What you may not know if you haven't read ALL of my blog posts is my being in Italy, specifically Naples was born in grief and a long journey across America prior to my arrival. The following post was written before I arrived in Naples and it speaks to the confusion, lostness and nascent healing after the death of my mother.
Still in New Mexico.
Reason being, well, I’m not sure how reasonable it is, it just is.
Two things, maybe a third.
I was broken hearted at my mother’s death and her dementia-centered dying, the loss of her personality, my connection to family through her, her being my “mommy,” though Mommy was emotionally cool and crisp as a new one dollar bill unless it had to do with old hymns or her Jesus, a toxic mix of legalism and radical non-acceptance. A dogma I theoretically sloughed off years ago.
Mama having held together sporatic visits, new babies, funerals, and some holidays, I am attuned to a deep knowing that in this grief and real loss, only large animals, dogs, lots of sun, skimpy clothes, warm weather and a gathering of unrelated people loosely resembling a family would assuage.
In my travels I’ve found an approximation. Three separate times reserved at Airbnbs, I’ve been asked by my hosts to house and animal sit for, as I mentioned, two llamas, five alpacas, two geese, five chickens, four dogs and two cats. And I’m happy to do it when the pay off comes in the form of long-tabled talks, savory watermelon salad, home made tostadas bright with fresh salsa, grilled steaks, soothing red wine, cold limed-beers, fresh cherries over clumpy vanilla bean ice cream.
Waking to animals and hot sun, for me is heaven. I conspired to be included in the day to day machinations of a small farm, arranging furniture, dusting adobe corners, watering tomatoes. Covered in a thick layer of salt and grime from repotting houseplants susceptible to instant death in the bloody hot sun, fending off ruthless mosquitos, victim to tiny thorn pricks and inexplicable cuts, I drip dripped blood, happy to be alive guzzling salted lime water with a slip of agave syrup.
And so I see what’s been missing in my ‘former’ life, community, purpose, being a part of a thing rather than the thing. Being the thing is immense and exhausting. I’ve tired of myself, my wily ways, my isolation and sometimes loneliness. I need more and more is coming in ways I hadn’t seen nor could have.
I’m trusted, a stranger, to care for loved animals, for plums, zucchini and peaches, to inhabit a leaf-dazzled spot in a hammock, a yoga mat in the late morning blaze, to fold sheets fresh from the laundry.
What is more, I’ve suspected for sometime that we Westerners, (at least), often inhabit lives consisting primarily of errand running, commuting, TV watching, wishing we were better involved while feeling powerless to halt the fucking train of commerce blowing through our respective lives.
Do you dare get in a hammock on a Thursday or linger with the dog on the driveway belly scratching, or find yourself picking weed-like flowers on a sauntering walk for the jar on the window sill to remind you of the subtle beauty always at our fingertips. If we only look, listen and get slow, really slow. The quiet lulls. Hush. Hush. Hush.
I’m going there.