Moonbox Notes #7: Septiembre 2022

Welcome to my Moonbox: a gathering of musings, learnings, and aspirations held (perhaps, sometimes only briefly) by the many expressions of me, Sarita.

Photo: Scouting a section of the Run the Rut 50k with Patrick.

From the Desk:

Writing exercise: Where am I at? (urgency & atmosphere)

I am seemingly between worlds. As in regions. As in identities. Skyness and landness and roadness and newness. But that is the mirage. It is the English text. It is the way I type and the way you read. It is what we have learned. Is it at least what I have learned to dictate. To slice the mind into squares. We've been told we can only be one square at a time. Or we can only behold one square in particular and nothing ever else. People war over squares. Some people say their god has given them the squares of others or of the world. And we are told how to cultivate walls. Grids. Maps. Growing and the wilderness are dangerous places. We are only safe when watched, known, metered. We've learned that a wilderness means people can die horrible deaths. Sometimes, they want people to die there, at the borders, at the edges of the American squares. We are taught to control, to fear, to nurture desperation in ourselves and in others. Life is nothing but what we have cut. We are cutting experts.

I am seemingly between worlds. As in regions. As in identities. Skyness and landness and roadness and newness. But that IS the American wilderness, and I've learned how to live and dream there. People die horrible deaths along the richest roads. Seeming is only seeming. I am not really between anything. Our names may end at this street or at that fence post and other names may begin, but the land itself is deep and long and wide. Who I am is deep and long and wide. There are many names and many tongues. Skyness and landness and roadness and new-to-me-ness. What is really happening is that I am only shifting across a land that never ends. It is the same body. I change and I atone and I become and hold space for mutiple identities and all the while I am the same human being. And though I type an English text, it is the way I write and the way you read. It is what we have unlearned. It is at least what I have brought us here to do. To mend deep wounds. To stop the slicing. To relinquish wilderness as our fear and our muse. People die horrible deaths just as the land dies horrible deaths no matter time and place or faith.

I am as much the world. As much region. As much peopleness and landness and skyness and roadness and...

----

We are moving. Patrick has already gone down to Durango, CO, and has begun his new job there. We have some errands that need to be taken care of in Boulder still that I am staying behind for. But I hope to join him soon. We are moving back into the van and staying with a friend temporarily until we figure out what to do with our housing situation. Selling our small condo is probably going to be our best option, especially if we want to buy a house. Many people ask, though, "What if you don't like Durango? What if you want to come back to Boulder?" And while I entertain the possibility of wanting to return, my heart is telling me that leaving Boulder is only going to be a healing thing. It is the best decision for us at this point in our lives. Plus, the only way we can afford a down payment on a house is to sell, ha! No way around it. Patrick is taking a (hopefully short-term) pay cut at this new job. I might have to find part-time work this winter to help compensate (since my freelancing has been drying up this year and my contracts with OutdoorGearLab have only been shrinking since the pandemic). But I am looking forward to finding ways to integrate myself into the Durango community, so I will flow with these changes.

[Related: Moonbox Notes #6]
Photo: Hiking to a limestone crag near Big Sky, Montana with Patrick.

La Vida Mundial:

On September 4th, I completed the Run the Rut 50k! My fundraiser for ReNewEarthRunning did pretty well, and as I am typing this, donations have reached over $600. If you’re reading this and you donated, thank you so much! The fundraiser will technically remain open through the end of the year, so there is more time (hint hint). Donations will benefit Indigenous land stewardship and leadership. A great example of what this means can be found here in this write-up about a specific Stewarding Native Lands program. The website also offers great resources for other reading, general information, and insights into current Indigenous-led events and organizations.

Alpinist Issue 79 has finally hit newsstands and bookstores! My essay, “Sounds of Me, Sounds of Light,” is in the Climbing Life section, and begins on page 37.

Some highlights: The first Afghan woman to compete in the IRONMAN World Championship next month is also raising money for other Afghan women. The Dirtbags Run 2022 Team is a finalist in the Gnarly Nutrition $15,000 Fuel for Life Grant and will be selected by a panel. However, there is a voting window for the People’s Choice award, which will reward $3000: vote for them here (voting ends Sept 15th)!

