blog post #6

Today we are called, compelled

to a higher order

there is no leader

as our not electedbythemajorityofthepeople president

does not share this call

and so we are all leaders


to take a knee

to lift fist to sky

to march with masks on

or stand still under the sun

for justice

as we are broken open

by another death

of another black being on this earth

he cannot breathe

so we will breathe life into his memory

Blog post #5

Blog post #5 A Buscar Letra.pdf

Blog post # 5: A Buscar Letra 

Week 7 

Today Everett learned about roots of trees: how they stick out of the earth and jostle his stroller. How they lie above the ground and can be tripped over. How they travel from tree to river, seeking water. As he tries to pull one out of the ground, we explain the tree needs that so it can drink water. He says “root” a few times and moves on to the next discovery. 

I drive now about once a week – filled my car with gas in mid March and it’s barely gone down at all at the end of April. I do see traffic as I go to the pharmacy, where I pick up my scripts from my car. Even before this I was driving a lot less than when I worked. I tried to do less and put errands next to appts. near them. Alan drove one week and I the next. I took the train to Santa Fe and forgot how to merge onto the freeway. 

Now I’m wondering – are we also addicted to just driving? I feel good when I get in my car, put on my tunes, window down, wind in my hair… Do we feel like we’ve done something just because we went somewhere in our cars? I used to feel strange if I hadn’t “been anywhere” in my car for a day or two. Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, is envisioning a greener future after this pandemic – planning on giving incentives to people buying electric cars, etc. But could we all now take the lessons we’re learning – walking, bicycling, and keep those going? Will we get out of this less addicted? 

This morning Everett wants to go to his school to see if anyone is there. We oblige, and take the walk we used to do when it was open. His grandma says as we draw near: “See? there are no cars.” “Maybe they’re in the parking lot…” his tone is wistful, hopeful. We take him in his stroller through the deserted parking areas and up to the front glass doors. He can see there’s no one inside. But something is satisfied in him. We walk on and I talk to Linda about a sadness I’m experiencing – then he says he’s sad. We question him but get no answer. We walk further, but he wants to go home. 

Week 8 

A Buscar Letra 

Called don Jesus, my gardener friend, who I haven’t seen in a couple of months now – usually at this time of year we’d be sitting outside weekly in my garden, talking about the news of Mexico and here, our lives… 

Now he and his wife are encerrados, in their little house a few miles from here. They take walks in the neighborhood; watch “too much TV, too much news.” If you watch too much, you get too scared, too down, we conclude. The first death has happened in Camargo, Chihuahua, near his town of Jimenez. 

I tell him I’m almost finished with my first edits on the book of interviews with elders he’s in. “Pues que bueno, que se cumple!” I hope it will be finished soon and I can put a book in his hands. 

I ask him what else he’s doing, “Bueno, a agarrar libros y buscar letra.”

Taking up books and looking for words. Sounds good to me. 


Singing to the Wind Blog post #4

Blog post 4.pdf

Supplement City: 

In the supermarket – decisions – would the zinc or the garlic help save you?

garlic: whole cloves or pearly gels? A doc friend swears by the latter.

raw honey: a bandmate tells me a bit in the nose will inhibit a virus from growing there 

turkey tail for immune support and tumor inhibition
reishi for longevity
cordyceps for strengthening lungs 

herbs and their tinctures – too many to list, but I am a believer i didn’t getting a cold or flu all year after getting three the year before I started taking them 

People are waiting to read my book, jut published, for a few days after it arrives at their houses in case some virus hitched a ride. I hear few comments at first and am anxious, then ones come to me via email or Facebook, or even reviews on Amazon. Big relief – for the most part people seem to see what I intended. There will probably be lousy ones at some point, but at least I am understood by my friends. It’s funny – I can’t go out in the world and visit those I care about, but my book can! 

My dear Ari’s dissertation defense is on Zoom – the poignancy of the academicians, all so generous of heart and its feedback, and his sister coming and going in a hospital, in a face mask. 

Day 37 Easter Sunday – April 12 

It happened this afternoon, sitting outside in the garden, the pups sunning on flagstone. We hear what we think are firecrackers a street or so away, Then something whizzes by – we hear it rather than see it. It has a heaviness and a velocity. We register that it’s a bullet as it bypasses us. I yell sharply for the pups to come inside, my husband calls the cops once we are there. He surmises it was teens firing a handgun. We wonder at a moment where a bullet missed us and our pups, by maybe a few feet. And here we are in our house again, trying to dodge the Corona bullet. 

It is strange writing this story – not knowing how it will go. At least in my writing I have control over that, beginning, middle and end. Will one of us or one of our friends have to fight the virus? Will we make it? Will the small businesses survive? Every morning I wake to the fact I’m ok, but this could change even during the day. Will someone else have to write my ending? And what of the others? Who will give them voice? 


