Moonbox Notes #8: Octubre 2022

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

Pine River valley aspens.

From the sun-rich park table:

For this intro, I created an Instagram Story with a space for people to write their own short poetic phrase. With the 7 submissions I received as starting points, I've created the following poem:

A friend asked me today, 
"Will you haunt me when you die?"
Perhaps
in the quiet opposite of war
further up and further in
where calm little bandages
draw air into dirty lungs
further in and further through
where the fall mountain light
promises a tumultuous north
further to nowhere
like vistas laid
but bare,
"Will you haunt me?"
mom, dad, generations
like the coffins
like the dissipating snow...

~~~

A solid draft at best? Maybe the poem is incomplete, maybe these words are all it needs. Not so surprisingly, the majority of the phrases held melancholic undertones, or, perhaps simply, real-world-facing truths. The phrases made me think of climate change, of the cumulative weight of loss and grief, and of how even physical or communal pain can surmount the actual reaches of the body. One of the phrases submitted was a lyric from Trampled by Turtles, from their song, "Keys to Paradise" (a band I'd never heard of until now). The line, "little bandages add up to a coffin," fits beautifully with notions of erosion, maybe even entropy itself, but more so with the realities of social unrest and the climate catastrophies being witnessed around the globe. For this poem, I liked the idea of weaving haunting in with these realities, that generational grief and the exploitations of land can become (and is) a haunting of both the present and the future.

Of course, there were a few phrases submitted that were more in sublime awe of nature, which helped create tangible space in the poem. There was also the phrase "further up and further in," which is a simple abstraction made complicated by directional (up and in) animation (like intention? psychological growth?), as opposed to the typically space-modifying word farther. This animation of the void, if you will, opened endless doorways for interpretation and use in an almost meta-like manner. I imagined an abyss, or a slippery slope of want vs. need, where the most tender and provocative spaces might exist for a person. In the poem, this is where the quiet hauntings might be born, might reside, might speak from, and yet they remain as transitory and abstract spaces—in the poem and in the way we communicate to each other about politics and life.

The most striking phrase submitted, I felt, was, "with air drawn into dirty lungs, in the quiet opposite of war." This held climate change and policy at its throat in my mind—that there are silent happenings and silent pollutants everywhere, disguised as peace or contentedness or even progress (i.e. "further to nowhere"). And the metaphors go on. I split up the war phrase in the poem to help weave in the notion of repetitive offense, of problematic normalcy, of the romanticized status quos that fail to catch what is quickly changing before us. And I wanted the poem to answer the question presented. I wanted the reader to feel that even beneath the guise of speculation the narrator is actually making a promise: that as long as there is grief and land/body desecration in our world, haunting is inevitable.

[Related: Moonbox Notes #7]
Leaves on the ground everywhere this time of year.

La Vida Mundial:

I can’t believe October is nearly over!

Make sure you VOTE this November. You can register to vote or learn more about voting here.

I’ve always valued Boulder Weekly’s Voter Guide, published before every election. They transform law speak into plain speak, but of course, their values also tend to align with mine. While some of the guide is only pertinent to local policy and local races, they also cover CO State and Federal races and initiatives. I imagine that many news outlets offer their own voter guides, so make sure to check your local news outlets for easy-to-understand breakdowns of what’s on your ballot.

For policy updates and highlights related to the outdoor industry, OIA (Outdoor Industry Association) is a great resource.

Patagonia Stories also has great articles and media related to activism, policy, and, of course, the artful.

Unrelated to politics, it’s always nice to browse Trail Runner Mag’s latest articles, like the recent op-ed about Slowest Known Times or how one runner survived a stroke that was deemed correlated to a combination of recent high-altitude running, dehydration, and an airplane flight. Yikes!

Since I didn’t spend time updating my life in the intro section as I typically do, I suppose I’ll insert a quick paragraph about the latest adulting woes. Patrick and I did relocate to the Durango area and are residing in the van again. The housing market has proven to be brutal with the higher mortgage interest rates and we’ve been completely pushed out of it. As in, we can’t afford anything. Even when/if our Boulder condo sells, the money we’ll have from the sale is still not enough to overcome the interest rates. It’s wild knowing that having more than 20% of the purchase price of a given house in cash isn’t enough to grant affordable monthly payments. A remaining option is to look into purchasing an acre of land north of Bayfield and perhaps invest in a yurt. Or just live on the land in our van. There’s not much else we can do right now, but Patrick and I also don’t mind the idea of building something from the ground up ourselves. Until the condo sells, though, we’re forced into this liminal space as we also can’t afford to rent while paying the mortgage. Winter is around the corner and it’s nerve-wracking not knowing where we’re going to end up, but I’m trying to stay strong in believing that we can still make this transition work.

Bears Ears National Monument, Indian Creek, after a rain storm.

HBD to all October birthdays! Especially to my younger brother, Frank Nathan!

Recent Top Pick Reads:

+ “Dismantling the Patriarchy by Reclaiming Her Voice,” by Nikki Campo, Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 78, Experiments in Voice, Fall 2022. Wherein Campo interviews Elissa Bassist about her new book Hysterical, where Bassist reflects on the historical and still-present silencing of women’s voices and manners of being. Very riveting!

+ “Recorded Lightning,” by Amaris Feland Ketcham, Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 75, Spring 2021. A neat essay in three parts (with a visual formatting component) about the author’s fascination with, history of, and learnings about lightning, its science, its art, and its stories. Print only.

+ “Map of Echoes,” Meera Subramanian, Orion Magazine, Spring 2022, March, 10, 2022. A short essay on the profoundness of ultrasound and how seeing what was once only ever felt can upend or reinvent how you move through the world.

+ “The need for Indigenous inclusion in ultrarunning,” by Anneka Williams, UltraSignUp.com, October 6, 2022. A short article about Connor Ryan and his ultrarunning experiences as an Indigenous athlete and how he’d like to see races address barriers to entry for the communities whose land these races take place.

Overlooking Durango with fresh snow in the distant mountains.

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:

+ “Alison Désir: Running While Black,” For The Long Run Podcast, Episode 236. An interview with Alison Désir, author of the book, Running While Black. She is an activist focused on creating diversity and belonging in running spaces.

+ “A River’s Own Name,” Patagonia Stories, poem excerpt by Cameron Keller Scott.

+ “The Scale of Hope,” Patagonia Films, 2022. “Molly Kawahata on climate, climbing and the fight for systemic change.” 67 min.

Learning the land around Durango with lots of changing trees.

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 Brevity Mag. The short prose piece for Western Humanities Review 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 consider submitting again.

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

MISC/Brags:

Nothing in particular at this point. But it’s always a good practice to celebrate something, anything! So, today, I will celebrate the gentle snow flurries that come and go and my growing inspiration to write this winter.

A bird crosses the sky with the clearing of a storm in the desert.

Thanks for tuning in to Sarita’s Moonbox.

Happy Fall!

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