The first time I was blasted open by wilderness was when I drove through the northern state of Baja California. The winding two-lane highway with no shoulder, no evidence of humankind anywhere except the road, only open undulating desert and scrub brush in every direction. No dwellings, no telephone poles, no water until the cats and I rounded a bend and saw the Sea of Cortez.
I dream Julia Roberts and I
on a rooftop
She has a cut lip
and hair pulled back into a small messy knot
There is city around us
maybe near the sea
and we visit there more than once
gaze across the rooftops at dusk
She has trauma, too, something to do
with a dream she wanted to fund
in Syria or Ruanda
and crazed pushback on social media
And somehow we are close
comforted by each other
Our lives both hard just now
and being met
like old friends
like no secrets
like no hiding at all.
These days I can still become unglued in an instant, leap from grateful and open, watching a roadrunner beside the creek path, to cursing people quietly behind my mask. In our humid days, our brutal heat, my sweat is salty on my lips, on the brush of the back of my hand. I move from minutia, from frustration with the online Ralph’s order, the jarring conversation about hearing aids—I move from this weighted trivia into outerspace, long moments lying on my back in chavasana, tears pooling in my ears, my body both wedded to the earth and light, as if I might float off, join the crescent moon in the daylight sky, healing in the depths of me in tiny, magic, unseen moments.
[Editor’s note: This piece came from three drawn words in our spontaneous writing session today: salty, outerspace, unglued.]
Young corn plants growing, bright green shoots unfolding into leaves that bend and curve, little beings in the moist dirt. I don’t think I’ve ever met a happier plant than corn plants. But maybe in part it is the way they grow together that makes this true, that they sprout up in kinship with the other corn plants around them. Maybe they are happy because they are in community. Today they make me think of the brown pelicans gathered on the broad, sandy beach outside Todos Santos in Baja California Sur. They stood upright, too, in clusters, alert, their kind eyes watching me, old souls. Maybe corn folk are old souls, too.
on a bench downtown
the hummingbird pokes
orange tecoma blossoms
rubs his beak against the bark
the town quiet
the air clean
the mountains close
and well loved
I savor this respite
after the earlier frenzy
and ready myself for
my Amtrak bus.
Downtown, early morning, I see my bus coming. Just before it gets to me a cement truck blocks the bus stop. All at once, my worst fear flashes, not getting to the retreat in time. But here I am, late at night, a good, good day behind us. Bone deep tired. But oh so glad.
[22 of 30 in November, re-posted from today’s tweet @tryingmywings]
I gesture wildly so my mother can spot me, pressed up against the upstairs window of the train. We throw kisses, wave like little kids, not stopping until the train pulls away. After, a pool of sadness sits in me, and the image of her small waving form on the platform.
[13 of 30 in November, re-posted from today’s tweet @tryingmywings]