Welcome to my Moonbox: a gathering of musings, learnings, and aspirations held (perhaps, sometimes only briefly) by the many expressions of me, Sarita.
From the desk:
For Poetry month and essentially Earth Month, I've been writing some poems and sharing them on my Instagram. I'd also like to share them here. Pick your favorite chill/hype tunes (or nature-inspiring songs) station on Pandora or Spotify and let's spend some time together: 04.05.23 The snow tumbles downwind and I scatter up the deer, frozen mud cracks beneath all our hoofing as the sun gazes in and out as the clouds flush in flakes and I sometimes slip on the ice where there are hardened tracks my feet don’t fit into such small, soft heartbeats pressed as little cloves of deer or dog, or human, or rabbit or the fallen etches of a wooden limb and even the pressed grasses oval upon the earth a frozen pulse, a slip into remembering the step by step crackling of “here I am” and here we are pacing a millennia of traces we do fit into, gazing in and out from beneath the soft tumble of a storm. 04.10.23 The collared swifts cackle and glide as boxelder bugs basejump sun-warmed from the sandstone cliff. The pregnancy of winter has burst the creeks rush, darken with the mud of nutrients and the swifts cut high-speed arcs and the boxelders leave their winter dens and the horses neigh from the greening fields and the roots of kin are ever deepened. I imagine that if skipping-stones could laugh they’d sound like the birds they’d scatter with sun-tipped wings they’d slide into the water that now houses them sunk with a birthing momentum into another fabric of weight and light. Such water neighs toward oblivion and yet the laughter is all I can hear. 04.19.23 I run along shrub oak and cacti the wind is loud within the caverns of my ears and these voids I can only assume shape and un-smoothness lined with little hairs and I did say oreja instead of oveja when guessing an answer to the crossword clue “Sheep from Spain” as, to mean one thing but misspeak is at best a guess anyway and just like the inner most parts of me I make guesses all the time I assume their warm shapes imagine their blood sounds and my blurry words and sometimes I wish I knew their totality as in, heritage as in, ancestry as in, origin as in, all the windy caverns I will never know, their tongue sounds and heartbeats But I can only speak the languages of assimilation of a lost knowing of ways in which to peel ear by ear wool by wool the bloodiest parts of the earth. So I run along shrub oak and cacti and let the wind shape for me the outlines of our souls.
[Related: Moonbox Notes #13]
Life updates: I have been accepted for a 3rd year to be a part of ReNew Earth Running! In previous Moonbox Notes, you may have read my hesitation to reapply, but I am happy that I did. There is a woman and new friend that also lives in Durango who is now a part of the team, and I’m super excited to collaborate with and support her. I hope we’re able to build more community from this! And you should totally follow her on Instagram.
Patrick and I are currently playing the waiting game in terms of looking for a house to buy. The neighborhood we want to buy in has nothing in our price range right now, but we know that houses have sold in our price range in recent months (one example that we LOVED is actually under contract, and we missed our opportunity to make an offer by a freakin’ week!). AH! What a roller coaster. But, we’ve been officially approved by a local non-profit, known as HomesFund, for financial assistance. Their help will ensure affordable monthly payments with more money upfront (basically, this is a down-payment assistance loan). If we ever sell our home or refinance, then the amount they gave us will be paid back plus a share of any appreciation the home has accrued.
The Durango market is unfortunately a millionaire’s market. So, we’re looking at a neighborhood 3o minutes outside of town, where….even there, many houses are now worth over 500k. Basically, we’re looking for something that hasn’t been recently renovated, so the house will be cheaper and we can renovate ourselves. *insert wide-faced smile with closed teeth emoji. Oh the obstacles of colonial/capitalistic adulting.
La Vida Mundial:
EARTH DAY IS EVERY DAY.
Some of my favorite posts this month have been from Pattie Gonia, a drag queen with an indomitable fire for environmentalism and community building (she’s amazing year-round by the way, not just for Earth Day stuff). She’s hilarious, witty, and admirably unapologetic, and she puts things into context in a way that we need more of in our day-to-day lives. Her Earth Day video is here, and a great series of memes is here.
When trying to think about memorable brand efforts or news highlights, I honestly came up a little blank. Perhaps the lesson in that is that memorable marketing isn’t what we really need right now. The news has been rather grim, from all the more shootings to the firming realities of climate change:
NPR: A look at the new plan for managing the drought stricken Colorado River, with an audio version of the text, April 2023
CNN: ‘The climate time-bomb is ticking’: The world is running out of time to avoid catastrophe, new UN report warns, with a great overview video, March 2023
But, there are positive things, like local trash pickups, rematriation, or reminders to use less, waste less, buy less:
OutsideOnline: Taking Positive Action for the Planet, with video series, April 2023
ABC News: Indigenous groups fight climate change by getting their ‘land back’, YouTube video, April 2022
Even though the bulk of climate action needs to come from government and economic entities, all of us down on the ground still need to embrace positive action and change as well. In our sharing, in our education, in our adaptability, and importantly, in our ability to forgive, to be flexible, and to prioritize what’s next and what can we all do NOW (like voting! or asking our local governments/businesses to change and step up) versus focusing on what we can’t change from the past. There is no such thing as the perfect climate advocate, we all just need to do our best with what we have and know, and continue to be open-minded.
