Sunday afternoon, Albuquerque
Torrential rain, the kind midwesterners take as fact now, the kind I brought back with me for a few days. Rain, driving rain, sheets of white rain. And then, stepping out into our backyard here: huge tropical flowers everywhere. Our desert garden become a jungle paradise. I walk through, transfixed, carefully touching petals like soft cheeks to assure myself they're real. My mother's here, and she tells me the names of these blossoms; in answer to my wonder, she says, "This is the nature of the desert: comes the rain, and then the flowers."
As if such beauty were a fact of life, a shrug of that's the way things go....
In any case, a good omen, I think. It occurred to me yesterday that my dreams are usually lovely. Such a gift. I am reminded of the summer of 2001, when Ali kept dreaming of disaster, of tornados and volcanos, while I dreamed of buzzing bees and fields of sunflowers.
This morning, a discussion:
-- If you had to choose, would you rather lose your hearing or your vision?
-- Well, that's so hard, because how could I go without hearing music, and the voices of the people I love?
-- Oh, what a revelation! The things worth hearing are music and human voices!
-- Come on, I'm serious.
-- Yeah, but everyone would say that.
-- Okay, to be specific: Shostakovitch's cello concerto, and the voice of Miss Ali Brown.
-- How sweet.
-- And vision? I'd regret most losing the rolling green hills of Iowa, the autumn sky over cornfields, the lakes.
-- I've never met anyone who loved Iowa like you do.
This morning Albuquerque seemed exotic and new, more like a place I'd visit on vacation than my home for the last ten months. The air this morning was crisp and shiny, and the red-tiled rooftops hummed in the sun. The long view down into the valley, the blue Sandias, the power-walkers trucking up the hills in bermuda shorts and visors. Slowly, slowly, it becomes home, and I know I will be sorry when I leave, but I will.