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Lady Minerva and Sharkskin Mom…

Posted by on Sep 20, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

To Meet Mother Love… (March 16, 2018)

…When I took Marilyn to meet my mother in Santa Fe I’d forgotten about Marian’s jealousy. For 75 years she was desirable and witty and made people feel good when she was around. Rocking as she walked with a cane tamed her some but her laughter was still strong. And her wicked side. So here’s Marilyn the singing nun and professional nurse, and lover of children, meeting Betty Davis in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, with a drink in one hand and a sword cane in the other, a gift I’d gotten her at the Rastro in Madrid in 1960 as a wall ornament. There was a Sevilla sword hidden inside a hickory wood cane with a carved deer antler handle with a release button. Since her hip operation, one of the first in Santa Fe when St. Vincent’s was on Palace Avenue, she used it for dress-up to toddle around with.

We walked into mother and Betty’s adobe on Calle Paula out by Quail Run at five, and by 5:30 Marian is saying how very much Marilyn looks Black Irish, and how all the servants at the family mansion in Oswego when she was a child looked a lot like her, the cooks and butler and groundskeepers and chambermaids. Marilyn might not know what Black Irish means but she sure can’t miss the twist of the words. Mother prattles on about how Marilyn’s forebears had no doubt boated over during the Potato Famine, and how if her family had only known they might have had the coachman meet them at the docks and offer them jobs.

Marilyn excuses herself and goes out on the porch where I find her weeping. I’ve just told Marian to knock it off or we’re leaving, and she does her bewildered innocence look saying all she‘s doing is trying to make my Black Irish friend feel welcome and at home. I say she may as well have drawn the sword and run her through. Mother laughs gaily and toys with the flower on the bone handle shank of the cane that unlatches the blade to be drawn. She looks up at me coyly.

A few years later Marilyn and I are driving west to our home in San Diego from a visit to Minnesota and she suggests going by to see Marian and Betty. I think her admiration of their turning a local 12 page pamphlet into a five color international glossy magazine overrode her memory or good sense, or maybe she was curious as to whether she’d only caught Marian on a bad day.

It is late summer where in the afternoon a storm usually rolls in from the Pecos Wilderness over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Half the sky to the north and west is turquoise blue and the other stacked with blue-black thunderheads. When we reach the plaza a mortar barrage of lightning hit setting off burglar alarms. Indian vendors under the Governor’s Palace portal throw rugs and themselves over their stuff as straight line winds channel down Palace Avenue into the plaza streets kiting umbrellas, hats, souls, paintings and folding tables.

We’d hear the crackle of the lightning and feel the shock, big hail side-winding in and more burglar alarms coming on; and now the big siren from the fire department just behind us comes on. I’d lived in Santa Fe since 1944 and never seen anything like it.

It is over in five minutes, the sideways hail turning into a hard rain, then a downpour where we can’t see beyond the hood of the car. When it clears the streets are rivers, so we hang a right onto what is now the Palace Acequia and boat toward Albuquerque. Ten miles out of town at La Bajada the sun is out, the sky turquoise blue and the air crisp and warm; Marilyn’s been saved.

The next year we returned with my little son Zachary to spend a day. The relationship Marilyn had with my children was a part of life neither ladies’d had, my mother and Betty’s mothers crisp and cold and proper dames embarrassed by being mothers.

This time Marian isn’t tracking too well, so when she opens the front door and sees Zach she gasps, bends over before him with arms open, ‘Oh, my Johnnie, my Johnnie, they found you, they found you, it’s your mommy, I’m your mommy!!”

On the porch where the piñon firewood was stacked, where Marilyn had wept that first night from mighty hurt, my mother says to her in tears and breaking voice, ‘Thank you, Marilyn, oh thank you. I wish you’d been my mother. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, please forgive me.’ They hug and cry.

