Him and Me: 5

On the second day, I gave in to weeping.
I couldn’t help it.
It’s not as if I hadn’t wondered, often, how I would continue our way of life if he weren’t here.

Sometimes my imaginings took me down the path of wonder that brings one to the place of “the emotion aroused by something awe-inspiring, astounding, or marvelous.” Yes, in those daydreams I could do it all. Chop Wood, Carry Water and all that. Perhaps, in those dreams, I didn’t factor in the felling of trees, the repairing of plumbing, the seemingly endless tasks around this place that require digging, but I was still a badass. I might have even worn a cape.

More often than not, though, my thoughts would be trudging down the darker path, the one that leads to a doubt-laced curiosity. Could I handle it, I wondered? Animals, feathered and not; wet chores as well as the dry; subsistence farming and a full-time job; decent bonfires and car repairs?
No, not really.
Would everything fall apart around me?
Yes, probably.

When he called to tell me he was on his way to the emergency room and would likely be out of commission for a while, my first instinct was to panic. But…the piglets are coming, the garden extension isn’t tilled and we have 90 tomato and pepper plants waiting in the wings, and about three hundred other pressing man projects.

Man projects. I wondered, then, when did I start labeling homestead projects according to gender? How long has it been since we simply fell into roles we never meant to, and just blissed on through it until someone got broken?

He plans; I plant.  I cook; he does the dishes.
He creates spaces, structures and systems; I maintain them.
I pay the bills; he avoids them. He takes care of the animals; I love on them.
I make art; he doesn’t because he’s too busy making sure our house doesn’t fall apart.
He does the dirty work; I tell him where it is. I snuggle; he reads the bedtime story.

On the second day, with his swollen appendage elevated and on ice, I thought about all the times I wondered what I would do if he weren’t around. The third time the ducks were in the garden that day when I was in the middle of trying to put out some other kind of fire, I wept and then…I stopped weeping.
No, nothing was going to fall apart around me.
He may be broken, but he’s here, and he can teach me, if I’m willing.

On the third day, I ran machines I was previously terrified of and found it to be an empowering experience. The next day, I gave an herbal remedy to the rooster with a sore throat. That was nothing after discovering the bloated chipmunk who had drowned in a bucket and realizing that I couldn’t pass that off to anyone but me. I do the dirty work for the next six weeks. Even if it involves maggots and trying not to puke while I slosh fermented rodent stew out to the woods for disposal.

Is there a cape for that?

I wonder…

And no, nothing is going to fall apart around me.




Re-posted from Literary Traces, as per usual.

This would be the reason there were no weekend updates to the shop. I’ll try to manage it in the next few days, but in the meantime, please enjoy a coupon: HIMANDME for 15% off anything in the shop.


Him and Me: 4

Originally posted on Literary Traces


We didn’t have any lawn chairs, so we just sat down on the roof, sticky with loquat, to watch the sun setting. Sometimes we would pretend the lanai was in a tropical place, and if we tried really hard, the freeway sounded just like the ocean.

It was new to me, sleeping in the open air. And it was perfect. I never wanted four walls around me again. Except for on the extra-cold nights. And that handful of times the neighbors did things that didn’t smell so great or sound so great. Or when I was on my period. I liked the walls, then; I don’t know why.

The cat enjoyed the futon under the lanai, too. We would pile blankets over us and then he would curl up atop, like a bow on a present. It was all cat breath and gentle breeze.

He is gone now, and I wonder who sleeps under the roof of the lanai.

This evening I watch the sun setting through the trees, behind the hills, instead of through buildings and behind the fence.
I feel the gentle breeze on my face and go inside to sleep within four walls.

Him and Me: 2

Our topic this week at Literary Traces is Elements. It inspired another when-we-were-young sort of story…


It is morning, and we escape.

Out of our neighborhood that is only slightly less sketchy than the next street over, where the gas station attendant was shot to death last week.
Away from the loquat trees and the boy next door, who shuffled heavily and carelessly through my little garden to spray ant poison all over his house and the herbs I was growing for tea.
Out of the city, out of the walls and doors and artificial light of every day.
Away from the ceaseless grating whirr of Carlos’ blender. What does he blend all day? 

It doesn’t matter. Today, we are free. 
This is the precious day of the week when your “weekend” day overlaps with mine, the day we set out early and expect to come home late. It’s just us these days, and we take our ritual cleansing very seriously as we set out into the wild.

At first, we thought we would go to a different place each time, finding strange paths to get lost on…breathing in the forest one week, salty sea air the next. But, it didn’t work that way. You see, we found a home. It was the place where we really lived together after a week of going through the motions of our city life routine, of punching time clocks and making the bed, paying bills and folding laundry.

