On the Tarmac


(Farming is a dirty business and the thrill is gone)

This sacred Sunday morning I woke up believing I was living in a dream (which I am), but which was eversoslightly (now, one word) tainted by the unexpected (but should have been fully anticipated) alarms of reality.

After brushing my teeth and washing my face around 6:45, I went to the kitchen to brew-n-fetch my regular cup of Joe.

I then sat down in my favorite comfy lounge chair, gleefully eyeing the stack of books next to it, a mini-mountain of knowledge and insight and scholarship that I’ve been nibbling at for some time.

Only a few minutes earlier I had naively awoken, thinking, fantasizing really, that I was going to take a bite out of each book.

Alas, ultimately I was interrupted for the first few hours of the day by one task after another:

First came the rescue of dying ducklings who were suddenly catatonic after being allowed to sit-and-hopefully-swim in a tub of water.

As often seems to be the case, Olivia Luz came running in asking for help because the ducks weren’t moving. When we returned to them they were frozen on the dirt with an eerie glaze over their eyes.

I immediately directed that we move them indoors and attempt to dry them under the heat lamp.

Luckily, after 30 minutes or so, they revived and stopped shivering and started chirping again.

Then, not so much longer later, Olivia came in again because there were MAGGOTS in the bedding of the temporary duckling cage in the chicken coop.

As per my previous post, maggots are my worst nightmare. And upon inspection, I discovered that the bedding of wet wood chips and hay was teeming with hundreds of them.

Every step of the way I could not help but think that farming is a dirty business. I had no time to change out of my day-of-rest PJs and slippers and had to traverse the muck of chicken and duck shit in clothes I was hoping to relax in while reading.

Despite all of this, I felt fortunate to have learned from neighbor Mike the night before that “chickens love maggots,” which meant all I had to do was dump out the damp bedding onto the coop floor.

Then, I was asked to look at tractor and tiny homes listings once I got back in, because planting season is nearly over, and we’ve got a saffron empire to start.

This was followed up by making sure the kids cleaned up their rooms; buying carnival passes; becoming a member of the botanical garden; and corresponding with a neighbor, a new friend and my eldest son. Not to mention, taking care of basic needs like thirst, hunger and when nature calls.

When I finally got a chance to sit in my coveted chair around 11 am, I couldn’t help but notice that the roaring RRRRR of our robot vacuum sounds just like you’re on the tarmac at a small airport waiting to board. Ugh, not really the kind of tranquility fortified and certified by quiet and a magnificent Ortiz Mountain view vista that I was hoping for while doing just a little bit of catch-up reading.

So, this is why “I get no kick from the thrill of champagne,” or at least far less than I used to.

As I was discussing on Saturday with my new friend Bernie, albeit weed is ubiquitously legal now, and other drugs like alcohol have long been, they are not as enjoyable as they once were for me. For the moment I indulge I’m being called by one responsibility or another; and often, coincidentally, it’s an urgent matter that requires focus and decisiveness.

Ironically, I think I choose to relax at those moments when errantly I believe I have “a moment” - but in fact it is actually only the calm before the storm.

When I was younger, particularly in grad school, when I had no children, no wife, no mortgage or job or real bills, I thoroughly enjoyed champagne and cognac and a toke or two, but now the thrill is mostly gone, for the weight of the world requires a little more balance than careless inebriation allows for.

Oh well, I guess I’ll have plenty of time to chill when I’m dead. Hopefully, that won’t be for another fifty years, so I’ll gratefully work hard and defer to relative sobriety until that time comes at Hacienda Dominguez & Chelenzo Farms.

Ugh. You try to do some good for the world and what do you get? Pestilence that begets flies that beget maggots that beget more flies and more pestilence. Ay yay yay, Lord save us.

I just entered Coop Knox and it is rife with flies, the worst kind - hangry biting flies that remind me I have ankles.

Jasmine thank you for posting this. The other day I was shocked when my 9-year-old fourth grader commented, “Get a job” as we passed someone begging for food/money/help from the center Island at Cerrillos and Rodeo. I immediately gently-but-firmly berated and explained how inappropriate it was for him to say that and explained that there were many reasons why people are homeless and can’t simply “get a job” to remedy their situation.

It was hard for me to comprehend since I’ve literally taken him and his four other siblings to a homeless shelter in our former hometown in NY to help, where I was on the board for the last two years before we moved to Santa Fe.

I asked my son where he learned “to say that,” but he could not give me a definitive answer. I’m hoping that it is not something that he is picking up from school and that is representative of what many Santa Feans believe (transplants or natives), as per your post.

From what I’ve read here though it seems just as many are compassionate and understanding about the reasons and causes of homelessness. So, good or bad, we’re preaching to the choir. Nonetheless and allthemore, hopefully less experienced or informed folk will read the comments and discussion here and learn from it. I particularly appreciate all those who have shared their own personal experiences with homelessness to dispel the misconceptions and prejudices of others. Thank you, thank you, thank you.