Moonbox Notes #10: Diciembre 2022

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

A photo of my mom. Date unknown.

From the desk:

"His eyes were black like the new moon's sky. His laughter held back a dark ocean." - Leslie Sam Kim, from "If anyone should make it big, it should be you."

Sistere - To stand still

I meet the dusk
along the wooded snow
against the slope of the sun
we drift
through shadowy scaffolds
my legs run the edge of declination
earth tipped heavy
as the cold nibbles a rosy cheek
and never for a moment
do we actually stop—the earth turns
and the sun is elsewhere
dusk becomes the dark
and I remember
how shadows roam free
this longest night of nights
I remember
how amid a moonless ocean
one can be or imagine anything
so I see you like a sister
as I approach the age you died
and we laugh at our cold breath
and I teach you how to run
and you let your hair drift toward me
instead of tucking it behind your ear
how nothing holds still
even among the snow-nibbled trees
you break the sky apart with your fingers
to trace the points
where rosy stars had once appeared
and you tell me how painful it can be
and you tell me I am a good sister
before you fade into the turning
into a shape I cannot hold
into the dawn
along the wooded snow
against the slope of the sun
where the scaffolding of the earth
spins a warming shadow
where the stars of your body
sister the holes of mine.
Me between the sun and a sandstone boulder.

[Related: Moonbox Notes #9]

This time of year is dark for obvious reasons. If you’ve lost someone, the Holidays hit differently. So when I read Leslie Sam Kim’s recent newsletter about someone she knew and loved, who had died, I felt a faint but true kinship in her words. And I wanted to write a poem that touched on the idea of someone’s memory arriving in the dark of the winter solstice, but in a manner that is both joyous and somber. For me, that someone is my mother. As I grow older, I think about how I’m about to enter the last decade of her lived life—and what would that be like if we were sisters? She died at 45 and I just turned 34, so a sense of sisterhood might as well thicken as I near my 40s.

Too, as I approach 38 (the age she, and her sister, were diagnosed with cancer) I feel all the more like a character in a play of fate: I will be 37 or 38 standing behind the curtain of life and it will suddenly be drawn up, and I will see for the first time a stage set for a scene that I could only ever improvise through. Will I witness the early stardust of my own tumors? Will there be nothing at all? Will I have, at age 35 or 36, already removed all my breast tissue and ovaries? Will my body still be intact, as fleshy and organ-filled as it is right now? And despite the answers to all these questions, will I handle the scene before me with grace or despair?

I will leave these thoughts as they are and place in them no weight. I will approach the stage but live my life along the way. I’ve made no decisions about my body. And what I look forward to the most is my growing relationship with joy in my writing and in my day-to-day. So let’s hang on to that, right? Will you be a sister to me, with me, for me? A mother, a father, a brother, a friend?

Patrick and me at Pautsky Point overlooking Durango, CO.

La Vida Mundial:

As every new year approaches, it’s a good practice to celebrate as much as you can. I am definitely looking forward to all the growth I will undergo in 2023, and I hope, despite the rising costs of living and the many troughs you and I will inevitably find ourselves in, that you are hopeful, too. Cheers to the end of 2022, to the creation of my Moonbox Notes, and to you—for being here with me to listen, to learn, or whatever it is you’re here to do. Thank you.


GearJunkie Newsletter highlights:

Hardest Climb of Her Life: Korean Climber Becomes Second Woman Ever to Send ‘La Rambla’

‘Self-Portrait’: A Moving and Entirely Self-Filmed Cycling Journey

‘In Your Dreams’: A Female-Focused Freestyling Ski Film

Are You Healthier in the Mountains? Doctors Seek Volunteers for ‘High Altitude Research Center’

Watch ‘We Are the Water’: How the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Is Protecting Ancestral Land

Outdoor Industry Association news:

Research Roundup: Fall 2022

OutsideOnline news:

Four of the World’s Top Outdoor Athletes Explain What the Inflation Reduction Act Means to Them

Outside+ Announces New Gear Up Give Back Beneficiary: The Outdoorist Oath

The 20 Most Influential People in the Outdoor Industry

Patrick and Dusty boulder on sandstone in the hills of Hermosa.