I recently returned from the Hawk 100 trail race which took place on Kanza, Osage, Wichita, Kiowa land in Lawrence, Kansas. I drove out there to support fellow ReNewEarth Running teammates who were either running the marathon, the 50 miler, or were also just there to support. It was really great to meet them in person and to feel a part of something meaningful. I have felt so detached from any sort of community the past few years, so it was really heartwarming to feel included and seen. One of my teammates, Crys, told me in the car as I was driving us back to the cabin after dinner that “we shouldn’t have to share our family traumas in order to belong.” I had been expressing feelings and backstory about identity (as I am so used to doing in order to justify myself), and she said exactly what I needed to hear.

Photo: Patrick runs through a lush forest.

HBD to all September birthdays! Especially to Patrick!

Recent Top Pick Reads:

+ “The Girl in the Gully,” by Astra Lincoln, OutsideOnline (originally in Ascent 2022), Sept 10, 2022. A thoughtful critique/conntemplation about recreation in “contested places,” about how American politics seek to weaponize the wilderness, and how during a climbing experience in the Sonoran Desert the author witnessed a young migrant.

+ “Water if Life,” by Len Necefer, Alpinist Magazine, Issue 71, Autumn 2020. The author speaks of his journey to connect with his Navajo culture, people, and how climate change is threatening the future of all life.

+ “Music, Forest, Body,” by David Haskell, Orion Magazine, excerpted from his book, Sounds Wild and Broken, 2022. An interesting dive into the history, ecology, and modern dilemma of deforestation related to wooden instruments, from guitars, woodwinds, pianos, and more.

+ “Shell Shock,” by Sy Montgomery, Orion Magazine, Spring 2022, March 8, 2022. A neat look into the world of turtle and tortoise rescue, and how these creatures can withstand surprising trauma and, seemingly, come back from the dead.

Photo: Lone Peak in Big Sky, Montana, the main summit of Run the Rut 50k.

Books/Mags on the Shelf:

+Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo

+Deluge by Leila Chatti

+Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 75 & 76, Spring 2021/Winter 2022

Recent Listens/Watchings:

+ “The Hunt,” Patagonia & Pop-Up Magazine Productions, Patagonia Stories Episode 1, Sept 1, 2022. “When Cheyenne River Sioux member Christopher White Eagle recruited local native kids to participate in a traditional buffalo hunt on the plains of South Dakota, he thought it might help them connect with their traditions and ancestors, but he never imagined how it’d build new hope for the future.”

+ “Mind / You,” Black Mountain Radio Podcast, Episode 10 (S2, E3), Feb 13, 2022. “Writer Jumi Bello recounts her experience of being a psych ward patient as a woman of color…Ruth elucidates their obsession with the [hexagon] shape as it relates to their depression and mental health…Jackie DesForges has a hypersensitivity to sound referred to as misophonia.”

Photo: During my race, by Big Sky Photos.

Writing/Projects: (updates are highlighted)

+I have two general submissions in the ether. A short prose piece for CNF’s Sunday Short Reads and a short prose piece for Western Humanity Review. The prose piece for River Teeth was declined.

+ “When We Visit,” short creative nonfiction essay for Campfire Stories Volume II anthology: Finished stage. The book is currently due to come out Spring, 2023.

+The hybrid essay I wrote last year, “Chuckwalla,” still needs some major revision before I submit again.

+I’ve revisited my Science Fiction short story, which has been fun, so I hope I can keep up the progress.

MISC/Brags:

“The writing I want: I want the words and the sounds of the words to move as I move through a landscape. And I want to move and to write as an echo, as in, with a shape that shifts, one that is and because of the land. I want the words and the sounds to be as woven as the earth, or as a blanket, a basket, a dress — I want to echo what is over, what is under, and what is gathered and let go in-between. And when you approach and are moved, as in I am moving you in word and body, I want you to find what I have found in these lands or garmets or vessels: time and story. Sometimes they are subtle. Sometimes they are loud. Nonetheless they are a presence, and you can be swallowed or simply held, or you can feel and perhaps forget, but woven into you somehow, somewhere, sometime, are me and my words. This is how I want my writing to exist. I want the writing to be a land in and of itself, maybe one that you fall in love with or perhaps even stumble through, but it is a living land, and it gathers, and it lets you go.

  • September 9th, 2022, iPhone Notes (with edits), from the bottom bunk of the Wakarusa Cabin in Kansas.
Photo: River time was a daily thing near our Montana campsite as the temperatures were very hot.

Thanks for tuning in to Sarita’s Moonbox.

Happy End of Summer/Fall!


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