Free, Free, Eee, Ack

“I’m free, I’m free” yelps the little balloon, joyfully.

Up, up and away he flies.

A crisp October morning. Blue skies.

“Let’s go north, let’s go north”.

But, the wind has other plans.

South he blows. Away from the irrigated, green fields of the North Valley and the Rio Grande River. Away from the lavender fields of Los Poblanos and the calm beauty of Corrales.

“Wait, wait,” he says. They told me to go north. I’m never supposed to go south. Or worst of all, east. Mountains.

Towards the Shell station he blows. Up and over the Frontage Road, the Target parking lot, and then, the thing he’s been warned about all along… the freeway. Cars swerve below as distracted motorists attempt photos while driving.

“More heat, more gas,” he gasps. Oh, no, he worries, they’ll never let me fly alone again.

A traffic jam has formed below. Cars stop on the freeway, waiting to see where he might land. A child in the backseat of a minivan waves.

Other balloons are heading his way. He’s not alone.

One last push and he makes it to the median. A grassy space just big enough for a basket and a deflating balloon.

His chase crew’s truck is near. The walkie-talkie crackles. A family pulls over and asks to take a photo with him.

“Sure,” he smiles. As the family piles out of their station wagon, his crew’s truck arrives. “That was close,” they say.

And just as he hopes that mom and dad will never know, he looks up to see them floating by.

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Grounded

Balloon Fiesta 2019

Like an army waiting to attack, balloons wait, tethered. Across the desert, under an opaque and dense layer of fog, the first and only of 2019.

Sometimes there’s nothing to do but wait. Chill. Sit. See what comes.

The sun burns through, too late.

There’s always tomorrow.

Crossed Paths

A serval crosses the road in front of us, thousands of miles away from anywhere that a serval should cross the road. We stop the car and stare. Native to sub Saharan Africa, we are in northern New Mexico, driving home from an unsuccessful wild mushroom hunt at the Santa Fe ski area. He, or she, saunters across the road, in no hurry, in no way scared of us. What is it? Not a leopard, nor a lynx or ocelot. Three days later a serval is lured into a cage with a rotisserie chicken by the department of Game and Fish and our question is answered. How it came to be there, no one knows. An exotic escapee from someone’s nearby mansion? Possibly.

A friend sends a message about what big cat sightings might mean.

Caracal symbolizes timing, catching your dreams, and self-care. 

Caracal is an amazing jumper, the best catcher of birds of any cats. You can spring forth your desires, leap ahead, and catch your dreams when the timing is right.

Two days later, a coyote crosses my path in broad daylight. Through a patch of sunflowers, on its way to the river, a brief look my way and it continues on. Keep it light, the trickster reminds me.

Yesterday, a snail inches his way across my porch. A trail of dots in its wake. Slow and steady. Keep going, little dude. 

Timing. Patience. Presence. Keep it Light. Catch those Dreams.

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Heat

It’s smokin’ hot outside. End of August, usually cooling down by now, a bit. The Amazon is burning. On August 18th Iceland held a funeral for Okjökull glacier, its first to disappear due to climate change. It’s hot outside but not as hot as next summer or the one after that.

And yet, life continues. The stock market makes the news. Presidential hopefuls discuss health care, taxes, tariffs, and sometimes the climate. Babies are born. Kids start school. We drive and eat and cook and camp and make things and go to work because, what else can we do?

The iceberg had been hit but we are all still on the boat and so the band plays on.

I planted a garden in the spring and, besides watering daily, proceeded to mostly ignore it. And yet, it grew. Chard, kale, tomatoes, basil, beets, and carrots. So forgiving.

How to stay engaged when it is all so big, so staggeringly big and important? What to do when it seems there’s nothing to be done? Small choices. Unplug your plugs. No more beef. Grow veggies. Hang laundry to dry. Use a ceiling fan. Ban plastic.

Lately I spend more time with young children and their parents than ever in the past. They have an optimism, out of necessity, that I latch on and cling to. No time for cynicism.

Keep going. Nature has a way of balancing and renewing. In this case I don’t know what that will look like but, don’t give up!

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Summmmmer.

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For the first time in fifteen years, I am having a summer vacation. Like the analog kind I remember from the 1980’s and early 90’s, pre- summer jobs. Hence the infrequent posts. The heat has turned off my ability to think clearly and I find myself wanting to read other’s words (books!!) rather than write my own.

Pools, oceans, tents, hikes, streams, hammocks, books, gardens…

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Zucchini in the spiralizer, steamed lightly with tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and roasted chicken.  Smoothies blended with chard from the garden, peaches, and ice.

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Two weeks on Cape Cod, living out the summer of my daydreams. Ponds, rope swings, bike paths, and ice cream.  Surfer’s crowd each other as rare summer waves make an appearance on a Friday evening in Rhode Island. Thai food eaten in a VW bus in the parking lot at sunset.

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Small wooden sailboats in a harbor, near Woods Hole, MA. I love them.

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I’m home now. Late summer is upon us. Two weeks until school begins, though that feels exceedingly early. It’s hot and muggy in the desert. The monsoons are here. No plans to travel this fall, at least not far. Routine and rhythm kick back in. Jobs call. Vintage clothing to be photographed and sold. The occasional film set beckons.

It’s been a sweet summer dream. And now a new one begins.

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Happy. 4th of July.

One year ago I was living in LA, it was 104 degrees, down from a crazy heatwave high of 114, and I watched fireworks from the roof of my apartment in Silver Lake.

Life changes fast, people. When it does.

One year later, I watch bunnies feast in a Cape Cod backyard, beneath a bird feeder filled with cardinals. Burgers and dogs on the grill. A day at the beach, sand in the eyes, sandcastles, bike rides, a fight or two, boys.

Couldn’t be more different. One year.

I haven’t written much lately. In it, swirling, no time to analyze, just act, go, respond.

It’s a good thing.

Present tense.

Then I begin to worry… without angst, what to write about?

Learning curves vs. angst. One moves forward. One in circles, spirals, backwards, or worse, stagnation. I was scared of the former for so long. But, why? The second will slowly eat you up.

Now, what to write?

Seven years to the day since I sat on a train in Moab, waiting for the clouds to clear so we could resume shooting a scene for the movie we were working on; a friend begins to call me Smagik on that ride, after making fun of me for something I said. The word is born. The blog, seven months later. An outlet for both confusion and clarity.

Seven years. One year. Time. Nothing changes, until one day you realize everything is different.

Boom!

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Summer

Strangely delicious Italian food in Gila Bend, Arizona, after a quick post drive dip in the pool.

A bunny stops, silhouetted in the light of San Elijo State Beach’s bathroom, and stares a me, frozen, and I begin to brush my teeth.

It’s been years since I’ve been camping. Lattes, croissants, and groceries a short walk away, just over the PCH and the train tracks. Not the camping I’m used to. Each night I sleep better than the night before, traffic and trains blurring into white noise. I envy the kids’ ability to shut it out completely.

Red eyes from days of sun and salt.

S’mores.

A quick detour to Williams, Arizona, on the drive home. The Grand Canyon in its late morning, early summer glory. The perfect knife found in a general store.

Open roads, canyons, beaches, and picnics.

The first summer I can remember spending off of a film set in a very long time.

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