Climb ev’ry mountain

Sun and shade in our rock garden

Recently, Jamie invited one of his colleagues and our neighbor, Jane (pseudonym), to share nachos and have a beer. I had only met her once before when I had driven into Thoreau in early September. A young, barefoot, red-haired, well-dressed woman had come running out of her house across the driveway separating the rows of neatly built duplexes for teachers and hugged and welcomed me to Thoreau. So, this was almost a month later, and I was looking forward to getting to know her. The next few hours flew by in the whirlwind of a conversation that swept through our living room and left us with only crumbs from the nachos, fingerprints on the beer glasses, and many thoughts that hung heavy like the lingering scent of the incense I burned.

One of many pics taken from inside my car as I drove east on I-40 on Sep 22

We talked about Jane and about TFA (Teach for America) since she is a second-year TFA corps member. We talked about Yale (Jane’s Alma mater), her major (Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies) other Ivy League schools, her objectives, her native Tennessee, her experiences as a Special Education teacher, her credentialing courses at Gallup, her friends at Crownpoint, Tohatchi, Shiprock, her upcoming trip to WindowrockChurchrockLas Cruces, Pie Town, Socorro, etc.

yes, it’s dry in the desert.

One evening, Jane came over to dry her laundry and brought a lovely piece of lemon cake she got at Gallup when she went out for her education class. I was making Thai stir fry and offered her some. So, she settled back into one of our Ikea chairs and started to tell us about her day while her clothes spun around in the machine down in the hallway. Then Jamie spotted our neighbor, Cynthia (pseudonym), walking back from her running practice (she’s training for a half-marathon), and stepped out to say hi to her. I went after him and asked Cynthia if she wanted any food to which she said yes and so we all ate Thai stir fry and rice with Jamie explaining the amazing qualities of Basmati to everyone. It was a nice evening, all in all.

This is a typical scene we see driving around to anywhere.

The other day, our housing maintenance person in charge came over to fix our bathtub, and as we were having coffee, he talked about many things. He said that the students here in Thoreau are not going to go anywhere after school. They have no hope, nothing to look forward to. There is nothing for them here, and as soon as they’re done with school, they’ll go back home to drinking and drugs. They’re poor, that’s all. Most homes I have seen thus far are mobile homes.

I think this is near Needles.

Yesterday, I heard a report on CNN about Detroit’s status as “food desert.” Funny, because Jane called Thoreau a food desert not so long ago, and I thought to myself, she’s right. I am having such a hard time finding fresh vegetables and fruit. I also noticed that the few restaurants and diners we have eaten in so far do not really offer fresh items on their menus. And what does come to the table looks a bit starved for freshness.

Here are links to some of the articles I recently read:

Oaklandfood.org
USDA FOOD ATLAS
The extent of limited food access in the United States
Five days in the food desert – PBS
New Mexico Independent

Go, Michelle Obama!

Wanted to get as many clouds as possible!

As I appreciate the stark beauty of the desert, I am also tuning myself with its cycle of life. High winds, quick and unexpected thunderstorms, dry, dry, skin, and dehydration, lots of sunlight, really cool temperatures at night that my basil and thyme might succumb to soon.

A mesa in the distance and a perspective that makes you want to keep driving to catch up with it

Yesterday evening, a neighbor knocked on our door and told us to close and lock our doors since he had just come back from school where someone in a red Corvette had a gun and was threatening to his own life. I had googled suicides in Thoreau before moving here. And this neighborly alert brought it closer to home. Today, they’re having a special training and intervention session at the school for the staff.

Navajo Times
KRQE
Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico Independent
Thoreau Crisis Intervention Clinic-IHS
Navajo Nation

Nearing New Mexico

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