Every afternoon, I followed the scarred dirt road
rutted and dry, or else water-logged, thick with frogs,
an eighth of a mile from my front porch
past the houses of my neighbors
(and his house, the one for whom I left)
until the road turned right and became a trail.

I crossed the stream, water supply of the village,
where the trail began to climb and became La Culabra.
La Culabra: wilderness behind my house.

I memorized that trail like the ridges of my own dry heart
I have no photographs but memories
of greeting Justa, Marlon, y MarĂ­, breastfeeding her newborn as she climbed
The men with machetes, sometimes drunk.
Buenas tardes, I would sternly tell them, trying to glare them off from any ill intentions.
I love you, they would say back in English
Once I came across one in a fetal-position in the middle of the trail;
he was fast asleep.

The rising trail offered a topographical look at the village,
the Great Rubber Tree marking one of many forks.
My favorite wandering place in those mountains had a view like the Rockies
shale rock, the river below, miles of sky.
I would steal away there and cry, sing, pray, sit in silence
until the light was almost gone and it was time to stumble down the mountain in the twilight.

Well I have hiked four times this week, and I am grateful for the steep, quick paths; the wildflowers and vista rewards,
the familiar land of my birth.

But it is nothing like La Culabra.

And I miss La Venta, the earth, the students I dream of nightly, the warmth of a language and a body next to mine
and I grieve the separation and loss of this 23rd year.


growing up again

Not to be overly excited about a car, but this baby can haul my bike and kayak, is a manual, gets good fuel mileage, plus it's my favorite color. So long, seven years of Corolla driving. You were good to me.


cooking again [3 cheers for greens!]

-cilantro-lemon tilapia
-lettuce soup
-chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies
-kale chips
-steamed bok choy
-fruit smoothie with chard
and, coming soon, pinenut pesto Greek spinach veggie burgers.


desert song

This is my prayer in the desert
when all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship


getting older

The lilacs were still in bloom
a week ago when I came home
(Home? But I miss the familiarity of Spanish,
of brown skin, tight clothes, crowded streets,
and my village.)

And all the fields were green with the June wetness of spring
Nw the Solstice has passed, the days turning again
We breathed in the piney wooden air,
celebrated with a campfire of firs,
bottle of white wine.
It felt good to pee outside again. It felt right.

I know I'm going to be okay, eventually.

When I look at my feet, the earth is moving,
a thousand ants moving the earth,
other unknown insects going about their lives
now recognized in the throes of weeding
Strawberry rows and cedar wax-wings,
their bandit masks betraying their mission.

I saw a bear cub on Tuesday.
I thank G-d for the soil, for work with my hands,
for every small door that points to Hope.


[on looking for the bright side]

The happiest I've been feeling in this strange and surreal week is when I'm shaking my hips to Shakira in Zumba class. So, there's that.

But then there are also two good parents and five dear friends who are okay that I'm so sad these days, and need to hibernate. And even one farm to donate lots of effort and love to (and of course, be in the sun).

And heck, maybe I will just go get a Masters. Or move to Mexico. Or simply quit worrying about what the hell I'm doing and what the hell comes next.

So, you know, maybe crying secretly in your bed every night still means you're making it. Or you're going to.



Things I've Been Missing

-a certain man's packing skills a few days ago. and steadiness.
-the sun. the warmth. a tan.
-mi 27 queridos.
-la culabra. hiking everyday.
-mi besinos.

and wasn't missing

-white people
-English all the time
-the cold, cold, cold

and the strange

-ice available? refrigeration? no power outages?
-food everywhere
-indoor bathrooms. and showers.
-full length mirrors. mirrors everywhere.
-no ants attacking my food, legs, house. or flies. or beetles, mosquitos, tarantulas.
-still the automatic spider-check in my shoes.
-the size of everything. food portions. houses. cars.
-driving again.


'So we glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame.'


the good, the bad, & the ugly

Sometimes I wonder if all your hands pour out
is either a gift, or a tax.
Not that your blessings are negated by curses,
but that the richer wine has a stain of bitterness
its fermentation process more costly.

I am not Job, my G-d,
but I feel acutely the loss of what your hands have taken,
the vacancies left by the demands you exact.

And though my face and skin may tell lies of my youth
the truth is, my heart is a skeleton,
and I have aged before my years.

Now, exposed as in a desert,
unprotected by any sheltering rock,
G-d, audacious G-d, you dare to ask
for this last thing that is mine.

My foundation and attachment and direction for next year
My 27 people becoming people.

And maybe you ask in trick, like Abraham and Izaak,
pero no hay importa, because either way
to follow you, the answer must only be yes.
You and your camino propio
painting the differences between peace and happiness,
between want and desire.

And I know there is only one choice
Only one way to the Peace and the Truth and the Life
so in scorn, in shame, in misunderstanding and in judgment,
in action that appears ugly, or defeatist, or whatever else
in sadness and in longing and in the nakedness left by loss:
I choose you.
I choose you.

And I say I don't understand,
but I will praise you,
though sadness may remain a thousand days more
I will praise you for you have saved me and will save me from the pit.

Only don't leave me alone, broken and barren and old at 23.
Don't leave me unprotected, shelterless in the storm.
Don't leave me.