Noche

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Nearing slumber it drifted through. A thought, a wisp of smoke rising from the fire, almost unnoticed…

Without this deep and constant longing for a space and time just beyond reach, how will I live? What will replace the desperate desire to jump off and run into the next life? Will the creation be enough?

This is the thought that stole my sleep.

I have just barely arrived at the doorstep of a reality woven from my own heart strings. I have yet to cross the threshold and take my first breath… And I am pacing back and forth in my mind examining the equilibrium of my design. It’s like packing your first parachute. Will it really be enough to hold you?

You never know until you leap.

I hope I don’t get lost in the chaos before the path is worn. A guest in an unfamiliar routine that has settled in around many more years than I have seen. Still a long way until my own unfolding…

Just know there will be plenty.

Plenty to wrap my head around. Enough magic in the landscape to fuel eternal fires. Creative expression will take on a new hue in the sun drenched valley full of dreams, while years worth of waiting unravel in the evening light.

We are seeds newly planted. And it is morning.

A letter to my Mexican

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I am writing this letter even though I know you will never read it. You would not understand the depth of feeling or the far reaching understanding within these words. You prefer to keep it all hidden away where you won’t get swept up in the undertow… Silent sentinel finding your way behind the safety of your statuesque strength.

I am ready to admit that I have been going about this all wrong. Asking you question after question about a place you have not been in ten years. Assuming that just because it is your home, your country, that you are still familiar. But the truth is that a lot has changed since you were there. Everything has grown up, aged, forever changed by the endless caress of time… Including you. And finally I am deeply, painfully aware of the fear you must secretly feel returning to a place that once was yours but somehow slipped through your fingers… Ten years is a long time and it happened when you weren’t looking.

So now upon the dawn of your homecoming, you must plan for something much bigger. You were one when you left and now you are six. That’s a lot of growing feet and empty bellies that you need to think about. How many sheep? How many avocados? Where will the money come from when the seasons pass and we are all still there. Rural Mexico is not exactly the land of opportunity if you’re looking for a paycheck. You are walking away from the safety net and everyone is watching, waiting to see what happens. That’s a lot of pressure.

You, like me, are stepping in to the unknown. Sometimes I mistake your silence for ambivalence. My unanswered questions for uncaring. I never realized that you may not have all the answers. And that maybe you are just as scared as I am.

It is not important that you ever acknowledge or understand how I see things now. Only that my perspective is inexplicably changed. I will stop asking you to explain or defend your process. I will let the answers unfold and let go of my impossible desire to control what I cannot. Moving forward with clarity and trust. Until the next life…..

Puro Michoacán

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Daughter of immigrants several generations back. I have no history. Nothing to cling to when the earth shakes. Only in recent years has this awareness disturbed me. My people left their longing so far behind, there is no remembering. I have become the nothing.

Born to a place and time with no culture, left to find my own way among materialism and innovation. There are no old ways here. Two hundred years isn’t long enough to build anything. ‘My people’ are hell bent on destruction anyway. That’s how they got here. That’s how their children and their children’s children persevere. Wearing voluntary blindfolds, it’s a first world train wreck.

Now push eject on the tape deck…

See me run like a wild stallion in front of a storm towards something ancient, something real, even if it’s not my own. Plant my babies feet in the dirt then watch them grow like giant tropical flowers, with clear memories of their ancestors. Because the air is so thick with spirit there you could slice it with a machete. It’s in the corn, the cooking fires and heavy rains. It’s in their fathers blood. Indigenous.

His generation is the first to turn away from forever. With dreams of something better they leave the best behind never knowing the nothing they are handing their great great grandchildren. I know. I am bringing them back to the mother land. The mother tongue. I won’t watch them walk away. Theirs is still there….

Life without my iPhone

imageEvery time V sees me checking Facebook on my iPhone he sheepishly says “I don’t know HOW you are going to survive in Mexico…” Then he laughs… When I complain about the broken hot water heater, the clothes dryer taking too long or how hard it is to make a fire in the morning with the babies, he says “you will NEVER make it in Mexico…” then chuckles instead of offering to help.

I often used to secretly wonder if he was right. I am used to the easy life. I am an American. We have a machine for everything, convenience foods, cars, high speed internet connection… How will I live without all of these things that seem so necessary? So ingrained in my daily life?

Well what I know, is that when I am touching the Earth, nothing else matters. Those “necessities” will fade seamlessly into the background until they are forgotten completely….

