Being Here

We are home, we are home:

Where is home?

Last night, I ran through the dark to the arroyo and skipped over rocks and tore my hair out and wished to howl and wiped pretend mud blood across my face and dreamt about following that thin flow westward into the desert to sleep under cloudy blankets, listening for coyotes and dreaming of stars like diamonds…

So different are these places I have inhabited as a grown woman;

New York City and New Mexico are two different styles of wild.

My sense of place- at home, here, in Santa Fe- involves much time in the deep shade, these days, where cool, dry breezes pass through the grape leaves that grow up and across our back patio’s portal, we are waiting for the fruits to ripen. The air sways my faded turquoise hammock as resting time for the boys and we grown-ups passes by. I watch the clouds beyond the grape leaves, track the thunderous purple clouds as they amass and consider if we are to be blessed with rainfall today. It is the monsoon season here, at last, and in that light, it’s shocking that I feel less than blessed each day.

A reoccurring piece of my personality yearns to be Pioneer Woman. (It may flow from the same genetic place as Liam’s cowboy obsession.) We are reading Farmer Boy, of the Little House Series. I am playing with lacto-fermenting carrots, sourdough projects and sketching out rain catchment systems for our yard. I strain chicken broth composed from our dinner’s carcass, as well as the stems of some hoop garden greens, into a giant Mason jar and that sure does get me in a particular frame of mind. I suspect that I drink more red wine than many traditional pioneer women, but darn it if I don’t get my chores done.

It’s three weeks since our arrival back in New Mexico-sheer relief with the completion of our pilgrimage, joyful reunion with favorite toys, plants, beds, re-imagining the home space to support both kiddos, reaching out for the tendrils of friendship we left here, leaning towards fun and healthful consumption: ten day break from added sugar, joyful movement: run, climb, swim, walk, bike, asana, missing the people we worked so hard to visit this summer, missing green, using lotion and drinking lots of water, planning and executing meals, seeking nature, enjoying the sky, the quiet, the weeds that have overtaken the backyard, wondering what comes next, wondering if this is enough, if this can be home.

And now, summer is passing measure by measure. My co-parent has returned to work and I feel his absence, and with it the assumed mantle of full time caregiving, acutely. My trapezius muscles are bunched and tight as a result. Most every day is busy and still we find a trail of destruction everywhere to be mended or accepted.  It’s become evident that caffeine titration is needed to keep my mind from leaping so incredibly far beyond the reach of my limbs. I am starting to consider the wisdom of empty rooms and then we could just play in them, tending hearts and movement, rather than dust bunnies and laundry piles.

I am suspecting that I need to start, literally, breaking open bones and sucking out the marrow.

In a tangible way, I function as Gatekeeper here; by choosing what to bring home, what to keep at eye level and arms reach, what to create and how to present it. Romanticizing the ways of the past is evident in a lot of my thinking and I want these times to be simpler, but when I see my actions  through this lens, my role in the family feels revitalized and not worth tossing over quite yet to get Back To Work. We are all only young once, after all.

Where is it safe for a woman to howl, alone into the dark night, if not here? The arroyo was the best place I could turn to as I left home after a full day of mothering, hoarse from storytelling and pent up with the deluge and the holding of space, emotion and care. I ran until I could feel the ripple of muscles under my skin. All I need to do is work them, I realized.

Walk the proud land, my friends.

Friends, thanks for reading! How are you keeping yourself vital and energized? What allows you perspective on this bittersweet edge of devotion to caregiving? And if anyone wants to turn my carefully organized detritus of early parenting into cash money for me, lemmeknow. I can’t get on that Craigslist nomore, nomore, nomore.

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