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Santa Clara Peak

Posted by on Sep 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

One time I’d found many decks of Engelmann spruce abandoned by the logging company that’d harvested Clara Peak on Federal land 30 years before. Maybe 300 limbed trees in those decks.
The road they’d cut in was trenched diagonally every 50 feet when they left so there was no way for a truck to get in and steal their trees. But they never went back for them. I went to the Ranger Station near Española on a hunch that I’d get a permit to haul them out. It was hard to get cutting permits of any kind on Clara because the Forest Service had messed with the pooch when they let that Colorado outfit clear-cut land that wasn’t included in the bid as well as what was. And they hadn’t enforced cleanup guidelines so the land looked butchered. In the midst of virgin forest was this scar made even worse when an armed fighter bomber from Kirkland AFB crashed into it in a fog at 500 miles an hour.

So the rangers were touchy about this area, reluctant to even sell permits for family cutting or small operators like me. But on a miraculous day in July the chief ranger in Española sold me a permit for all the abandoned decks in that area, saying they were a fire hazard. We adzed the twenty-five dollars the permit cost into fifteen thousand dollars worth of cured lumber, corbels, porch posts and vigas.

We were driving the loaded logging truck onto the main dirt road down the mountain one day and saw two Forest Service trucks parked there at the confluence of the bulldozed-in track and the main mountain road, and four men in uniform waiting for us. I’d dealt with some of them over permits, when they’d get on the radio to HQ, taking their time since this was what they were paid for, catching thieves.
Now they had me. Stealing Federal property. They were happy men. I handed them the permit signed by their boss and they passed it around a few times hoping for a more correct interpretation than the one it appeared to convey.

There was only one way to be absolutely sure that this permit was valid, and that was a radio call, but none of them volunteered. The Chief had a reputation.
They gave me and the crew the Go. God, I felt good!! Five years of dealing with them wherever they found me cutting or camping, and now here’s the hidden Motherlode disappearing before their eyes!! They were gonna have to give bad news to the cuates they’d promised them to.

Neil Lane worked with me time to time. We’d once been in the display ads department of The New Mexican in Santa Fe. Now here we were at the edge of this logging devastation on Clara when we saw two cloud fronts heading at one another fast at what looked like the same level. We couldn’t figure how two storm fronts could do this. But it happened and they met in soft collision a few thousand feet above us. There was absolute silence, the background noise of the woods gone, and we saw a bunch of birds of all callings caught in an invisible wind, crows and meadow larks, hawks and sparrows and finches carried in a horizontal zigzagging knot speeding along in utter silence.

And now we saw those clouds that’d collided were falling onto us, not lowering, I mean falling. It was zero visibility. From the time the clouds met to our seeing the pipeline of birds tumbling past to standing here in a sudden fog only a minute had passed.
Then the fog began to lift as quickly as it had settled, pools of it in hollows nearby lifting away from the land as tufts trailing along after mom. As we watched the mother cloud return to the sky a dead spruce isolated in the clear-cut west of us simply separated from the land and silently shot up a hundred feet or so along with the debris of its second death, then before reaching its zenith a loud boom blasted a hit of air that staggered us. The rocket tree dropped back to the ground as vertical as it had risen and broke into pieces.
When we told Bob Gibbons about this at Kelly’s Bar in Santa Fe that night he told of staying in a ranger cabin on that mountain with his crew and a storm hitting with such power that when they went out in the morning the old road into the cabin was covered with blow-down and a new one opened by the tornado lifting out a swath of spruce.

Bob really got me started in the viga business when he sold me his logging equipment on layaway when he went into the adobe home-building business with his mother and a friend in the late Seventies. Rational Alternatives built traditional adobe casas with vigas and corbels and coyote fences on four acre lots out toward Lamy and Galisteo. They named their development El Dorado, after the city of gold the early Spanish Conquistadores sought.
His wood business had started years before when he won the contract for clearing railroad ties off an ancient narrow gauge line. He said he lifted and loaded the few thousand ties by himself. Later he felled trees for his one-man sawmill at Apache Canyon where he lived. This gave him some capital to throw in with his mother and partner. Without him I’d’ve stayed a firewood chopper. But that would’ve been alright too. I had no ambition, I fielded what came my way, is all…

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Poem For Marilyn

Posted by on Sep 10, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

Rock Lake Poem for Marilyn

I can see more through your eyes
Speak clearly with your lips
Your heart moves my blood

If I was a farmer I’d plow my field
With the blade of you
Water the furrows of me from the spring of
Your joy and rain of your tears
I’d harvest with your scything laughter
And sell the crop for no more than your smile.