I don’t remember the exact moment it became ours. It happened so organically we didn’t even notice we had forsaken every other wild place on the planet for this one glorious creek.
And so this morning, we escape. We go home.

You know, there was this boy I used to come here with. Before you. We would climb together and he didn’t know about the creek or at least never thought it was worth taking the time away from Little Yosemite to explore. It was different, the climbing thing. I was always trying to get somewhere. I had a goal and I would accomplish it and then I would go home. The elements were all there to be conquered or tolerated.

And then you brought me to the creek and we had no goal except to have no goal. We didn’t try to get anywhere. And the elements were all there to bask and bathe in, to give ourselves up to entirely.

We roll up our pants and step right in, shoes and all. It’s what we do every time, so we can be ready for anything. The chill of the water can be shocking, but we know that within an hour, the sun will be searing any exposed flesh and we will be glad of having some part of ourselves in the water. This is not a place to swim. It’s shallow, just up to our knees at the highest, and full of creatures tiny and not so tiny. We always enter at the same shady spot and just follow the green snake of the creek up, up, up, and although it is the same path each time, it always feels new.


There are boulders to scramble on and places where the trail meets the creek and follows alongside for a while. If we’re going to encounter any other humans, this is where it happens, but most of the time it is our own kingdom.

Perhaps this is why we always come back. Here, we feel like the only two people left on earth. It is you and I, the hot, dry air, sometimes heady with sulfur, the fiery intensity of California sun in high Summer, the solid rock beneath our feet and our backs when we sprawl out for a post-meal rest, and the water that cools our baked skin and provides a glassy surface for skipping stones.sunol4

Just that.

Senses buzzing, this kingdom of ours glittering in such crystal clear focus…
The everyday drifts apart and the gunshots, sticky loquat and Carlos’ blender are many thousands of miles away.


Eventually, we come back to the place we call home but isn’t home, a little dazed and drunk with thirst and hunger and happiness, ready to fast forward to the next day when your weekend overlaps with my weekend, when we can once again wash away all the stuff in between that gets in the way of living.



Golly, what babies we were. Wow.

Him and Me: 1

Why not begin a new regular feature? This one doesn’t have a particular day of the week, just a whenever-I’m-inspired-but-in-the-back-of-my-mind-as-a-thing kind of a thing going on.

I wrote this piece for my Wednesday contribution to Literary Traces, where you can read new work every day by a rotating group of lovely writers.

Our topic this week is SKY:


It was wide open above us.

There is nothing like a desert sky.

Nothing like a desert sky to fill one simultaneously with the weight of insignificance and the lightness of purpose.

Nothing like a desert sky to expand into, endlessly, and yet feel grounded beneath its immensity.

We lay under the desert sky, our fingers entwined. The smooth rock under our backs was solid, but the vastness above us made us feel untethered to gravity’s pull. All those days were a dream, but that night we spent in J-Tree…we floated. Up and up, above ourselves, inside and out of all the dreams we were discovering we shared.

All day we had skipped across giant boulders, tripping lightly and laughing, sometimes collapsing into each other, sometimes chasing, sometimes caught in our own silent reveries. We were like feathers tenderly tossed about by a gentle breeze, finally settling on the warm surface of the rock only to be caught up again and again. The sun seemed strong, but it was November and so it didn’t make us dizzy, just warm all through and energized. Our heads were clear, wide open like the sky above us.

We thought about pitching our tent at the campsite, once we’d ambled back in the early evening. There was a perfect spot, flat and free of debris, where hundreds (thousands?) of tents had spent the nights previous to this. A boulder loomed, like a protector. We would be in its shadow, perhaps, when the full moon rose. Until then, our day had been free of shadows, so why should we want one now? We climbed, and the great boulder was flat on top, the perfect size for a nest of sleeping bags and blankets. The tent remained behind and we made our camp, free of shadows, beneath the deep blue-black of the desert sky.

There is nothing like a desert sky.

First, there were stars, and beneath them we made Grand Plans. We reached as far as those stars with our breathless, excited talk. And then we lost our tethers. We were stars. There was nothing we could not do with the jet pack power of new love, and we lingered up in dreamland until the darkness faded. It was like daylight but it was not daylight.

There is nothing like a desert sky.

I read The Fog Horn, out loud, by the light of the full moon that night. It sobered us, the unrequited longing of a sea monster for a lighthouse, our own longing to live forever in those stars that were already fading from view with the white-yellow intensity of the moon’s glow. Ah, it is fleeting, our time in the stars! The next day, we would move on, to places where tall trees and buildings cut the sky into ribbons. To places where the tethers would hold.

We didn’t know how long they would hold.

Where, now, is our wide open sky?


10 1/2 years ago. I’m gonna go let that blow my mind for a while.