What is real and unwavering, the raw essence of life’s constant momentum, will spring into my vision leaving no room for thoughts of anything beyond the present moment. Dirt under my nails, wild hair flying in the wind and the sound of birds and roosters and children. The meaning of everything so obvious in every task that nothing is boring or without purpose. Work hard, eat well, smile with your whole face. Grab it with both hands and hold on tight. This is life. Not a watered down variation of…

When that first thunderclap comes and shakes the stones I’m going to revel in it. Feel it deep in my bones. Those thunder beings are always a big blessing. A signal that your prayers are powerful. Endless rains wash away what’s not rooted and watch the plants grow before your eyes. See the river swell with life and drink deep from the hole in the rocks. Twisted vines with purple flowers elaborate on the wildness giving the faintest hint to the color of the corn…

We are rich beyond measure. This is how I hold it in my heart. This is where I am going. This is my vision of the lush mountains of Michoacan where our casita is waiting for us. All of this and more.

This is why I’m going to thrive in Mexico.

My Subaru

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Baby steps are giant leaps sometimes…

A few days ago I sold my Subaru outback. Forest green, no other car is a better representation of the Pacific Northwest. For 7 years, this car was also a part of my own identity.

My Subaru took me to Mexico for the first time. Half way down the pacific coast to a sleepy beach town in Nayarit, not another gringo in sight. Warm salt water, fresh coconuts, my first taste of the raw, unparalleled beauty of the life one can only find in Mexico.

My Subaru zig-zagged us through the southwest and the snowy mountain roads in Wyoming. Hot springs and ocean beaches. It became a shelter, a kitchen, a farm animal hauler and a baggage unloader. I added children until there was no more room and the doors wouldn’t close with so many in car seats inside.

My Subaru was along on so many of my life’s adventures….

Watching someone else drive it away for the last time I had butterflies in my stomach. Part of ME was leaving. The perfect mirror of what’s happening on a larger scale. My independence. My “northwest mountain girl”. My years as a gluten free, gardening, kombucha drinking, sewing, yoga in the mornings, single mom. Everything that came before now… It’s been years since I was that person, but the final piece just disappeared. Traded for a pile of cash that would transport me into my new life and everything that the future holds.

My Subaru became 6 one way airline tickets to Mexico City, a hotel stay and a 3 hour car ride to a tiny town in the heart of Mexico. Our casita stands waiting for us on a hill, proudly overlooking the milpa. This is where I was hoping to end up the first time I gave away everything and drove to Mexico with $200 and a romantic dream of a good life. Seven years and three kids later… It’s really happening.

Peeling an onion while building a Rancho

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There is always something. Some unforeseen cost, a change in plans, sickness, necessity… There will never be a perfect time or a completion of some project that signals “yes… It’s time… Come on down!” We either have to jump, or sit here eating wonder bread everyday for the rest if our lives.

As we are adding layers to our life in Mexico, we are stripping away, selling off and breaking down the life we created here. It’s like peeling an onion. Once you remove something, it becomes easier, even necessary, to get rid of the next. Unfortunately the excesses we have here do not translate in to what we need there. And the more we give away here, the more we realize we need there…

Which brings me to the next paradox… The high cost of being poor. The other day I added up all of our receipts for sending money that have been piling up over the last few years. We have sent well over $20,000USD which is about $300,000MXN!

This seems like a lot of money to me, considering that we are going to be living like poor farmers. And we are not done spending yet. We still have many smaller projects to complete before it will be functional… Water tank, building a safe path down the steep hill to the animals and corn field, fences for animals, windows and doors, stove, wash area, baño… And we still have a dirt floor.

And yet I realize that once these projects are complete, there will be something else. A tractor, table and chairs, beds, school uniforms, savings for emergencies, buying animals, planting, the travel costs for our family of six… And cost of living for the first year before our farm starts producing!

Will we ever get there? Not as long as we continue to pay our high cost of American living at the same time! We can’t afford to pay for lives in two countries on one income, but since this is where the money is, there is only one logical solution. Scale down. Cut costs. Continue earning and sending instead of spending.

Peeling the onion. What goes next? We do. The kids and I are going to Mexico. Life is cheaper. The temporary decision to go stay with family there while V earns the rest of the money we need is rough, but it is the only way. We don’t want to miss another year of planting. Our girl will be ready for school in September and if we don’t go now we never will. There will always be something else… There are fields of onions. And plenty of white bread.