HBD to all April birthdays!
Recent Top Pick Reads:
+ “Slough,” by Ada Limón, Orion Magazine, Poetry, April 20, 2023. A short, beautiful, and eerie poem that speaks to me about the sometimes drawn-out acts of change (physical or otherwise) and how the violence of it can also be seen as freedom.
+ “Those lights aren’t just messing with your sleep. They’re bothering the trees.” by Warren Cornwall, Anthropocene Magazine, Daily Science, July 13, 2022. Light pollution is affecting seasonal cycles in to-be-expected ways, as the increased light has and will inevitably prompt trees (and plants) to alter their habits. Over time, this is shifting the length of seasons or when seasons even begin, which in turn amplifies the effects of global warming in some areas, but might have benefits in others.
+ “Translators of the Past: Inside the work and ceremonies of Mongolian shamans,” by Gabrielle Brady, ” Orion Magazine, Spring 2023, April 18, 2023. A poetic and introspective look at the art of translation and how sometimes translation just isn’t possible, but the essence of it is still a powerful and impactful force of its own.
+ “The Age of Plutonium,” by Natalie Middleton, Orion Magazine, Issue Summer 2022, July 5, 2022. In the aftermath of nuclear testing, Middleton discusses the true and long-lasting effects on the earth and its inhabitants, as radioactive remnants from the blast can be found everywhere, even in coral reefs and in our bones, revealing a layer within geologic time that speaks to “our capacity for unfettered destruction of ourselves, our civilization, and our planet.”
Books/Mags on the Shelf:
+Imaginary Peaks by Katie Ives — I’m 3/4 of the way through and loving it!
+Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age by Kurly Tlapoyawa
+Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 76, Winter 2022
+ “Jake Skeets reads his poem ‘Anthropocenic’,” Poem-a-Day, Academy of American Poets, April 17, 2023. Jake Skeets reads his poem and then describes briefly why he wrote the poem and how it seeks to capture living in a dying world. For more from Poem-a-Day, click here.
+ “Reclaiming, reconnecting, and running with Sergio Avila,” Beyond Running: A Podcast By Aire Libre Running, April 25, 2023. In this episode, Avila discusses his path to becoming a biologist, his life dedications, his passions, and his privileges. Topics range from childhood to studying jaguars to the inevitable reconceptualization of time, nature, and science.
+ “Ascend: Forced to flee the Taliban, Afghan women find a home in climbing,” Patagonia Films, YouTube, March 29, 2023. The film discusses the horrific takeover of the Taliban and how it changed the lives and safety of women in the country, particularly those who were practicing sports and engaging in alternative lifestyles. In partnership with Ascend, a non-profit focused on leadership through athletics, several women were successfully relocated to the United States.
+ “Buying corpse tags on eBay: my work as an indigenous artist | Gregg Deal, ” TEDxMileHigh, YouTube, TEDx Talks, March 20, 2023. CONTENT WARNING: death, trauma, racism, genocide. Artist Gregg Deal discusses provocation in his artwork and the histories that are often forgotten, in addition to his examination of Western stereotypes and colonization.
+ “Jordan Marie Whetstone: It Takes a Community, Elevating Voices & Being an Advocate,” You Are A Big Deal with Becca Jay Podcast, Episode 20, March 5, 2023. What is notable about this episode is how Jordan opens up about her pregnancy and birthing experience, which was more traumatic than she thought it would be, let alone in comparison to how people talk about it in general. Becca and Jordan talk about parenting, community presence, and the endless flow of ideas to come.
Writing/Projects: (updates are highlighted)
+I currently have one general submission in the ether. I’ve submitted a previously-published essay to an essay contest (where this is allowed). The purse is $3k! The winner and runners-up will be announced in October.
+ “When We Visit,” a short creative nonfiction essay for Campfire Stories Volume II anthology. The anthology is now available for purchase.
+The hybrid essay I wrote in 2021, “Chuckwalla,” still needs some major revision before I consider submitting again. I’ve begun another research/writing phase as well.
+I’ve begun a new short fiction piece with a temporary title of, “How I Came To Be.”
+My online writing course with Orion Magazine, “Writing Resilience through Our Relationship with Wildness,” has been postponed until September 2023 due to the instructor having a family emergency.
+I have a Science Fiction novella that I’ve been slowly working on since 2017.
- This section will actually be rather somber and is a mourning of Graeme McCallum, a local Durango runner, sports massage therapist, and friend who recently passed away two weeks ago. I do not know the manner of his passing, but there is a Celebration of Life for him at the Durango Running Company tonight that Patrick and I will attend. He helped me heal an adductor strain last month, so we were definitely becoming more and more acquainted. 💔
Thanks for tuning in to Sarita’s Moonbox.
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