Albuquerque, and don’t tune into political commentaries. I watch BBC World News and PBS News most days but find all TV news shallow. We used to watch that stuff together but that was because we could agree on most shows.
I’m gradually making a trail into a new life. I’ve taken on tasks that I was reluctant to take on while PQ was here. I don’t know why I let them intimidate me, but it feels good to rediscover my ability to solve problems around the house. I still haven’t dealt with some of the legal and financial issues that have loose ends but my mind is getting clearer.
As much as I miss PQ, I find that his absence has created a vacuum to fill with new possibilities. There are different ways to do many things that became routine. I'm beginning with small changes around the house and in the garden. I’ve become conscious of how fixed some of our habits were. I don’t regret them in any way. Our routines and habits were full of love and ritual. PQ preferred to drive the main road through town even when construction was making a mess of it. He saw the people he knew and loved to be seen by them. The grocery store and post office were social occasions. His son Jerrick told me he tears up whenever he sees a car like ours. I’ve learned to drive again with ease, and now I like to drive the back roads and avoid the state of construction that clogged traffic on the main road all year.
This has been a year of challenges in other ways as well. My longtime friend, Grandmother Jean is struggling with what the doctor’s say is terminal cancer that is now in her bones. She has loyal friends who are taking turns helping her. I have been spending every other afternoon from noon to five or six with her since she is bedridden. There are many complications practically and legally in her situation as well. This seems to be the theme of the year.
There is also a homeless cat that has decided that I am his rescuer. He has an upper respiratory infection, a tangled coat and a strange oblong object attached to his back. At first I thought it was a clump of hair but when I tried to cut into it, it was hard and white with the texture of some kind of plastic foam but with more density. He first appeared last winter, and I assumed he belonged to one of our new neighbors. At the time he didn’t have the upper respiratory infection and his face was beautiful, but I did notice the strange object on his back. I can only wonder what mystery he holds. I’ve been trying to get veterinary care for him from Taos Feral Feline Friends since I can’t afford veterinary expenses in my current situation. They arranged with a nearby veterinarian, and I managed to get him there for one shot. It wasn’t enough and I haven’t been able to fit him into their schedule since. Finally, I got tired of catching him, placing him in the cat carrier, driving him to the vet only to be turned away, because they were too busy and had no openings for several months. I am flummoxed about what to do now, so have put his problem aside while I deal with Grandmother Jean’s problem.
This entire summer has the theme of care-taking. A state of transition is another perspective on the current challenges. I’m grieving and at the same time feeling curious and hopeful about the future.