For the past week I’ve had more human contact than I’ve had since C-19 started. My neighbor and I spent a couple mornings together moving and placing flagstones — and talking, then we took a morning for a hike and conversation. Saturday Elizabeth came over with some produce from her garden and later on my friend Lois and her husband Michael met me in Del Norte where we ate pizza on the patio of 3 Barrel Brewery, social distanced and masked, but it was impossible not to hug. We usually see each other every couple of months, and the last time was early March at the Crane Festival. It was really, really wonderful to be together.

Then, last evening, I was walking Teddy, and as we turned toward home after sneaking onto the golf course for the last leg of our walk, I saw the kids by their fence waving frantically at me. In those moments I’d happily die because life really does not get better than two kids jumping up and down in joy because you’re coming to visit them. But, I didn’t die (thankfully) so we got to hang out.

A few weeks ago M told me that when she grew up she was going to ride wild horses. C, her brother, is going to ride bulls. Most of the people in their family — including their mom — have rodeoed so it just makes sense. I said to M, “You’re afraid of Teddy! How are you going to ride a wild horse?” She thought about it and nodded.

Last evening, they ended up out in the alley briefly (they’re not supposed to be there) and M decided she was going to pet Teddy. I told her to reach UNDER his chin not over his head. I made him sit. She petted him and even scratched his ears. Then she said, “Now I can ride a wild horse.”

This morning my friend Perla, an artist from Argentina who’s lived in the US since the 80s, came to visit. First we made a tour of Monte Vista’s trees so she could collect a variety of leaves for her eco-printing projects. Afterward, we sat in the shade in my front yard and talked for a couple of hours about what we’re going to do when Trump wins the upcoming election. Yes, I said “when” because I think it’s distinctly likely. Whether our plans are real or just dreams to help us through this anxiety provoking moment, I don’t know, but Perla already escaped an authoritarian regime and her perspective on current events is different, less complacent, even than mine.

I like our escape plan, but I hope I don’t need it. I love my little niche in the world — still, at the same time, the escape plan would be an amazing adventure.

I’m tired from this extremely unusual amount of human contact, but I feel very warm inside from being loved and loving in return. One thing this whole thing has shown me — including my recent fear that perhaps Bear had a very bad bone cancer — was how much courage it takes to love something, someone, and allow oneself to become attached to it. I believe this is a lesson I’ve gotten from being here in a world where my love for it is returned and magnified. This valley spread itself in front of me, poor beat up legs and all, as if it were saying, “There is more here for you than you can now imagine. Give me time to show you everything.”

18 thoughts on “People…

  1. Love the story of M and Teddy! No wonder you adore those children.

    I recently had dear friends spend a night at my house as they drove from CO home to WA. They arrived late, so we waited until the next morning to catch up. We wore masks, stayed several feet apart, and they departed at noon. It was delightful to have a real, adult conversation with like-minded friends with whom I have a shared history, but I was so tired after they left! There was the low-level stress of inviting people into my home who had been traveling and visiting other friends, and doing a thorough cleaning in anticipation of their arrival, but mostly it was having my introvert’s routine disrupted. It’s taken me two days to recover!

    I truly hope your prognosticating with regard to the election is wrong, Martha 🙂

  2. Isn’t it interesting that suddenly our contact with other people that we took almost for granted before February is now exhausting! And I love that M is building her trust with Teddy so quickly and confidently! She’ll be his best friend very soon!

      • YES! I need to renew my passport — but the Post Office tells me the State Department is not working on them these days, so it may be slow!

          • I also need to renew my driver’s license, but the DMV has extended any that expire this year if you are over 70! They’re sending out renewal notices and not extension notices, but you can request a paper extension and it’s apparently pretty automatic! That’s better than most DMV activity!

  3. This sounds like a wonderful series of encounters of the human kind! Indeed nature has a way of opening our hearts and minds. Perhaps that is what the “orange one” needs – to be placed in nature for an extended time so he can get in touch with the forces of nature and become more in tune with the desires of a higher power…. If the failure of electing a different person in the highest office becomes reality, I’m interested in your Plan B. I do have a passport. I like Canada even if I’d have to learn a little French. By all accounts New Zealand is beautiful. I’ve always wanted to see Australia. I’d like to see Ireland….

  4. I think a lot of us are thinking about escape plans…making sure our passports are up-to-date. Trouble is, a lot of countries are closed to people from the US because the pandemic is so out of control here.

  5. Such a lovely post in so many ways, Martha…except the part about Trump. If he won again (I hope he won’t, but he will try anything and everything to do so), is there really anyplace to go in the world that won’t end up being affected somehow by his toxicity? I have trouble getting past the idea that our current form of government is so weak that it allows his horrible actions. Where are all those checks and balances we learned about in school???

    • I was thinking this morning that if Trump loses and the Dems get the Senate their first course of action — once they’ve mended our relationships with our allies and helped the American people financially — is restructuring the government to give the president less power and supporting the effort of states in redistricting so there are no foregone conclusions in an election. There are a lot of things in that “checks and balances” that need to be fixed since we’ve seen now what happens when there’s a president who builds around him an entourage who enables the corruption. The president should become less a “leader” and more a representative figurehead who takes the wishes of the American people into international relations. He should be subordinate to Congress. The Supreme Court needs to be redefined as well so it is not about partisan politics. Since we can no longer assume that the American people are going to choose leadership with integrity and moral scruples, there should be intense vetting of the President and the Supreme Court. They should be held to a higher order than the average American person. For example the “grab their pussy” comment made by a middle aged man, not a 19 year old college stud, should be enough to disqualify someone from candidacy. Switzerland has 7 presidents and the people vote on EVERYTHING. Allegedly that’s too cumbersome for a country like ours, but in these times? I don’t think it would be. AND perhaps states should have more autonomy. Montana and Wyoming really are NOT California. Part of what put Trump in office was the feeling of rural states of being disenfranchised. They went to the polls whining and with a chip on their shoulder. Schools need to teach students that words like “freedom” don’t mean anything, really, but “liberty” is important and has to be preserved to ensure equal rights to all people under the law. That fucking word “freedom” is why we have nearly 200,000 people dead of C-19 in this country.

      I’m pretty upset 😉

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