The Piedra Rahada

Distant Horizions

Distant Horizions

 

I’ve written many difficult posts for vsvevg: posts about loss, illness, failure, disillusionment, weakness, and our struggles to live up to our principles; but this is one of the most difficult I have had to write.

Felipe and I are leaving the Piedra Rahada.

King was killed one month after he came to us, and we finally decided that though we learned not to judge(mostly), though we had accepted that our ideals were the antitheses of La Tigra’s, we were exhausted by the sorrow and hardship the beliefs and actions of our community have caused us.

I have been grieving for five years over Elvis, Jake, Jackie, then Lilly and now King.  It is not only these acts of cruelty, but a pervasive negativity that promotes fraud, deception and the belief that to take advantage of one’s neighbor is a good thing.  It sometimes felt like we were living with the IK.

I don’t blame the community, we’re different, they have their own path, but we can no longer be consumed by our inability to conform to norms we can never accept.

We stayed much longer than was good for us in many ways—because we love our family and the Piedra Rahada, but as we buried King, we looked into each other’s eyes and without words— we knew we were done. We decided we would let the Piedra Rahada go if that was what it required, though it caused us as much sorrow as all the other losses.

Then my friend called…

Felipe is now with me at Rancho Santana. We will work here contributing to the farm to table concept, utilizing the skills and ideals we worked so hard to manifest at the PDR. The revenue from this challenging, interesting work will provide the capital to build in Tepotzlan, a community more in tune with our mindset. We will not need to sell the Piedra Rahada. We are working to save it.

I doubt we will ever live full time near La Tigra again, but we will have the Piedra Rahada to nurture and visit as we choose. Though sadly, without a dog.

I considered shutting vsvevg down, but then remembered it’s really about Felipe and my journey with our land and our commitment to it. Our time in Nicaragua will be a part of that process.  It’s the perfect situation for us and I’m much more excited about it than this writing implies. Certainly I’m was excited about Felipe’s arrival. We drank a glass of bubbly and toasted the Piedra Rahada, our friend who gave us this redemptive opportunity, and our wonderful new adventure.

Moechi

 Moecha, my sole survivor, La Tigra’s oldest dog(they had no idea a dog could live so long—she’s ten) is currently residing with our ever generous friend Larry. We will bring her to Nicaragua when we figure out how to get her here, until then she is safe and happy eating chicken and hanging with Larry and his entourage of rescued dogs and cats.

 

 

Proud Flesh

followed only by the plume of her tail

followed only by the plume of her tail

“In dark times, the eye begins to see.”

                                  Theodore Roethke

Shortly after I returned from the U.S., I set out with my dogs , Lilly and Moechi, on our favorite walk . The walk begins on a gravel thruway, turns into a farm road and ends in a mountain trail passable only on foot, or hoof. When I turned onto the trial I noticed Lilly wasn’t with us, I called her, and when she arrived she was shaking and foaming at the mouth. Somewhere in that remote and lovely landscape she’d found poison. She was dying.

I was memorizing Jane Hirshfield’s, For What Binds Us, as we walked.  I’ve had a very difficult time continuing with this poem, or even going for a walk since her death. But it is so appropriate, I wanted to share it. I admit I used a cheat sheet to make the video.

I’ve questioned my choice to allow my dogs to be free, since I’ve lost four in two years  to poison and disease.  I don’t know that the answer is sufficient or responsible, but, it’s because they are campo dogs. Freedom is their life.  I know, though not as safe, they are happier than the poor dogs I walked in the U.S. that spent hours in their crates every day.

Long ago, I decided my responsibility was to aid in the fulfillment of their daily lives, not the near impossible safeguarding of their future. After Elvis was implicated in the death of a calf and became a public enemy , I tried keeping him on a leash, watching him constantly if he wasn’t; I made him stay indoors at night (no one got a good night sleep). But it only took a rabbit sighting to send him deep into the woods if I wasn’t hyper-vigilant. Finally, I realized I could not watch my dogs all the time, and that even if I had a fenced in yard someone could and likely would throw poison over the fence again someday ; I could not protect them. So I let them live their lives, until it kills them.

I can imagine the look Lilly would have given me if I had tried to keep her on a lease for our walks. I’m sure she would have sat down in the dirt and refused to accompany me in such a degrading position, she was very good at getting her point across.

Good bye Little Bear…I will always save the heart for you…

 

I will return when I can feel that anything is very simple, very easy, or very good again.

 

 

 

Walking the Poem

Poems I've memorized

Poems I’ve memorized

This week I recite, Memorizing The Sun Rising by John Donne, by Billy Collins, the poem that inspired last week’s recitation.

When I took on this challenge: memorizing, reciting and recording 52 poems in 2014; I wasn’t certain how I’d go about it. I’d memorized a couple of poems in school, but I wasn’t in theater–accustomed to memorizing lines, and well, I’m not very a disciplined sort.

So, I put together a little ritual on week one and it’s worked very well. First, I write the poem out and then fold it into five portions, a part that I will learn each day. I take it with me on my morning walk and speak it into the countryside to the rhythm of my footfalls. Just as Billy Collins claims,the poem showed no interest in walking by his side, until he’d taken it for a walk, I find it very difficult to internalize a poem without walking with it.

Walking plays a role in much of my creative process. I must walk to find the objects for my art . I do a lot of revision in my head as I’m walking and I carry a small notebook, because I often receive ideas and sometimes entire poems during my perambulations.

It pleased me to read that Billy Collins used, in part, the same method as I, though he doesn’t mention it, I imagine he too, takes a dog with him.

followed only by the plume of her tail

followed only by the plume of her tail

 

Do you have a physical activity that’s integral to your creative process? I’d love to hear about it.

Sepillin

This is Sepillin. One of five dogs who live at the ranch where Felipe works. No, those are not shrunken skulls around his neck, they’re shrunken limes.

A few days ago Sepillin came down with a bone wrecking cough. It was so violent we worried he wouldn’t live through the next bout. Since farm dogs are of little value to their owners, Felipe knew it was unlikely he could convince his boss to treat Sepillin. When he asked for medicine, the man barked dismissively, “Ahhh, just put some limes on him.”

A coworker of Felipe’s who practices brujeria, confirmed this as the appropriate treatment. I rolled my eyes, mumbling, “cheapskate”, and other #%$& things and fled the scene. Felipe made Sepillin a lime collar.

When I returned the next day…Sepillin’s cough was gone! This is truly the most remarkable folk remedy I’ve been witness to. The dog was so ill I don’t think it’s possible that anything other than the limes could have affected his speedy recovery. Three days later he’s still fine, Felipe will remove the collar tomorrow.  This remedy definitely qualifies as very simple, very easy and VERY GOOD. He’s such a goodboy.