Childhood memories of going camping in Southern Utah’s Lake Powell for instance. Details of my cousin’s who had a Grandma Barlow. She on the house boat when it became unanchored and floated away, the line of coolers and the campfire. My Uncle Tim’s kids swimming, even my cousin Dale’s voice when she was five. It was deep for such a little girl. A memory of telling ghost stories. The time my mom scared my cousin with that old lady mask at the campfire. My Junior Prom night with a boyfriend and my mother carefully helping pin in my corsage. The smell of the corsage–moist on my white dress, smelling of flowers and preservative, the rigid feeling of the pin and the heaviness of a wilting flower. Our family trip to Germany when I was 12, driving in the rental car on the windy roads. My little brother Sean and me laughing in the back seat.
The other night, I stayed home with my 11 year-old daughter while Marty took the boys to a friend’s house for dinner. We laid in bed and looked at a map of the world. I showed her everywhere I have been, pointing carefully, naming the places. I showed her everywhere she has been. The world looked small. There was this intimacy between us I have never felt with her before. Because there has been time together here, and much less stress. I am not distracted. My mind feels lucid and clear.
I have, for the first time, deeply connected to her inner world. I tickled her back a she fell asleep and I remembered my Gramma doing the same for me- holding me close, the smell of garlic on her sleeping breath. I was appreciating how Gramma was such an advocate for the innocent and helpless….animals, children, plants. She had deep empathy for others’ experience. She took the time to really listen, to get to know me in a way that made me feel seen and understood. I realized that I was doing that for the first time with my daughter. And I realized that moving here created that space. I also realized that taking her away from my parents prevented that kind of space and time for them and her to connect the way Gramma and I did. That made me sad.
Yesterday, we heard from our friend that the Tico who has been coming to the house had stolen tools from another Gringo. We asked around, and a neighbor said it was actually his brother who had stolen the tools. It was a special incident where another Gringo didn’t pay him and he had an ax to grind. But then she told us the family down the street (Who are a Gringo and Tico mixed couple) were burgled and had a ton of stuff stolen. She said everyone knew who did it. Its the guy with the drug problem in the next pueblo down from us. Its weird here because there seems to be one or two guys here who steal from everyone and have a drug problem, but no one confronts them, and the police don’t help either. Its like the Wild West. I don’t know what the truth is, but it made me feel insecure about being here, and getting our stuff stolen too.
There’s a different kind of vigilance like that here. But then I remembered when my car door was smashed in the States last year and my wallet stolen. The police did come, they were very nice, and nodded in disgust about the thieves. But they did absolutely nothing to help me get my stuff back. The people even used my ID and credit cards at stores and I asked why they couldn’t us security camera tapes to identify them (why are they there then?), and they just shrugged. There’s a feeling at home to “Let the authorities take care of it”, and they write their little report, but they don’t really help get your anything back, or bring justice. And here, everyone keeps assuring us, there’s almost no violent crime. But I don’t know, I guess its that I feel like a newcomer. I get tired of constantly being in learning mode. And not really knowing where the dangers are, or even if there are any.
After a night of tossing and turning, thinking about how much I miss my family, miss the familiar, worrying about if this place is stimulating enough for the kids, where to buy land and build a home…I woke up to the myriad of exotic bird calls and a gorgeous sunrise and knowing I have the whole day to spend in nature, with my little family. It all seems happy and good now.