I had four things I wanted to do while in Santa Fe for most of the month of October. Spending time with my daughter, Susan, took top priority and that we did, often going out to eat together, sometimes with her son, Nico, or with her partner, Michael. Once we went to Gabriel’s restaurant just out of town where Michael is the bartender. That dinner was extra special because my partner, Charlie, had arrived for a visit. She and Nico talked about Nico’s talent as a digital composer and the place of Rap in the music world today, a subject Charlie felt conversant with, since her grandson is familiar with the genre as are most of her older students. On two other occasions Susan invited her closest friends to join us for a meal. Sylvia, a psychotherapist, was interested in my thoughts as an older man, particularly the issue on how to stay young in spirit. Debbie, a successful film producer, and I are both delving into the practice of meditation and so spent time comparing notes without any clear conclusions except that both feel the importance of continuing.
Another goal was to get my next book “Indigo Moon” into final order which meant inserting the excerpts from my website journal into the appropriate places. I got that done, now I have to go back through my hard copy to see if it really flows from poem to journal to poem the way I want it to. I have next to corral all the endnotes I’ve written, often at the bottom of the poems, and put them in order at the back of the book. The process of getting this book ready for Gorham Printing just seems to take forever but I’m making progress. What I accomplished here in Santa Fe was a big step, helped along by my daughter’s poetic instincts and tech savvy.
The third thing I wanted, right up there with the other two, was to make certain my partner, Charlie, had a good time. I know I need not have worried but I did anyway but what a delight it turned out to be. Part of what made it successful was that we didn’t try to plan the time, hour-by-hour. Instead we sort of played it by ear, letting the spirit guide us which made everything more of an adventure. We DID plan the second day’s trip up to the Santa Fe Ski Basin, driven there by Susan in her new Jeep, her dog, Riley, by her side. I could feel the altitude ( 10,000′) as we climbed the soggy trail, throwing an occasional snowball. At one point, Charlie and I stopped at a trail hut and deck with a picnic table and took our leisure, our faces to the warm sun while Susan exercised the dog. Charlie and I got a kick out watching two young snow boarders trying to make something of the scanty snow. After the picturesque descent down the Sangre de Christos, Susan showed Charlie where we once lived on Camino Rancheros and then drove through part of the St. John’s College campus where I had worked in those first years (fifty years ago now. Yikes!). And then, respite, at the Tea House on Canyon Rd. where we consumed large pots of tea in the sunny, outdoors garden along with some choice pastries. That night, Charlie’s third and last night, could not have been better spent. We decided to see the movie, “A Star Is Born” but by the time we got to the theater, they were sold out. Undeterred, we kept going down the list of film choices and decided on “Collette” ( just three seats left) and felt lucky. Since we had an hour to wait we indulged in a couple of good pizzas at the theater restaurant, enjoying ourselves immensely. So did the rest of the Friday night crowd, apparently, with a lot of low, lively conversations. The film itself held my attention mostly because of the artful presentation but I learned a lot about Collette that I’d not known previously, including the exploitation of her talent by her unfaithful husband. Anyway a good night. And a wonderful visit with Charlie. I felt she got genuine exposure to the Southwest. We are now planning to return for a week in April during the Easter break.
I mentioned that there were four goals. I’m not sure its really a “goal” as much as it is an ongoing pursuit but I wanted to keep working at the practice of making room for God, constantly listening, becoming comfortable with silence, surrendering, letting go and opening myself up for longer and longer periods of time. I was struck by what happened just yesterday morning and how this practice, this slowing down to a listening, sensing silence, may have dividends. It happened when Charlie texted me an early morning message, something we often do. This morning her text read “I love you more than you can know. Are you awake?”. Instead of hurrying to respond in kind which is what I normally do, I concentrated on the gift she was giving me in that simple sentence, letting it sink in, training myself now to truly listen. Here was my response. “Good morning, dear Charlie. I awoke to read your beautiful words. How wonderful to be so loved! I’m sitting up in the big bed absorbing it, feeling the contours of it, of you, relishing it all. Gratitude then pours over me, starting at my head then down to my heart and then to the area below my navel, the generative center, bringing calm and a tenderness for you that brings tears to my eyes, a natural, flowing sense of things, deep as the deepest river. So I sit, pulling the covers over me now to stay in this moment, listening with this knowing in my heart of our mutual love”. Interestingly, I stayed in the silence, in the listening mode, for another period of time, maybe 45 minutes. Out of it came further understanding in the form of an identification of the four deep loves I’ve experienced in my privileged life: The maternal love of my mother, the marital love of my wife, the spiritual love of my muse and now, the heroic love of my partner. All these loves are quite different from one another but equally meaningful and essential to the quality of the life I’m enjoying now. How satisfying it is to see this and to acknowledge it and to express my lasting gratitude for it, for the four women who have gifted me so, each love just right for the time.