The following are literary sketches written almost exactly 10 years after my wife Alexandra and I met. Then we were in Woodstock for a week and now we are in Santa Fe. Then it was her 30th birthday; now her 40th.
The Wicca Hour: A Literary Sketch (May 2, 2012)
It is entirely possible that we have been hallucinating since we first arrived on Monday. We saw a bearded woman in a cart being pulled up a hill by a bearded man in a cloak. We nodded at a leery, shady man in a robe who was watching the bearded couple. We passed by an old man riding a bike uphill on the sidewalk; he swerved like jagged teeth, nearly knocking us over. We met a checkout clerk at the grocery store, a cherubic boy with reddish hair, who scanned items with a cracked voice. We met a checkout clerk at the grocery store, a young woman who told us that she lived with her mother and that her vision was failing. We saw a robed holy woman on the front lawn, a lawn ornament of sorts, who, as much in her attire as in her demeanor, resembled everyone else. We met a wineshop owner who tried to upsell us with a bottle of wine that was $5 more than the one prior. He later pointed to the sign saying that he never accepted promises for payments, then showed us his IOUs, then gave us a discount that largely nullified the $5 upsell.
It is entirely possible that we have been hallucinating, unheimlich-style, but it could also be some numen. We have returned to the local grocery every day, twice last night. We have eaten food prepared by hand, looked at dandelions eye-dropped with rain, waded through wet grass in open fields, guessed at puzzling roofs and confusing light switches, mocked the birds with made-up dialogue. We have made things up as we’ve gone along.
We are learning to feel close. She is learning how to pump her own gas and uncork a bottle of wine and feel at home, learning more generally how to be self-reliant in and through another. We do not impose or oppose; we flow like the stream outside our cabin. And I am spending my days doing what I like where doing what I like–being for her, being with her–is entirely unlike however I thought my days would go. I cannot rule out the possibility that the philosophical life is a glorious, numinous vision.
Love In Santa Fe: A Literary Sketch From Santa Fe (April 27, 2022)
It’s now 10 years since we went to Woodstock, and here we are in Santa Fe. Then we were almost kids–you were just 30–and now we have kids. Dog kids.
Woodstock mornings were gloomy, moody, the fog rolling in off the distant hills. So I remember. Santa Fe mornings are quiet, reflective, the afternoons changeable, crisp, Zen. Like us now. So I feel.
This morning those Woodstock mornings come back to me with intense vividness. I’d write downstairs while you slept upstairs. I’d recall the prior day and spell out a literary sketch. So different from this morning as we awoke together and then listened to Bob Dylan’s “Desire” album. Does Dylan, his voice now shot, shutter at the transience, glory in his memory of times long past? Has he become Johnny Cash who sung, at the end: “I hurt myself today / To see if I still feel?”
And, tell me, what has changed for us? It is, most surely, a sense of responsibility: for ourselves, more so too for others. Yet perhaps it’s more fitting to state what hasn’t, and that is love. I love you like the first dawn.
I was wrong when I replied, in Joshua Tree in 2014, that our love wasn’t special, no more special than anyone else’s. Truly, it couldn’t be anything but. For now when I think of I, I feel only we.