Monday, April 11, 2011


This is a bird, the southwest’s version of a cardinal.  I’ve seen it in bird books forever, and can’t even pronounce it.  There are two of them right outside my window, and rabbits in the bushes, and sand and yucca and creosote bush. The towering Organ Mountains are to the south, and other, more round shouldered mountains are all around.  No garbage trucks, no car alarms, no barking dogs, and millions of stars.

I don’t think I really knew how tired I was.  Not exactly physically tired, although that is part of it, but mentally and emotionally tired.  Wondering if the materials for the day’s work were in the right place, worrying that the volunteers in my care would not have a rewarding day, nervous that my patience was eroding.  And hardest of all, tight across my shoulders in anticipation of what management might throw in my path.

As I was packing up to leave, the volunteers stopped by, amazed that I had been fired, and one of the homeowners too, fearful that her house would not be done, and anxious about management.  The homeowners have all been subjected to some pretty mean spirited reminders of their low income status, and sudden shifts of policy.  I will be OK, in fact good, but it saddens me that the deeply Christian, generous and loving mission of Habitat for Humanity is being subtly misused.  I had some notions of expressing these sentiments to anyone who might improve the situation, but the local affiliate is pretty much an entity unto itself, and the Board of Directors get only a spin managed version of this winter’s problems.  Plus, rocking the boat would just make more work for them.  So I will let it go.  The community of devoted roving volunteers is pretty close knit, and when an affiliate does not provide a good building experience, word gets out.  If a good Construction Supervisor gets hired, one with both people and building skills, and that person can cope with management, then maybe it will be good.

We, Steve and I, are at Leasburg Dam State Park, about 15 miles north of Las Cruces.  We both have appointments with Doctors and Dentists, and my chorus concert isn’t until April 29, so will stay close to Las Cruces for a bit.

Steve Blythe, full time RVer for 7 years, late of St. Louis and accounting, a dedicated HFH volunteer all over the country.  I met him here in Las Cruces last spring, liked working with him as he is careful, exacting and a good teacher.  We zigged and zagged our way through the summer, building in various places together, then diverging, and finally came back to Las Cruces.  Companions.  I’m still sometimes weepy over Don, and I doubt anyone will fill his place.  Steve has been married three times, and had heart train wrecks too, so we are both understandably skeptical about romance and all that happily-ever-after nonsense.  But there is a deep and good connection between us, a need to do good, to be honest and polite and considerate, to help each other out, and to have someone to talk to that listens.  We love roaming the deserts and canyons, looking for petroglyphs, we love our music, we love cooking for each other, and we love the security of our own spaces and the peace of our own beds. 

I want to be present in the here and now.  Age and death and uncertainty are on the roads, loss and tears, and sometimes deep in the night, fear.  But I have Steve’s company, and the voices of many who come to me over the air.  And there are still angels that appear with grace to pick up the stones in my way.


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