Good morning from Jemez everyone. We needed some time away and so we came to Jemez for a few days. We don’t like to announce when we are not home and so I won’t post until we return. We have returned, to a clean home, happy dogs and so much love…so, so much love. Thank you sister for flying all of the way from California and for leaving your life so that we could get away. The house looks fucking amazing! We are so thankful for you Michele and we love you so much for all you do for us. Three times since my Mom died, our sister has come from California to help us to get our heads above water again and we are so, so thankful.
As I sit here on the couch looking out the window toward the river this morning, it is dark outside. Morning is breaking. I began to worry that I didn’t get what I came here for and so I sit down to write. What did I come here for? What have I always come to this place for? I come here to reset so that I can re-enter my world anew. I come here to set it all down and I have come here to do that for as long as I can remember.
This place in Jemez, a tiny little retreat, nestled in the woods, right off of the river front. This place is familiar to be and not at all familiar to me. I have never been here sober until now. I missed so much of the wonder the times I have been here before, in the bottom of my bottles. My memories here are faint and yet I know my way around here. The familiar is comfortable and the unconditional invitation to come and stay is pricelsss as always.
Every time I have been here, I have been gifted. This place, all ours. No strings. No charge. No expectations. Gifted, every single time. Being here, in this place again, and completely anew at the same time.
My life has changed so much, so so much. I could never have known how much my everything would not be everything anymore one day. I drank enough to keep at bay the emotions associated with any memory of things. Sobriety has a way of waking up what was sleeping as if to say, “Welcome home…good morning. Wipe the sleep from your eyes.”
The sound of the river stills the stirring in my soul that begs me to stay and bids me farewell. Leaving this place takes us back to our life, to reality. Staying forever feels more like what my heart wants to do. Here with Tamara and Prajna where the world stops for a few days to let us catch up. I’m not caught up and I’m not ready to go back. I don’t know why I feel this way. I just want to keep some of this for later…some walking along the river snapping photos of my girl snapping pictures. Some of playing hangman and tick tac toe and cooking together and just being together, with Tamara alone with no signal or cell service for miles. I like it this way. I’ve no one anxiously awaiting my return anymore. Actually, I have everyone awaiting my return, including and most of all myself.
I do not deal with my life well at home, in this season. I sit here, in this place and I don’t have to feel all of that. I dreamed last night that my mom and dad went to sleep in the studio and when I woke and went down the driveway to see them, they had gone without saying goodbye to me. They literally just vanished, gone from my sight, as they have in real life, as I have always known them. I looked for their car and their things and nothing remained. Sitting here, listening to the river, waking from that dream, I want to stay here for fucking ever. I don’t want to return to the place where that dream has become my reality.
This river cannot wash it away and this time away cannot take me far enough away, ever, from the pain that my heart knows. There are no bounds for the absence in my heart for the loss of the mom I called every day or the Dad who began his new life where I am now a visitor, more than a familiar and constant companion. There is no filling the void left between a brother and a sister whose secrets didn’t drown in that river all of those years ago. We will not meet in the kitchen, drunk the next morning as familiar strangers, trying to wash away with coffee, confessions that even alcohol could not drown.
Walking along that rivers edge again did not sting me sting me as I thought it might. Truly….the River didn’t sting me at all. I wanted to dive into the frigid freezing cold of that river at its depths and wash my soul free and clean of what does not serve me any longer. I sat upon those rocks and skipped my stones and dreamed of being washed and swept completely away, never to return anywhere to anyone anymore.
The river didn’t take me and I did not take in the river. We walked her banks and we listened to her passing by. We took pictures and will forever keep with us her memories, as she will keep ours also.
Sitting on the porch of this old familiar place, with the woman that I love more than I have ever loved another, wanting to stay forever, or at least a while longer. I take a few more pictures to remind me to ask questions about the beautiful people who have always gifted me my stay here. They are my friends now and I give myself permission to know them, to spend time with them and to honor the beauty they have always bestowed upon me, in spite of me and my hurtful family.
Whose grave lies there? The 2009 bottle of CMS that I have never not seen there…whose memories hold that bottle in the wooden wine crate glass and bottle holder on the wall? And what became of my friend Kenneth? Is that is birdhouse on the tree stump? And is The Faith chime in the window for my dear friend Sissy from the Urban Cowboy days of old? Whose pictures grace the fridge and are they here anymore or passed along with my mom? Has the porch light been left on for me because you knew my path would one day lead me back here, across the wooden planks that bridge the way back to your one windowed door? Whose names and numbers on the cork board and do I know them? Do they know me? The lock that holds the cord across the driveway that I can never figure out…and the dip in the hall by the bathroom…these familiar quirky reminders, that I am loved, and somewhere I have been among strangers, I was actually among friends. In this place, invited because I’m loved. I let the river take the rest.
As I load up the car and go back in and get my girl, the world chokes up in my throat a bit, as I start the car to leave. Does this place hold the pieces of me that I have have held of it ? As I cross the threshold into this place, life jackets and beacons in my storms align to hold me steady. An escape to just get away from it all and a light on the porch left on for me. I know I shall return again, as whatever I’m to do I’ve not yet done here. I’ve no idea what that means and I accept it to be so and do it is.
I return to my girl, to Pranja and the things we bring home with us. I fumble with the lock and Tamara comes to make it easier. We pull across the threshold from the place that allowed us some space and some time to be. As we drive away, I say a little prayer that all who ever enter here and all who provide sanctuary and space here be blessed always. I take what I need in the car with me and I leave the rest behind. Until we meet again my friends. Until I walk your banks and sit amongst your trees again, I will keep you as always, deep inside my heart. And so it is.
Thank you for this space and this place Annette, and give your Mom all of our love and thanks for the getaway to come back better than we were before we came here.
Let us go now Tamara and Prajna, back to our family and our life!