In New Mexico, in September there is always the promise of a storm somewhere near, a thunder that rarely reaches you. There is always mud between your toes, and there is always something to eat. I am stilled by the landscape and the intention in everything from how they till the soil to how they pray at night. And still, I think of you.
There is a story told to kids here, folklore to keep them from swimming in the ditch bank, about a woman who killed her children and cries there at night. La Lorona. They say you can hear her if you listen quietly. They say don’t swim. There are dangers and beauty in equal measure it seems everywhere I turn as of late.
We go up into the mountains to sleep in a cave carved from sandstone so that mother earth can literally wrap herself around us and I can cry too. In the morning we walk down to the river, cloudy with clay and silt and low for the season. I stand in the mud and toss a rock as far as I can, letting go of the things I don’t know how to let go of. But, walking back to the cave you’re still with me and so is she.
So I dig a hole with a shovel in the soft earth and I write it down, I burn it and then I bury it and say a prayer, and leave it there. A storm wants to come but it never does. And I sense I am only starting to think about the things I don’t think about. I am only now 17 months later talking about it out loud.
We do not grow up into the kind of women we think we will be. We grow up into the only kind of women we know how to be.