do you know how far it is

November 27, 2016


you want to give her your navigator…. because she doesn’t own one. she has two dogs. Two. One has a yellow sweater …and the other is a little black chihuahua shivering in the truck — she told me she couldn’t find his little sweater…pobrecita.

way out here in the middle of west texas. we stopped . balmorhea. kent. vanhorn.

i  am so not sure why i even remember this. I don’t know why it’s even important. maybe its because there is this one important thing you must do with your life and then you don’t do it…or maybe its because she said to me, “… my people have animals … that is why I have animals… goats and chickens. That is why I have to get back, she said.  I need to get back and take care of my animals.   Do you know how far it is to Abilene? she said.   Abilene.  her face heavily lined — in an old truck from Buckeye school district — an old truck she bought on her own …  this one woman traveling alone across the great state of texas….

she bought that land. she bought three acres. way out in Abilene — far away from anyone else. So she could have animals…. animals the way her family does….

I don’t know why she told me that. a total stranger at a light blue crappy motel 6 near a luvs-cargo truckstop. i still don’t know why i remember her so clearly and it all seems so important.

Abilene.  San Angelo. Junction.

here to home. home to here.  i am obsessed with distance.

I need to get back and take care of my animals.  she said.

august 22

August 25, 2016

I wasn’t expecting to remember you. A nameless woman came through my line with a stupid little plant. little red flowers…. I was stunned. I thought…there it is…that is the last plant I bought you. I stared at it for a long second. held it… placed it so carefully aside.  protecting it from the barrage of cascading purchases…. and one hour later there it was. still in the same place…. my customer walked away.  And I was left alone remembering you.

bat kite

July 10, 2016

when I was small. deep in the heart of the pacific northwest…. we drove over the novelty hill road to the snoqualmie river…. my dad took out a kite…it was a bat kite and he flew it high high above the winter grey fields of broken corn.   I have always been fascinated by the memory…. the black, bat kite flying so high above the broken fields of corn, with white broken clouds…..  I don’t know why it is so important or even why I  remember it in so much detail… but I do.  I dont even know why it is such a happy memory… but it is. thanks dad.

remembering happy.

The virgin mary

May 26, 2016

….and what if we did paint the virgin mary all over the street? Down the sidewalks into the alleyways between the fire escapes?  Behind us and before us  … She would be with us when we walk down the streets of the homeless- and in the light of a window candle…    What if we did…

the gift

September 12, 2011

its labor day… working people have come in our store for their BBQ ribs and sodas for an afternoon of family barbeque. I watched someone write out a check today…. its funny because I see hundreds of checks a month. but she wrote it out… date first… signed it… wrote in the numerical amount 36.40 leaving the hand written numbers for last… i thought that was odd… I watched her carefully turn to the front page of her checks to a very worn page. bent cornered…in large numbers she had written each amount out:
20 30 40 50 then next to it she wrote in oversized letters how to write each of the numbers — TWENTY, THIRTY, FORTY, FIFTY…. CENTS. I was in awe.

what if I could not write? what if I had lived in that different world… so far away from my insulated middle class america world. I wondered where i would be now.. where would I be now… and would I have had the courage to persevere?

I watched how carefully she wrote each of the letters looking back each time to write the letters in the right order.

It was then I realized how easily and carelessly I write each day…. taking forgranted my life … and what a gift it is to have an education, read and write. how easy my life is.
a gift.

god bless texas.