And no, I do not generally have my books and journals on the kitchen counter. They were only gathered together there briefly (next to chocolate chip cookies on a rack and fresh fruits and vegetables in bowls and my cell phone on the charger) so I could economize on the number of images for this post, because the only way I have wifi “in place” (the library in Willcox, along with the schools, is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic) is by using my phone to create a hotspot, and while I have unlimited calling and texting on the phone, I do not have unlimited data, and I’ve been burning through my available data so far this month, posting to my various blogs and keeping up with friends on Facebook.
So the cell phone makes possible the online part of my life at present. It also makes possible the all-important calling and texting with family and friends — family as far away as Michigan, friends as near as right across the road, because we are all practicing social distancing, in order to stay safe and keep others safe, as well.
My journals have taken on new importance for me as the days go by. Begun in December, they were only some kind of scrapbook-in-words, recording what I wanted to hold as memories of another winter in my beloved southeast Arizona. Gradually larger issues crept in and now absorb many pages, but even so, I continue to record the small and near at hand. My journal entries are free-ranging, like the cattle here in Dos Cabezas: there’s no saying where they may wander.
This morning I noticed a phenomenon connected to handwriting — the way my mind runs out ahead of my hand and shapes and reshapes sentences as they are being written. Once in a while I go back to scratch out a word or insert a phrase, but most of the time my insertions and deletions have been done mentally before my pen has gotten farther along. The rhythm of writing by hand, on paper, is very different from what I’m doing now, tapping at a keyboard, fingers flying, and seeing my words appear on a screen in front of me. The screen is more distant than the page, the page much more intimate. But some of what I write on my journal pages I later translate to the screen, and even when what you find here was composed on a screen rather than a page, I hope some of the intimacy of my thoughts comes through for you, my readers.
You already know I do a lot of reading. That’s been evident from the very beginning posts of this blog in 2007. The comfort of books is not limited to reading them, however. There is looking at them and touching them, admiring them on the shelves. And now, beginning yesterday, in a more librarian-type undertaking, I began the task of making a catalog of my Western collection. So far the catalog is only author, title, category (broadly conceived), but I may go back and add publication dates. Already the nascent catalog been helpful to me in seeing where there are gaps in my personal library. For example, I’ve read books on Cochise, but those were library books. I have books of my own on Victorio and Geronimo but none on Cochise.
We’ve all been cooking and baking more, haven’t we? What delicious meals and treats are coming out of your kitchen these days? Food is such a comfort! Even the aromas of food add to our quality of life, don't they?
The Artist and I consider ourselves very fortunate, in that we are not sequestered in a city apartment (snowbound or otherwise) but can get out in the sunshine every day. The Artist has set up a little studio space in an outbuilding, Sarah and I have adventures with our neighbors, and for all of us there are daily explorations very close to home. So much to discover in a a ghost town, where traces of the past linger to the present day!
Often when I am on the phone with my son (our conversations daily since the unexpected decline and death of his father mere weeks ago), I am outdoors, and part of what I’m seeing I describe to my son and sometimes photograph, either while we’re talking or after we’ve ended our chat for the day. He also tells me what's happening in his world, where yesterday it was snowing in Kalamazoo and where he often sees deer in the backyard. We picture each other's worlds across the miles that way.
I don’t often look straight up into the sky and might have missed this unique cloud formation, had I not been on the phone. The tiny, tiny flowers (most people would call them weeds) I would no doubt have noticed sooner or later, but because I was sitting in one place, I saw them sooner.
The Artist and I have not been taking long drives to other areas of Cochise County for a while now, but there is plenty to notice and wonder and learn about right here in our own backyard. Next time I post here, I think it will be about adobe. But we’ll see. The “situation,” local, national, global, is changing daily. While I see right now a cardinal in the mesquite in front of the cabin, tomorrow it will undoubtedly appear somewhere else, and it could be that what I anticipate sharing with you the next time I write here will be superseded by another story.
And you have stories of your own, too. What are they? This was Michigan when we left in December. So much has happened since then, it seems like a lifetime ago. Does it seem that way to you, too?