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Home on the Mesa

Muscles Like Secret Drawers
The rocks on the rim spoke to me this sunset’s roseate glow. I saw fossils—I don’t know if they are fossils—but they looked like fossils, insignias of prehistory, leaves and creatures marking the stone, and my little life became a speck. Spring wind carved rock into sensuous curves today as it has been carving rock for millions of years. A steady sculptor. I stopped and looked up, a precaution one must always take here. First, look at the ground as you walk, then if you want to look up, stop, or else you’ll tumble to the ground or worse, over a deathly ledge. I looked up and saw an anvil in the sky—a cloud resembling a crusted snow drift with a bellyful of peach-colored light from the declining day. In five minutes the cloud turned dove gray, blending its massive shape into the others clouds—the sky family blending into one-ness.

The wind sang. I turned and went into the forest where the wind doesn’t go, then walked back through the explosions of Miller Moths. I felt my day’s practice in me. I had done my practice on the deck rediscovering my contours of motion, the movements that, like wind sculpting the rock rim, have carved my nervous system. My muscles objected, humping and bumping along, but suddenly they fell into the movement flow and opened like flowers. The muscles like secret drawers.

Imagine Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. Now imagine that all the black birds are moths and you have a pretty good idea of the Miller Moths invasion of the Southwest. I opened the barn door and, disturbed from their rest, thousands of moths leapt madly into space. The whir of wings, light glinting off the dust of their pale bodies, rhythmic slamming into the barn walls in a frenzy to get out, to go, to escape. Wonderment unfurled in my chest. After a moment, the flurry subsided as they returned to crevices, invisible until startled into flight again. The barn was once again a naked interior of wood and metal, so  the moths are a good diagnostic of just how many crevices there are to inhabit.

At night in the cabin, I struggle to usher them outside. I don’t want to dodge their manic fluttering as I prepare for bed by candlelight. Happily, the moths sleep when I sleep. They don’t eat wool but prefer on the nectar of mesa flowers. Apparently the bears, which are still hibernating, find these moths tasty. There will be fat, happy bears this summer.

When I arrived in New Mexico last year in early May it was cold and I was fat from wintering cooped up in NYC,  so I bought large sweatpants and shirts. As the summer progressed into hot weather and I was out on the land, very active, I lost ten pounds. All my lightweight clothes are quite a bit smaller. Today it is cold. I don the large clothes which fit because I spent yet another winter cooped up in NYC accumulating a large winter butt. It won’t last long up here. Climbing, walking, lifting, hauling, reaching, pushing, pulling.



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