I visit in memory. Standing barefoot on a warm sunny afternoon in the front
yard, shaded by cottonwood trees, cool green grass feels safe and
comfortable, time stands still here. Major periods of my life anchored in
this place inform the person I am today.
Three feet tall, running behind to catch up and walk by her side, my tiny
feet learn the different surfaces of our domain. Grass, gravel, and dirt;
the softness compared to rough unforgiving ground. We walk to the
irrigation ditch along the paved main road branching the dirt road to her
house. She points out wild asparagus and we mark them with rocks to harvest
later. Golden grass so tall, it inhibits visibility leading to the
occasional thought of being left behind on our adventures. I call to her
and she calls back, she is my sage on the stage.
Memories as a teenager, visiting with a new-found sense of freedom, pushing
our boundaries, cousins and siblings exploring tell sundown. Like soft
grass and rough gravel roads we teach each other forgiveness, patience, and
endurance. She watches us from the kitchen window, our guide on the side,
she offers us chores to occupy our busy minds while we process the physical
and emotional landscape we play in.
Her funeral was in April, our place green as ever, a timeless joy even as
adults we sparkled with curiosity, what was beyond the horizon, how far
could we venture before she called us back to her table.
Reminded of a composer during WWII who took a pinch of soil to never need
to return; before leaving for the airport I put a spoonful of soil from
under the porch in a tin. Then, remembering a museum exhibit about
indigenous Caribbean people consuming sand to death rather than become
slaves in the 1500s; I took a pinch of soil at the airport and washed it
down before leaving. A promise to her lessons about: home, love and family.
“soy un pedazo de tierra que vale la pena.” – Latinoamerica by Calle 13