Blog post 3

Singing to the Wind blog post 3.pdf

Blog post 3
Flowers and Thorns 

Day 17 Alan’s first cactus flowers started to bloom today. They are so grey and spindly during most of the year, but the colors and petals that spring from them, so translucent in shades of pink, orange, yellow, white, are glorious. This spring we all need signs of life more than ever. 

Four deaths in our state now. These are the numbers I follow most – the others are already so high I can’t grasp them, like spoiled fruit high on a tree. People who succumbed were in their 70s, 80s, 90s, all with preexisting conditions. Why does the seeming fact this virus strikes the older and weaker need to be announced: “They all had preexisting conditions.” Does it give us a strange moment of respite? I’m in my sixties, have had cancer, not exactly a prime specimen. When I hear about an infant dying, this seems most terrible. The last pandemic, of 1918, my mom was in her first year of life, and the young were the main targets. Then I wonder if I have some genetic strength from my mom surviving that terrible flu. 

When I’m mentally strong, usually in the morning and late afternoon, I check in with the news of the world, and balance it with friends’ posts on Facebook, calls and talks. I know whatever frustration or fear I am feeling is nothing compared with refugees without a home, a sick person without a bed or ventilator, a health care worker without a mask. 

There are fundraisers cropping up and we donate as we can: for musicians who have lost gigs, immigrants, for food banks, for Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo people, some of whom are dealing with no running water. 


2nd blog post

2nd blog post.pdf

First days after making the decision to only go to indoor places to shop for groceries: long walks with my friend Linda and her almost three year old grandson, Everett. Before this we were picking him up from school at day’s end. Now we spend most mornings exploring the Rio Grande area and the acequias – the irrigation ditches that fan out from the houses and fields in our valley. Everett is always discovering something – from a single leaf to the trees, imparting infectious wonder, then crumpling in a heap at the communal mailboxes when I inform him there’s no delivery – it’s Sunday. He cries, was expecting his Captain America pajamas to be delivered. Identity and clothing starts so early. So almost daily walks with Linda and pup walks with Alan have now turned longer. I find the walks and nearly any exercise helps with the anxiety considerably. If I miss my morning walk, I can get fretful; a walk at the end of the day generally helps me with elusive sleep.

I wonder with worry what may be happening with refugees incarcerated at the U.S. Mexican border, in the jails where I used to teach and prisons, the institutionalized, the homeless here and everywhere…

March 14 and 15 were our first days in isolation (the statewide order came a few days later). They were only unlike other weekends in that we didn’t go to see friends, out for dinner or Sunday brunch – a weekly pleasure. We cooked all meals at home, Alan made pinto beans that I then turned into enfrijoladas, he made a Mexican chicken soup. He’s the ambitious cook, I’m the short order sous chef.

Recipe: Enfrijoladas

I can’t even recall where I first saw this made in Mexico, decades ago. One of my all time favorite comfort foods

Make some pinto or black beans stovetop or instant pot
-you can also use canned –

If using whole beans, add some water, if refried, more water. Keep adding water, in any case. I like these best using whole beans mashed a little, with lots of bean sauce.

Slip a tortilla into the bubbling bean sauce until it is covered. Let it cook until it’s soft but not to the breaking point – maybe 30 seconds or 1 minute depending how hard your tortilla is. I don’t know, I haven’t
timed it.

Fold and serve on a plate, ladle more bean sauce on top. Garnish with Monterrey jack or fontina cheese (or whatever you have except Cheese Whiz, but ok, if you only have that from 1999, it IS a pandemic…, so maybe take your chances laced with your preservatives) and pickled jalapeños. Use a Cholula style hot sauce for added heat.

For full comfort food enjoyment: don’t watch the news while you eat these, unless you want to counter their effect a little, but then add a margarita.

I am pondering this blog: do people want to read about what they’re going through? Should I post other writings – or a combo? Will anyone comment?


blog post April 25, 2020

Singing to the Wind 1 .pdf

Pandemica 2020

Deciding to go Inside

Read articles (make sure they are real)
let yourself feel some fear
this could be the fear that might allow you to survive

The tug of your old life laps like a lazy shoreline
no pasa nada – I can go out one more time

Read another article, watch some more news
talk with your loved ones.
lucky are the ones with a spouse they get along with
a friend to walk with
an aloneness that is enough

Every person added to the mix reminds me
of what they said during the AIDS crisis:
you’re not just sleeping with your partner,
you’re sleeping with every person
your partner has slept with.

Make the decision to start planning – fill the car with gas,
which you won’t need much of for months
write a list and go to the store
after you figure out meals and essentials for a while
how long will this be?

Do not hoard, though the impulse may be there
know that things will return to shelves faster
once we calm down and stop taking too much

I recall an anthropological book I read on a Mexican community:
whoever got the richest in the village
had to throw the next big party, like the saint’s day festival
until he was among the poorest in town

and if I buy twelve tortillas in the market,
I am taking that chance away from you
equilibrium and basic ecology is taken into account
– leave something for the other 
that’s the key
I hope we will all practice ecology like never before