Hello, and happy Friday! It’s our 27th wedding anniversary today! We are twenty-seven years better together, to be sure, though both of us forgot until I was glancing at the calendar and saw the date. So funny!
The memorial rose bush my mom gave me for Grandma Tess is positively covered in blooms to celebrate!
We had a wonderfully heavy rain earlier this week, complete with the rumble of thunder and flashes of lightning. The same storm brought snow to Pike’s Peak, which always makes me smile.
A few of this week’s eats. I brined and smoked chicken wings, made a green olive and orange gremolata to top more chicken, and did a Thai-ish salad of mushrooms, pork, peppers, green onion and garlic. Oh, and lots of ginger. Lots. Steamy!
Grandpa Herbie’s favorite Indian Paintbrush is popping up all over. Did you know it is a parasitic plant? Fascinating.
James Marshall was born a fox. Red-haired and a little wild in the eyes. His Momma’s clever fox, handsome fox. His Pop’s too. His big sister’s best little kit.
Yelp. Yelp. Yelp.
Later, James Marshall became a firefly, gazing out the window at the magical language of his kin. For though he was bright enough to light the Ozarks and for Grandpa Nicolaus to read by, his wings were too small to fly.
One day James Marshall lost his wings and became a boy. A giddy big brother of a boy, curious and ever so fast to smile. But his body hurt and would not let him out of bed. Not to jump with his Momma, swing with his Pops, romp with his fox family, or flit among the fireflies.
and Pops took him to the doctor. A long ride in the car. There he
became the boy under the lights, warm hands and cold hands. Big
voices and small voices. Machines & medicine. Talking fast and
slow. So many words.
Always his Momma. To her, he was still her handsome fox. Always his Pops, who helped him touch the stars. And brother and sister and Grandpa Nicolaus, too.
nothing could make him well. Not the doctors, not the medicines and
machines. Not his Momma, nor his Pops. Not the foxes, nor the
fireflies. He could not yelp. He could not blink.
He got so tired, and his wee body could do no more. And then the sky exploded, and James Marshall, the fox, the firefly, the boy, became the 4th of July.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
James Marshall was my great uncle, born October 22, 1918. He died on the 4th of July 1921 of a giant cell sarcoma of the right kidney.
Since learning about him in my ancestral research, we’ve spent much time together, both on this plane and in dreamtime. This story is as much his as it is mine. I know he likes it, and I hope you do, too.
A new coat for Juniper, in one of my favorite colors (teal!) and with a useless and utterly adorable faux fur hood. I feel sort of lame buying her such things, but our girl’s genetics did not prepare her for our weather, and so I must or watch her shiver.
A couple of Greg’s favorite eats: red chile and chocolate cake! I also tried my hand at pupusas because 1. I never had, and 2. They are filled with cheese. A duh if ever there was. I also like them because they are far easier than homemade corn tortillas. I know my way around the kitchen, but dang, do I have a difficult time keeping them from sticking.
I made his favorites, not just because I love him, which would be enough, but also because my best love had hernia surgery last week. He deserved extra special treatment!
It was a nice role reversal, with me the one waiting and hoping and uttering every little prayer the surgery would be as uncomplicated as the doctor had foreseen. Thankfully, it was.
He was and remains a good patient, utterly silly while the drugs wore off, rejoicing in the complex flavors of ginger ale and saltines (the best ever), wielding them like precious metals, giggling (and grimacing – ouch my tummy hurts!) and making me do the same. It only took a few days before he could walk at his normal pace on our Juniper jaunts, but he’s still got a way to go in terms of pain. Please think good thoughts for him.
Makings for a rhubarb apple crisp on our regularly scheduled dessert day (Sunday). As I peeled the apple in one long go, I thought of how I marveled at adults who could do the same when I was a child, how it seemed so impossible to keep the peeler going, going, going. How lovely it is to learn and grow and mature, the impossible made simple and everyday. Life is a wonder…
As my 49th year saunters ever closer, and mere days after Greg and I celebrated a wild and wonderful 29th (!) year since our first date, much thought has been bubbling. On who I am, this western place that is home, and our couplehood.
I feel more and more centered, in body and spirit, than ever. More honest, stringent, and strident. My intolerance weeding more and more people from my life. I am shucking those who are irresponsible and unkind, who place demands of adults on children too young for the burden, those blinded by an embittered victimhood and confusing love with control (If you loved me you would…). My desire for balanced relationships nudged ever more to the fore.
I have no social media link: no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter. I am here on this old fashioned blog form, and likely mostly alone. I honestly have no idea. It brings the hubster and I great joy to read and reminisce, and that is the best I could ask for, really and truly.
Before quitting Facebook last summer, I experienced a general sense of unease. Some of it was my use as a pawn in the Zuckerberg machine, and some political, too, but I also had this impression of being among people speaking a language I did not know. Groundless. It’s strange, too, because, I’d been in that space for nearly a decade and had enjoyed it enormously at times.
Then the shift came, when I realized that relationships have a season in life. Change and death are as natural as growth, without an ounce of malice or regret. Time and distance separated me from individuals I’d known or never truly connected with in the first place. Yet this world opened up to me, and I sent and accepted requests for friendships that were out of season. There were exceptions, of course, but relatively few, and I have kept in contact with the majority of those people. It feels right.
And to this place – Southern Colorado and New Mexico, where my heart shall be forever rooted. My eyes gaze upon it, joy-filled and centered. The land of ancestors and new dreams. The scent of sage and pine. And that big, blue sky.
I suppose it is no surprise that we celebrated our 29th year in this very space, first to Las Vegas, of course. But then, forging a new path, on our way to Santa Fe, between Mora and Espanola, part of which is the famous High Road to Taos.
The above constitutes the highlights from Las Vegas to Mora. The St. Vrain Mill, which would be lovely restored, and our hike above the Fish Hatchery, with glorious views of the entire Mora Valley. Though the photo of Juniper and I doesn’t show it, the wind was a wild whipping force, and frigid, too.
Mora, and the majority of the High Road, for that matter, is known for wool and world famous weaving, with some families the seventh or eighth generation practicing the craft. We did not miss out, stopping at the Mora Valley Spinning Mill. They have locally processed yarn and weavings and every manner of art and craft, staffed by kind and efficient staff. It’s worth the trip!
As is the beauty of grace, at the moment our hunger verged on unbearable, we rounded the bend in Penasco, the sweet murals and Sugar Nymphs Bistro awaiting. The wood stove was roaring, the coffee was hot, and the food as delicious and enchanting as New Mexico itself.