HBD to all December birthdays!

Recent Top Pick Reads:

+ “The Sounds of Silence,” by Lisa Wells, Orion Magazine, Spring 2022, March 10, 2022. A brief introspection on the role of silence in our lives and in nature, and how silence always means something.

+ “Interrupted Meditation,” by Robert Hass, Poetry Foundation. A poem that questions our place in and among the world, our expressions, and our languages.

+ “When the Uber Driver Asks, Do You Have Any Kids?” by Wendy Elizabeth Wallance, Sunday Short Reads, #205, October 16, 2022. Originally published in Brevity #70. A poignant lapse in time where the writer imagines a life she feels she cannot have.

+ “Invisible Visible,” by Katherine Kassouf Cummings and Colleen Plumb, Orion Magazine, May 19, 2022. A collaboration of multi-disciplinary art that ponders the relationship between factory farming and the politics of sight. “If we are to one day make the invisible visible, we have a responsibility for the ways we word our world, how we employ that channel between our heads and our hearts.”

Puebloan architecture and shadow play at Aztec Ruins National Monument.

Books/Mags on the Shelf:

+Imaginary Peaks by Katie Ives

+In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

+A Place Called Doña Ana by James J Drexler

+Deluge by Leila Chatti

+Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 76, Winter 2022

Recent Listens/Watchings:

+ “Legacy Regenerated,” Patagonia Films, YouTube, Nov 2, 2022. A short documentary about Patrick Bown’s family legacy and stories of plantation history, farming, and regeneration.

+ “Stay Woke,” HiberNation Podcast, Episode 3, June 24, 2021. Trigger Warning: Generational trauma, police brutality, gun violence. The host interviews Raysean, the Wisconsin 23-year-old who recorded the shooting of Jacob Blake, and discusses how trauma can affect sleep across generations.

+ “As We Have Always Done,” Pedal 2 The People, Vimeo, FilmedbyBike BIPOC Filmmaker Grantee, Dec 13, 2022. A short documentary showcasing three organizers from Pedal 2 The People, a cycling organization built by and in support of people of color.

+ “Running 507 Miles: Choose Strong,” Bare Performance Nutrition Film, YouTube, Dec 17, 2022. A documentary featuring professional ultrarunner and mother, Sally McRae. Over the 2022 racing season, the film focuses on McRae’s Choose Strong psychology and how/why the Challenge was an homage to her late mother (507 miles for the 507 months her mother was alive).

The many textures and patterns of a sheet of ice.

Writing/Projects: (updates are highlighted)

+I applied to attend an online writing course with Orion Magazine, “Writing Resilience through Our Relationship with Wildness,” for February 2023, taught by author and poet, Cmarie Fuhrman. I was accepted!

+I have zero general submissions in the ether. The short prose piece for CNF’s Sunday Short Reads and the short prose piece for Brevity Mag were both declined.

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

+The hybrid essay I wrote last year, “Chuckwalla,” still needs some major revision before I consider submitting again. I’ve begun another research phase as well.

+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:

It’s my BIRTHDAY MONTH! Since 2017, I’ve been publishing a year-in-review blog post on or around my birthday, December 18th — which is always interesting to revisit after time has passed:

NEW! In Brief, 2022: The Pangs of Our Hope

In Brief, 2021: What the Brain Does

In Brief, 2020: Child Again

In Brief, 2019: The Jackrabbit Will Run

In Brief, 2018: My Human Craft

My Day of Birth, 2017: Persona

A trail near sandstone bluffs.

Thanks for tuning in to Sarita’s Moonbox.

Happy Winter!

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