Monday, December 14, 2009

What I Take With Me

Reading over the last post I wrote seems unfamiliar now. I do not even recognize those words. My relationship with Santa Fe has changed significantly since those lines were written.

Santa Fe has been a place of healing, finding teachers, meeting friends that share dreams with me...a place where I have sought out what I have wanted to learn in deep and new ways. Santa Fe has allowed the focus of my life to be affirmed and strengthened. I have been stimulated here because of what I have sought out.

I am leaving Santa Fe now with creative mentors, astrological mentors, mentors to walk with David and I through our relationship, and fellow travelers and seekers.

I leave now to dive into the unknown. (This has never come easy for me, although I fool people very easily into thinking it does.) I now let go of structure and comfort to live a life, that for me, requires a greater faith and patience; a trust in the hand that holds us all. Sometimes I think that I am leaving too soon and disrupting the flow of my learning and healing here, but I have to know that this skill is mine now. I now have this ability to create life and learning wherever I go. I have become familiar with this-it has sunk deep into my gut. This is what I take with me. I used to think it was the place and other people that inspired this will of knowledge, but I know now that it is me. I am hungry. Very hungry. And I will eat wherever I go.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Santa Fe, New Mexico

We are making a new home.

We are resting our bags in the tops of our closets and our socks in the open drawers where we can see them. We have planted a garden where things can grow, we have a space where our car can rest, and everything belongs on the floor: low. We have a box where mail is sent and every day I type on a computer and get a paycheck that constitues for the work I do and the time I spend watching my fingers upside down.

Time is not something we look forward to. Both of us getting older and aware of it: how can we rest our bags this long when our youth is held in the straps?

I am a test-tube baby; created from different forms. Trying on this life with coffee mugs and manilla folders, they believe everything I say.

My heart is the beat of a drum, the flex of my foot, the audition, the resume, the returned phone call, the sarong, the wood floor.

We create the mystery in our weeks--grasping for the circle of light, the metal kitchen table, the stone in the garden, the rain, the view from the deck. We create from nothing: a challenge. We make friends with people who remind of of other people. We talk, we listen, we encourage that the time is well spent here, that our intentions are good and our bellies full. We sit up in the morning and keep looking, keep finding, keep wanting each other. I falter that these are my steps alone, that no one wants to talk beside them but do out of duty and promise.

This promise to me.

My hands are bare. I drive without intention, traffic dulling my mind. This is not the ideal place, but where there is breath there is reason. The open sky reminds us to see. The purple, the pink, the colors of the West. I wanted this familiarity but wanting the faces that came with that; they are not here, they are not getting closer. The faces I see here must become close to my heart.

We are making a new home, a safe home. It is not our home of permanence, not yet.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Panamanian named Rosindo

Meet Rosindo. He is our friend and co-worker from Panama. David and I worked with him on a cacao plantation on the southern, Carribean coast of Costa Rica. Each morning, Rosindo would cook us fried bread, white rice, and eggs. For lunch, we would have rice and beans, and for dinner...beans and rice.
We went with Rosindo to Panama, where he has spent his whole life until one year ago. We stayed at his mother's house fifty feet from the river. Her house is built on a platform so the water from the river will never flood her home. We slept in a tent where all night, the base from the local disco bar intruded on our dreams.
Rosindo travels back and forth every week from Costa Rica to Panama (about 2 hours by bus) to see his mother, brothers and sisters, and to attend English classes. In Panama, there are so few teachers and so many students, that students only attend classes once a week. Therefore, there schooling takes an amount of time that most people would not have the patience for. But Rosindo is committed. So committed, infact, that he will receive his degree and teaching license in 2010 and return to Panama to become a teacher himself.
This is an interview with Rosindo. Since it is in spanish, I have written the translation (as well as I can) below. The other voice in the interview is mine.

R: Hello. My name is Rosindo. I am 31 years old. I am Panamanian. I have worked here for one year as a gardener, a tour guide, and now I work in the kitchen. My favorite life plan is that I am learning English. My family is in Panama and I have worked here for one year and three months. I get along well with my "cacao family", the guides, and the volunteers from different countries of the world. I am happy with them and I want to learn more of the English language.

J: Describe education in your life and how it has been in the past.

