This is my second week home in Tucson after a full year mostly away.
The yard is full of flowers, full of life and lizards. The whiptails are friendly, as always, and can be hand-fed. But the best news is that one of Orangelina’s handsome sons, Euell, is in command of the Lurk. He consents to be fed dried worms while he suns himself on the edge of the brick, just as she did, and he is intensely curious about my doings, craning his neck to see what I’m watering, to watch me swim, see who I’m talking to. Most lizards just go about their business, so it’s nice to have another curious one.
This was pretty little Orangelina in her last summer, 2015. Euell will have golden eye patches instead of orange, and his belly is a bright green and blue. He’s still shy of the camera. Orangelina loved to pose.
The birds are having a ball in the gentle spring weather. A young towhee flew into the house earlier, and had to be hand-carried out, shivering from fear. Perhaps it will remember me, that I was gentle. I hope so.
As I work on the books I watch the Gila woodpeckers, finches and hummingbirds careen between the aloe flowers, the honeysuckle, and the jasmine. The flowers of the Carolina jessamine have turned from yellow to white, and the blossoms from the palo verde and citrus trees are almost all on the ground, making an ethereal carpet. Maybe this year the orange and grapefruit trees will keep their fruit. They’re old trees, and take hardships to heart. We haven’t had a really good run of grapefruit or tangerines since the deep freeze of 2011.
There are cardinals, seemingly endless supplies of finches, goldfinches, mockingbirds, doves, towhees, brown thrashers and hummers. I see palo verde beetle holes, but so far none of the ladies have turned up at the pool. Perhaps the young Cooper’s hawks will appear, I always forget when they fledge, but they do it from a tree just down the street.
The house is seeing more activity than just me working in a corner – my friend Eric was here for weeks, taking out the decade-old violet carpet. He’s refinishing the floors, taking them back to their original deep red, softly polished concrete. He plays chess too, and amazingly we each played first board for same high school, although almost a decade apart. We had the same chess coach, the same fierce geometry and English teachers. What are the odds?
Check out the old floors, I love polished concrete, it’s so cool in summer.
The stripping-down process here started as an exercise in getting the house ready to sell, but it turned into something deeper as the months went by; layer after layer went out, and I gave away most of my furniture and more than half of my Things. The more open things become, the better I feel. I still don’t know if I’ll need to sell it, but for now, I’m treating as if I plan to keep it forever, which feels nice.
It’s difficult to answer questions about my future, even when it’s next week, or even when it’s me asking.
Also, I feel I should say, I’ve fallen in love again. It’s a dicey thing, the discussing of a new love after the end of a long and cherished marriage, but this love is so elemental for me that it as time winds on, it’s more of a sin of omission to leave it out than one of bad taste to declare it.
It’s been a year now. Love found me almost as soon as my heart was free. Out of respect, it didn’t seem kind to talk about it earlier, but I have wanted to say that I feel as fierce and as strong as I did when I was ten years old, loved and safe, I run like the wind. I feel unquenchable, unstoppable, and my dreams have wing. We work and play games all of the time; science, architecture, tennis, backgammon, chess, Scrabble, we laugh, we keep moving, working, talking, dreaming. There are notebooks and notebooks full of ideas, he has teams he’s built that are as wide and as deep as my own, brilliant people, carefully curated, loved, encouraged.
Like I can see the difference in one lizard in a sea of lizards, he can see me, shining out, curious, noticing, something radically different in a sea of people going about their business, and I can see him.
I thought I’d be living in Boston by now, but there is still so much to do. So much to do. So, I’m just doing one thing after the next thing, and keeping an open mind and heart, and soon my work will be done and then I’ll be moving forward.
For now, head down, working, giving things away, trying to get as small as I’ve ever been.