My new world

Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you posses. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.

Kent Nerburn

across the highwayThis blog has fallen before so many distractions during the course of the past two months.  The first, of course, is the way of all blogs:  what do I write about?  But, more importantly, life has become full; so full in fact, that I am scrambling to keep various projects moving along. I still keep the books for the UU fellowship, but I’ve relinquished hosting the Sunday post-service coffee hour and I said no to a request for me to become more involved in a behind-the-scenes kind of way.

The rains stopped sometime around the middle of July – there has been a day or two or three since then when we’ve had deluges, the most recent having been last Saturday as I walked home from S’s house; luckily she had furnished me with a broad, sturdy umbrella that was ideal for the walk home that night.

As part of my volunteer work with Jovenes Adelante I have been installing a data base (I also updated their email system and redesigned their web site, and as a result of the latter I had some significant writing to do). I also became more deeply involved in the technical aspects of today’s web.  That work was the time sinkhole, the space of negative density into which all my time seemed to revolve and into which my energy fell.  I’m coming out of that having  met one-on-one with all the board members and significant volunteers during which I demonstrated the capacities of the various systems. I wrote a presentation to the board, which I will deliver this coming Tuesday.

In addition to technical work, I’ve been getting to know an intern and two employees who work in the office.  They are smart, energetic, diligent young Mexican women who I am sure will create good lives for themselves.  One is currently the beneficiary of a JA scholarship and two are university graduates who had been recipients.  One of them has invited me to be a friend on Facebook, something by which I felt very honored.  We have fun together and I think they’re glad to have someone from the organization around … some volunteers stop by the office, but no one really works at the office except them … and now they see me a few times a week so relationships are forming.

I traveled to some Board Member’s homes and that was where we talked about the new system and got to know one another.  That forced me to take local buses (5 pesos, about 35 cents) and then, all of a sudden, something felt different.  On one bus two young men were busking, playing guitar and banjo and unlike Paris or San Francisco or other places I’ve lived, people on the bus thought their playing was fun – and it was, immensely so.  Now the chamber music festival is in process.  This past Wednesday night pianist Ana Cervantes played a wide-ranging repertoire that captivated me, but that left my Baroque-loving friend S not very moved.

In line (before the concert) and while chatting in the lobby after there were at least a dozen people who said “hi” or who chatted with us.  After having lived for years in large cities where hardly anyone knew me and before that in small towns where I hoped no one would know me, I am known and it feels good.

During the middle of the month B moved into the main house – she says that last year she rented the casita. She now has two former tenants visiting her, former neighbors of hers here at the house and casita. B has three cats, smokes, has a Foghorn Leghorn voice, and likes her television loud and her windows open.  I dislike cats and hate cigarette smoke, some of which I thought was permeating my clothes.  I thought I would move out and told the landlord so, but the casita is so pleasant that I don’t want to leave and the owner offered some concessions for me to stay, so I will.

I had two friends from the fellowship over for dinner along with two visiting ministers.  That was the first entertaining I’ve done at the casita.  Shrimp in a salsa, aguacate-limon-jalapeno soup, chicken grilled by the neighborhood wizards, tres leches cake. Then there’s C, whom I’ve been helping with her visa to India.  She tells stories that have me laughing so hard the tears form, and the laughter is so strong it wipes away any memory I have of the story.  She leaves, I’m exhausted, and can’t remember anything we talked about.  The laughter is like the flashing thing that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones used in Men In Black to erase any memory of what a witness has seen.

There was more to the month.  L, the woman who cleans the casita, is pregnant and I’d like to find a special baby blanket for her.  She has two boys and I hope – and for some reason believe I’m right – she has a girl.  She doesn’t – and doesn’t want to – know the baby’s gender.  I suspect she’s hoping girl.

So this is my new world, the place I now call home.

CPE Bach Sonata in G major

Ana Cervantes played this the other evening.  This recording is not by her.

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