Next Friday I will be returning to Mexico for an extended stay. At this moment it is difficult to know for how long. By the time I return to Oaxaca, I will have been gone for almost two months.
You have not heard from me in a while for many reasons. I have been in North Carolina to pack and move, and in the process sort through the collections of life — art treasures from around the world, family photographs, paintings and pottery, chef’s accoutrements acquired when I owned a gourmet cookware shop, cooking school and cafe so many years ago in South Bend, Indiana.
The accumulation of thirty plus years is daunting. There were boxes in the attic I hadn’t opened since two moves ago. I found vintage La Grange County Amish dolls that I at once gifted to the Indiana State Museum and complete set of 1940’s Ohio-made Blair Gay Plaid pottery that I hauled to Replacements and sold.
I am the keeper of my son’s vintage Tonka trucks, infant clothes, and university diploma. I am the keeper of copper cookware bought in Paris in 1984, every tax return since 1990, and every university program and proposal I ever developed and wrote during my career. I made a pile in the yard and started a fire. Friends came to help me push through, sort and eliminate. I couldn’t have done it without them. Then I drove a fourteen-foot U-Haul truck to a 5′ x 15′ storage unit and with the help of two wonderful Latino men who I picked up at the day labor gathering spot, completed my move.
Goodbyes are not easy, even as I look forward to spending most of each year in my beloved Oaxaca with friends there. I know that change is constant, nothing is forever, experiences matter, and staying open to possibility is essential. I have closed the door to the home on the pond that I built and shared with another. I have said goodbye to dearest friends. North Carolina is still home, yet when I return, it will be to another place. Friends there and around the world are my constant source of caring and support.
As all this was going on, I organized more Oaxaca workshops, wrote and published a personal essay in Minerva Rising Literary Journal, sold one of my photographs to a consulting company, had a skin cancer surgically removed and a pre-cancer treatment on my face as a result of too much youthful sun-bathing on Southern California beaches where I grew up.
Here, now, in this northern California beach town, I am with my ninety-eight year old mother who sleeps in the next room, and my dearest sister who lives just a mile away. Each moment matters. It is a great lesson in how to live life.
See you in Oaxaca.