In the winter you are my warmth and the
Snowflake in my open hand

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Glimpses of All That Is

Posted by on Sep 10, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

Magnetics, buzzards, owl at alter, key on string of kite

If you tied a key to a kite string and played it into a tribe of magnetics, you wouldn’t get shocked or even a spark, because these were resonances stripped of polarity, they were fields of individual eminences grazing their way across the Nebraska prairie.
They were slivers of earth’s magnetic field chipped away like misty sherds of obsidian in making a tool. Maybe these fragments of earth’s mind had lost the core identity to guide them back to where they came from.

They quarried into intelligences of the life they drifted by, absorbing copies to grid and examine as they moved on. If one swept through you there’d be this déjà vu playing out on the screen of you, as you shifted into becoming people and animals whose awarenesses and memories the magnetics had absorbed, in search of the mother they’d been sheared from.

They took on vestiges of identities they’d never known. They’d been part of a forever living hug embracing the earth they’d splintered away from, and become collections of everything they touched here below.
As they moved through you, your identity was augmented by everything they’d drawn into themselves, so you– as the identity you were most comfortable being– disappeared into the crowd of other identities and memories lifted into themselves.

So for a time the person you thought you were was replaced by an indiscriminate everything. The first time this happened you didn’t know what was happening, but when you sensed or saw them afterward, as vertical shadows drifting your way still looking for their mother, you ran for all you were worth.
You didn’t like not being you, and you especially didn’t like being a two dimensional coyote or beetle, or breeze or cactus memory, and part of their remembered lives. You loved you in here-and-now 3D, this single scrawny, ragged, hairy human with a name that could be written down and read. You didn’t want to be a generic shading of a form of life you didn’t identify with, having impulses and torment that came with being another species, or geological formation, or pool of water. It might be an instant in your time, but during that instant you were living others’ lives from birth onward, from insemination onward, from run-off onward, to that instant of a magnetic touching you, then moving on:

As a pool you were not just hydrogen and oxygen, you were also specific rain drops from specific rainstorms and its run-off, you were fish or bird urine, misted plant breath in a reality that wasn’t aware of anything beyond its shores, yet with everything in it aware of itself and its own beauty and destiny. You would never pee in a pool again anywhere, or see it as disconnected from you as before: It was now at least a distant cousin.

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The Potter

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

The People are the body of Christ.

The clay finds its potter. The potter creates its heroes and villains, its assassins and
saviors, epochs and epics, catastrophes, revolutions and redemptions through players
called into being by the people’s moods and needs. These selected ones may think they
lead, influence and form the people, but their charter comes from a unified
consciousness. Perfection looking for its genesis.

There is One, a core consciousness that is shared by everyone and
everything. No ‘part’ is any more relevant or important than another.

The target finds its arrow, the arrow finds its bow, the bow its archer, the archer his
cause, the cause its king, the king his people, the People itself.

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Building You, Inc.

Posted by on Sep 6, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

There’s chapter one, you get born into life, you suckle up fitting in, after-all you are pure spirit in a human body, i.e. you are everything with your tab on it. You drag in everything that interests you to be the building blocks of you.

Then when that’s done and you’ve taken on everything that catches your interest this time around, you amalgamate, you arrange stuff into the charisma that is to become the mature you; and you turn on the key to the ignition of life, or to you in this life, or of life with you rearranging it to your determination as you grow, as you mature, as you become the idea you had before in/flesh, in time, in life and death-dom.

Now chapter two, you bear yourself into life, you integrate or refuse to at some level, still feeling out who you are and what life wants from you, and what you hope to get back in return.

You have everything God offers, and you arrange this into your personal drama, including refusing to believe there is anything more than yourself. This is your life, a precious gift given you by the Creator…but you are at the controls.

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Church of Life

Posted by on Aug 19, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

Church of Life

If I created a church it’d have no roof or walls or seats, the service’d be an hour or two of looking around, and the hymns the sounds of children playing or dogs barking far off in the night, just for the pleasure of it.

The sermon might be laughter or birdsong, the Confessional a babbling brook, and the Collection plate someone’s cry of delight.

The church’d be open all the time and twice that on Christmas and Easter

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