I’m so tired of Carlsbad, New Mexico. I haven’t had any friends here in years. This mining town is in some mighty pretty country, but the whole point of the economy here is to ruin it.
I miss California. California is, of course, rather a mess of late. But it would feel like familiar ground, home turf.
Not back to Los Angeles, never that. Nowhere south of the City.
But I am thinking, more than wistfully, of organizing myself around getting out of here. Twenty years in Eddy County. Twenty years in Eastern New Mexico, in Little Texas. What was I thinking?
I got old while I was here. Work is harder, prospects more dim. But I have to ask myself, do I really want to let this drag on further, the tunnel narrowing more and more?
Maybe I won’t get out. Maybe I’ll die here. Maybe I’ll die here tomorrow. Life is increasingly suspect as one ages.
But I don’t have a plan. Shouldn’t one have a plan?
I am feeling more and more, of late, that my plan should be about going home, wherever home is. And home is surely not here. There is much beauty hidden in the interstices of a desert mining town. I would miss that, as I miss all the beauty of all the places I have left.
And some of them felt like home, but this place, though it could have, though it had the potential – never has felt like home. It was always about other people, this little mining town. And they are all far away, even when I see them in town.
It seems kind of pointless to keep this up, this pretense of living here, when my heart is with others, elsewhere, in other places.
I would hate the abandonments required, though. Who would care for my trees? Would they just cut them down? Would they notice the little blue salvias, or just mow them into oblivion?
The land along the easement, where I have been cultivating wildflowers for fifteen years. What has that place to expect? Mowing to within an inch of her life? Herbicides? Asphalt?
I never watered her, just cut a bit when they made me. She has gradually been changing, becoming more diverse. It takes years. It takes decades. I was thinking about trying to seed in alyssum and gaillardia this year. Feeling a little hopeful. Watching the Mexican hats spread from a single volunteer, into a spread of glorious yellow and burnt orange glory in the summer, as I helped them along over some years.
This is my life, these small things. Watching the pecan tree’s girth grow from twelve to eighteen inches. Seeing plants I don’t know the names of, coming back year after year, this continuity.
In these small ways, it’s exactly what I was looking for, except without the humans. I tried for a long time. But I never could find any here who stuck.
So I’m thinking about California again, which I know well, mad as it has become. I would know what to do with California, though never back to Los Angeles! Nowhere near enough weeds.