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.

 

 

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Can’t Plant Me in Your Penthouse

going back to my plough…

On my way home today. Corn and sorgum is harvested and ground, as you can see from the new header, the flowers and crops are gone. This is my favorite time of year.

I will miss you Larry.

Speak with Stones

The Amate. If you look closely you can see Felipe sitting in the crouch, just to give you an idea of its size.

The Amate. If you look closely you can see Felipe sitting in the crouch, just to give you an idea of its size.

It’s been a rough year: illness and death, and, the just damn hard existence it is farming, and living in rural Mexico. I was looking at the “signs”, wondering… is it possible it’s time to leave? I like to believe there are signs, that life has a purpose and meaning and that if I’m present I’ll see the patterns and find my way. I totally believed that when I arrived in Mexico, it’s easier to believe when mostly life goes well. It’s more difficult to see meaning when you’re sick, broke, you lose your joy, and the place you love most in the world threatens your life.

Felipe gave up on the philosophy years ago. When I suggest an occurrence has a deeper significance, he replies, “I’ll think about that when I’m consistently able to feed us without worry.”  But, being the wonderful partner he is, also says, “If we need to leave, Abby, then we’ll go. There is nothing more important than your health. I’m not attached to anything here.”

A week ago I went home for a visit, to prepare Felipe to spend another week without me as he works full time and takes care for our farm and animals, alone. Amid the cooking and cleaning, I found time for a walk, not the same walk where I lost Lilly; still, it was into the wilderness. There, I felt joy for the first time in a long time. I went home and sat under my tree, I was breathing deeply with the help of new, more effective treatment.  I thought of this poem I wrote a couple of years ago, about some of the wondrous experiences I’ve had, and I knew this was still my home, here, beneath the Amate.

Speak with Stones by Abby Smith, Hear it Here!

 

Speak with Stones

“Do all stones speak?”
“No, only the ones that breathe.”
Blackfoot Physics, F. David Peat

 

I too have gone to live
In the woods
Nothing novel in that

There, I’ve sat at the feet
Of a turtle with the Buddha
On its back

I have climbed
The layers of water that ladder
To the sky

I’ve echoed a chant
Till the devils in me
Conceded to vibrate high

I’ve marveled in tears
As an eagle swept away
With my charge

I’ve dance in the fire of devotion
Then sifted the ashes
Of my own heart

I’ve gathered together
Pieces of the greatest warrior
I’ve ever known

I have stepped from the threshold
Hundreds of times without knowing
The depths below

I have gone to the woods
And I’m not coming back
Until I can speak with stones

Morning at the Piedra R ahada

Morning at the Piedra R ahada

For those of you who’ve followed this story and have genuine concern for my well-being, many practical measures are being employed to ensure my healthy long term return to the Piedra Rahada, I’m not relying on metaphor, signs, potions…well not entirely : )  Thank you all for your support and kind comments. Paz, Abby 

And a very special thanks to my friend Larry Prater, without whom, I truly would have lost hope.

 

The Fourth Ship

caravel[1]

Some fantasize about leaving their reasonable lives of routine and moving to an exotic land . I dream about being an accountant. If only my passion was the tidy logic of columns and sums, not the metaphor of alchemy or search for meaning in a swallow’s cursive scrawl, I would not have to leave the comfort of my couch, my book, my afghan– hunting epiphany.

As much as I long for security and stasis, I must risk. The self that roils within does not allow for security. I must throw myself into the wind , seek the impractical but passionate dream— hazard failure without remorse.

I dive and fall, and trust life to carry me to the surface, for I too, am the fourth ship.

I recite, Carmen Tafollas, Voyage.

Which ship are you?

 For the next several weeks, vsvevg will be published from the United States of America.