Selkie and I left Katie and Maya when? I’m unraveling a bit. OK, it was March 11th. I loved Flagstaff and being with my old friend, could have stayed longer but was drawn south…. now I’m at the barricaded border and can go no further… but let me chrono this so I can at least order my own brain a little.
So, Flagstaff is balmy during the day and freezing at night. The snow was slowly melting and the dogs took advantage of the patches to have mock battles. Maya was a Hopi Rez dog when Katie adopted her and she is at her best when she’s out free. Selkie loved it.
Next stop was to visit my cousin Suzy and her husband in Sun City West, a gated suburb of Phoenix. They love their friends and community and it was a welcome respite despite my constant longing for the open desert and people of the same political/world view… I love them though and really appreciate their kindness to Selkie and I. It was good to see them well and happy. (The photo also shows their friend Allison who I enjoyed meeting poolside.)
It was 45 minutes out and about an hour and a half back to visit Jim Pike and drop off the bike that Michael had taken from Bob Pike’s estate after his death. Now it passed to Jim. Poor Jim had just been robbed the night before while he was at work (psych nurse.) His house was depressing and I cried when I left him… Michael and I came from different worlds. The Pike family had 5 kids and the parents worked in the Miro Aluminum plant in Manitowoc, Wi. I’m not sure how the kids were parented but both parents worked and the kids grew up. Michael was close to two of his siblings but as the eldest he was out and gone, first to University then to the war before they even left home. He was the bad boy, the hero, the athlete, the big brother. He talked a lot to Jim on the phone after he got sick… I want the best for Jim and it saddens me that he struggles. (Photo refuses to download.)
The next part of the saga was to the Tucson Book Festival on Sunday, the 15th. I met up with my old friend from the Women’s Campaigns to Guatemala ’92 and ’94, Linda Hanna, who has been living for many years in Oaxaca. She has a B&B there and promotes the work of local folk artists. She’s a year older than me and is riding her bike (with her brother and “boyfriend”) across the US to St. Augustine, Fl. They are in a large group of 43 riders and many support people with mean age of 63. All buff, all amazing! They were camped out in Santa Catalina State Park north of Tucson so after we heard a panel at which Linda’s friend, Peg Bowden (author of A Land of Hard Edges,) spoke with other authors about the border, we went up to the park and I got to eat and camp with the riders for the night.
In the retelling and catching up I found myself curiously muted by all that my life has been. Picking through it for the morsels that connect us… The stories of Michael’s death and Orien’s life somehow more than what my own evolution has been. A little about work. A little about the peace work and about Riparia and the dog… Linda was sparkling with health and liveliness. It is hard for me to even conceptualize the ride they took when she was leaving me… “a short day.” She said that it was the most spiritually actualizing thing she has ever done because she is always in the NOW.
After the riders left I had the very good fortune to go walking with Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa, editors of The Nuclear Resister. I met Felice briefly years ago at Creech or the Nevada Test Site and I have had the good fortune to interview Jack twice on the Peace and Justice Program but their paper and the loving respect they have shown to all those arrested for acts of Conscience for over 25 years of publication puts me in the deepest gratitude and admiration which has even increased as they went out of their way to come out to hike with me and bring a much appreciated healthy picnic. We saw rattle snake, horned toad, feast of flowers, cactus wren nest, vermillion flycatchers building their nests…
Finally, my dance card was empty and my plans scrambled by my inability to locate my passport. I wandered south. Cried when stopped for want of a brake light. Couldn’t figure out a place to stay for the night. Finally, content and rested here in Nogales on the border. Can’t cross over because of Selkie.
Facing this lostness and confusion is easier today..