Wednesday, December 03, 2014

i have a personal tradition of going to white sands on black friday, but it's mostly just a coincidence based on the fact that the thanksgiving break is one of the good times to head out over the oil fields, up the dry mountain to the sacramentos, down into the tularosa valley, and then over to las cruces where my parents and sister live. this time i took the 9-year-old boy with me, and he wasn't especially up for the what he used to call the white sandy mountain, but he did do the old s-trestle with me.

i saw an IL license plate right away, and eventually saw a few more exotic ones, but usually you don't see much on this trip; it's so far for people to drive just to get from any eastern state to the dry corner of new mexico, that you don't see much more than NM, AZ, TX, maybe CO. this time I saw CA, WA, OR, and a few more. eventually I saw NJ, MO, UT, AL, FL, and even AK. there were a few people out there.

it's been a busy time; we've been worrying about moving as we might move about five blocks, in mid-january. this upcoming move will give us the same size house, but better layout, quieter, closer to school and park, while it's basically the same school and same neighborhood. cheaper, that's the main thing; my wife doesn't want to be chair anymore, and doesn't need the expensive trappings of a chair's house.

high in the mountains there was snow up on the hillsides, but the 9-year-old got altitude sickness at first, and didn't want to play basketball in the mountain air, or do the trestle, even, at first. we sailed by the white sands, even though it was black friday and it's always good to go in there, and we pushed on until we climbed the organs, next mountain chain. when we got down into las cruces it was a fantastic world. the pink sun set on the light-blue organs, and it was actually the peak of their leaf season, and trees in the old downtown area had incredible oranges and browns, imagine a peak of a season at thanksgiving. with the sunset through the organs and all this color, the old part of town was really a little surreal.

but there was another kind of surreal experience. i've always hated malls of all kinds, especially on a black friday of course, when everyone is being unusually greedy or even standing in lines at places like best buy. the las cruces mall is very upscale, a pretty place, and, like ours, has a barnes and noble which, late at night, we decided to go to, in search of a dessert. my son wanted to take a walk around the place; like most of my kids, he's quite a bit more materialist than i am, and this seemed to him to be a good thing to do. the unusual thing about the las cruces mall was that it was quite full, but the white folks in there were less than maybe 5%. there were a few black folks like my son; a few asians, like maybe chinese or vietnamese. the vast majority i suppose you could call mexican-american, but i'm not even sure. they were quite diverse, and they were all acting kind of like people in every mall act. it was the same materialist black-friday kind of evening, but all the people had changed, the white folks weren't around at all, really. maybe they got down there early in the morning, or on thanksgiving.

i like getting away; it gives me a break from intensive grading and parenting which has been overwhelming. lately i go to get the kids at school and i can't help but let them play out there, hanging and swinging and running around, for just about as long as they want. this is almost every day, even when it's cold, and they can't seem to get enough of it, although the boy actually has a few other options that he's interested in. it almost seems like they had none of this, before we got them, and just have a lot of time to make up, to get really used to a new life and play hard and long, directly after school, every day. one thing for sure, they all sleep pretty well, and we like that; but, in the afternoons, i'm spending a lot of time at that playground.

and that's one reason i've become almost fanatic about my poetry. it goes with my lifestyle. i'll be stuck on one state, say washington, or maybe delaware, and squeeze out of my knowledge everything i can, sometimes for days. needless to say it's hardest to conjure up poems about places i've only been at night, or not been to at all, like hawaii. so i do some research when i get the chance, and then, those times when i'm sitting there, i make haiku. i've made about four or five a day for months now; late at night, i add them to the site and to a master list which now is up to almost a thousand. when i get a pure thousand i'll publish the 2015 e pluribus haiku, but my goal is to have a thousand non-repetitive, something in every season for every state, where each state is by itself a full chapter, not heavily weighted toward the ice or the blistering heat or whatever it is i remember so intensely that it permeates every image. so of course there i am, up against the most stubborn of stereotypes, or trying to get some more out of some state that i really don't have much memory of. and then, i get the idea to really put all of my travel experience in there, in whatever form. i don't have to have it be true to the place and time. it's more important, in this case, to have it true to the experience itself, and to represent everything that really happened. this lit a fire and i wrote a bunch more. some of these are places like new york, iowa, illinois, where i already had plenty. but you can't have too many. as i go over a thousand, that gives me more leeway to eliminate ones that have gone stale, or are repetitive.

got back to the turkey, the family, the day of rest, there was no football here. plenty of turkey here, though it was all on sunday, and it's sure to last all week one way or the other. what has really lasted is the desire for a nap. the kids liked the turkey this year, maybe because the girls had enthusiasm for the concept and it just spread around; in earlier years, they wouldn't even try it. we'd make this enormous production and they'd basically run right off and make a huge racket, leaving us a lot of cleaning up. my wife at one point said never again but fortunately this year she came back for at least one repeat performance. and we're good for another year; and, i got my calendar, which was, of course, the reason for traveling, and that calendar will soon be sent around, as i've found my address book. another season, kicked off in only the best fashion. and the days, they're as short as they can get, almost.

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