R: Ok. Education in Panama is hard because we don't have our own economic resources to study, to get a degree, or to educate ourselves in the future. We study with our own resources. We work all the time to educate ourselves, our family, our children, so we can help our families and parents in the future, and for future generations; our children, a new family that will be in my future.
My education is hard, and for all Panamanians. All the indigenous people that live in Panama, they don't have the support of the government and the government does not help them move forward. The government treats them badly and with violence. All the indigenous people have to sacrifice for an education.

J: What is your experience with the educational system in Panama?

R: My experience with the education system in Panama is that we have to first get a bachelor degree and then return to University for 5-6 years to receive a degree as a professor. After 6 years, you get another degree and it is hard work. I've worked hard to finish my studies, and my experience with education is very hard. Education in Panama is a competitive form. We have to compete with the other primary, secondary, and University students.

J: Ok. Very good. Thank you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Remember Tomorrow...

As I looked upon the sprawling, vivid, Christ infused, and distinctively Seussian creation of Leonard Knight named Salvation Mountain; my mind went directly to thoughts of unyieldinng dedication and the human need to create a lasting commitment.
Every man and woman that ever walked has kept the wheels of our universe turning regardless of how minutely whether by siring children or impacting arts, business, technology, society, religion and on it goes... but some folks just need to take the not so ordinary route to the annals of living history, some folks immerse themselves deep under the fatty layers of their own consciousness and fearlessly tear free a living breathing idea that storms the world right upside the head.
Leonard Knight some might say is missing three stools from his kitchen or perhaps a might obsessed but I see it another way... see Leonard Knight got his surname off somebody from waybackwhen as did the majority of us on this rock, the story goes that our names derive from professions and perhaps personalities.
Mr. Knight I surmise got his moniker off his greaaaaaaaaaaaaat Papa Knight; who fought with sword, shield, and steel for the glory of his king and in the name of the Lord whomever that may be. Papa Knight had a unyielding dedication and yearning to fulfill his Knighthood and protect the legacy and vision of his kingdom, it was what he breathed for. One day Leonard got the idea, my life will be spent erecting a artistic monument to Loving Jesus.
Somewhere in the murky still swamps of our nether-conscious lie the secrets to eternity , the past is only the past in concordance with time, and time is a construct of man. So if our "ancestors" hold the same DNA and share the same matter so to must the thoughts and feelings, and even memories of our forebearers be readily accessible to us when we are in a truly aware state of being.
Hindu belief holds the possibility of reincarnation, what if this is not so much the case but in fact we are always privy to the data of our bloodline, of the recesses of being; and that rears its dome in our unwaking minds.
This is what I pontificate on as I lay witness to a dedication such as Salvation Mountain... one man thinking outside of the norm in a wholly abstract fashion has pieced together a life's work that he has an unwavering belief in.
Whether belief is fueled by religion or love or fanaticism the strand that ties it all into one ball of light is that human beings are on a constant search for the truth and every so often we get to take a sip of it before we spill it all and start again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Alright, start from the beginning...

And so Phoenix, new home, new town, new sky, new stars, different moon, fresh sunrise... yessir Arizona. I can always size a burg up and conceive a basic notion on just how things run around these parts; that doesn't always make it the way it is.
Is, is always more profound when it comes to the living breathing sentience of a metro. This place has everything you need long as you have the wheels and the know-how, the accessibility of your wants and desires are just a leap an' toss away.
Places stick around for generations not changing a beat, streets and restaurants become memories; the desert familiarity seeps from Phoenix sidewalks, the cactus are ol' cowboy wise, the mountains add one more dimension to the canvassed plateau encasing this man-made mecca, are they nature protectors keeping a watchful eye on this fair city or ruling Native elder gods constantly denying any unwieldy change in their terrain? Phoenix will not lose itself to overabundance nor indulgence as long as these spires reside.
Life out here doesn't look to ever get overly complex or over/underwhelming. Families are modestly settled in to closely situated western homes and folks are just plain congenial with thy neighbors. People get along fine being familiar and why not when everyone knows your name. I can see how a family might just call Phoenix home for a fair piece, it don't ask much and expects not a thing, like it or nay it IS.
I can dig this humble ease, think I'm getting a handle on the protocol and yet intricacies will always remain no matter how much ground I tread here. Trying to get a job at a local watering-hole has proven fruitless thus far, yet Persevere was always a favorite of mine.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lessons on More

I've discovered in this past week or so of ragged travails that many citizens of this great globe have found a form of manufactored bliss in complacency.
Now I'm not one to start on some wanky pretentious rant on how everybody is obtuse anbd simple minded compared to my loose existence; no, I'm going with observations that help pepper the fuel in my soulbones, observations that keep me from entering a realm of existence I know I never want part of.
See, nestimg it out and building a happy home never lit me up... my experience in SAN FRANCISCO! at a very lovely townhouse inhabited by even an even lovelier family got my wheels spinning on this subject.

