Each year is different. This year the fog set in about the 4th. All kinds of grief, anger and fear– their etheric streams braided together in a living, slowly spinning coil in my psyche and throwing off the vapors of each– were rising and swirling in my field as I prepared to go for my (free) birthday soak at Ojo Caliente hot-springs spa. The weather was gloomy, and the frozen roads not friendly to the receding tread on my Honda’s tires. But I felt emboldened to make the attempt.
After sliding around a bit through the icy streets of Santa Fe, old echoes of defeatism from deep history, rising in the convection of the other vapors, corroded my nerve and my morale. I stopped at Sprouts and just wept in the car. Then I used both my lifelines. I called one friend, who listened with great witness and love. I decided I would forgo the drive to Ojo and spend money already doubly and triply promised to other necessities and go just up the hill to Ten thousand Waves.
Feeling newly purposed, I called 10KWaves and learned that they pools were being cleaned and they wouldn’t open for hours. I imploded into tears again and called the second friend. After commiseration and validation from her, I just gathered up my snow-scattered twigs of defiance and drove out of Santa Fe toward Ojo. By then, nearly an hour had passed, and the highway was quite clear. I began to breathe more freely as soon as I cleared the city, and the clouds were lightening as I headed north. By the time I sank into the first and hottest pool at Ojo, I could see the blond disc of the sun burning its way through the clouds. As the sky above cleared, so did my own psyche, though the latter took longer than the former–about 2.5 hours in hot water. When I left after four hours, I was reseated in gratitude and beatitude, and my body floated in cleansed euphoria.
On my appraoch to Santa Fe that evening, I could feel the dolor enveloping me anew as I drove under the heavy ceiling of clouds that it seemed had never lifted over the city that day.
I functioned compassionately around the stupor the following day, making my way to a friend’s home outside Albuquerque for the night, to assure I could get to scheduled therapies the next day in the wake of more snow. When I booted up my computer there late on the 6th, the picture that my supposedly RANDOM desktop picture generator presented was a shot of Dad beaming from the 80s, wearing his “I Love M&M’s” shirt.
And the next morning (the 7th), when I turned on the machine anew, there on the screen was my favorite picture of him and me, from the mid-late 90s, smiling at each-other, with the loving intelligence that defined the best of our relationship.
A few more shots of him cycled through soon after. And then, at the end of the full day, in which I letted a good pint of tears, the last image I was shown was an amazing shot of my hands holding my mother’s on her deathbed.
Golly. How the deep psyche doth love a good tearjerker!
I awoke the next day to more snow falling outside the window of another friend’s in the heights of Albuquerque. It felt almost like the new moon, not scheduled to arrive for a couple more days. The picture that greeted me when I turned on the computer was the bronze face of Durga-Lakshmi, who sits in the snow on a hill overlooking Spanish Creek in Crestone, reminding me that her beneficent, southward gaze was beaming my direction even now.
The song in my head when I woke had been a Tears for Fears refrain: “I don’t suppose …you know.. who you are.”
She had appeared to remind me.
And as I type this account on the 9th, the true new moon, I recall that my potent, if inscrutable, dreams woke me early, and that those mysterious subterranean streams are still flossing my psyche, and that my morning song enjoined “I won’t give in.” (Finn Brothers)
The Sun is out, transforming the snow into happy tears. And the poet spoke early in an SMS exchange with a friend.
In early January, when the veils are thin…
It’s like trying to dredge up
with a fishing pole.
Nothing to do but cradle it
with the motherly hands
of will and imagination
and invite it so rise to the surface,
promising not to besiege it
with the swarming, hungry little jaws of understanding.
January 9, 2016,