It was an ol' fashioned Christmas/Holiday/Birthday get-together wool sweaters, hot apple cider, a fireplace, family photos, and folks standing about grasping for converation. This family which consisted of a mother and two diversely different daughters seemed quite lovely.... uncomfortable to me, I can behest that I am socially awekward in circumstances such as this.
I felt the need to mumble my way through my inescapable encounters with the assembly line of dinner guests, trying damndest to turn my spout and jabberwocky about nothing.

Why though? Perhaps my experience at this exact moment, as I sit typing in a home in LOS ANGELES! could shed sunshine on this. Once again I am playing casual observer to a lovely family in a lovelier home on Merry Christmas... my unfamiliarity with family, with the systematic organization of these gatherings has always put me in a bewildered trance. I see five televisions playing basketball and movies and no viewers, I see a scattered array of children's toys and baubles, I see fireplace, and wool sweaters, and Christmas tree, and warm apple cider. This familiarity scares me, or perhaps unsettles my reptile nerves.... I never want this as a life. Why all the toys for children? Other kids have toys so my child will feel different and strange. Good!

This humble beautiful home is stifling me, I have an insatiable thirst for liquid change. I will continue traveling and charting the evolution of my disdain for "settling".

I don't need all these comforts and I will fight to Never Will.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The city in the nursing home

It is Saturday morning and I can hear the Mariachi music. There is the familiar tuba. There are the trumpets. There are the drums. There are the screaming babies in shopping carts. It is coming from the local Mexican market located across the busy intersection from my house. On this particular morning, there are balloons and wagons decorated with crate paper that line the asphalt. There is no special occasion, only that there is...a sale. This cultural explosion has been isolated to a parking lot. The hats are too big and the hams are too heavy to fit into the hands of greedy pursuers.

My father is outraged. This celebration has disturbed his weekend ritual of leisure and pleasure. He can no longer wash our two golden retrievers without the constant reminder that he bought a house in a neighborhood with decreasing property value. This is Phoenix, Arizona. This is the city in the desert.

There are places I love in Phoenix: The drive-in movie theaters. Specifically, the drive-in movie theaters on 59th avenue and Bethany Home. The dusty, bare-footed, food in a cooler, beer on the dashboard, summer night in the back of your mother's Volvo, diapers in the sand, drive-in movie theaters. These are the ones that I remember.

Next, Camelback Mountain. Scottsdale area, smooth hand holds on the rocks that lead the way, railings that leave your hands smelling like blood, golf courses that define your idea of nature, fathers admiring real estate development in the shadows of the mountain, people smarter than you who brought water bottles, sweatshirts tied around waists, the top of the mountain where you feel strong.

The library. Specifically, the library on 15th avenue, just north of Missouri. There is only one way in and out of this library, ALL the books smell 30 years old, the corner on the floor where I read Goosebumps and Sweet Vally high books, the spinning racks on "Teen" books, the metal water fountain, the card catalogs yellow with age, the woman at the front desk always wearing a belt, free books, Yucca branch.

But after I have seen these places, and I can no longer sit on my parents couch and stare at the freshly watered Christmas tree, I begin to feel restless. It helps if I go to a place that is tall. I sit on our roof. I feel closer to the moon, but also closer to other rooftops where people sit below them and watch the recaps of the days RAIDERS game. Palm trees never made me feel free. Sidewalks are only fun in the summer, and summer in Phoenix is perfect when you are 12. I come back and visit Phoenix like I would impatiently visit my mother with Alzheimers. She no longer knows who I am and fears what I have become. I am anxious to leave her side. She no longer needs me to survive and I slowly let go of her hand.
-Jenny Leigh