December 14, 1999
(Part two of the song)
On the road again
In Mexico the desert's calling me
I'm alone my friend
But everywhere I go warm hearts I see,
I'm a Mexican Wannabee
On the road again
With Xuxa who is my best friend
South to Mexico we sure did wend
Oh, I'm so glad to be back on the road again.
On Thursday I made it to my first destination, the rancho El Nieto de Montecillo, outside of San Miguel de Allende. I arrived an embattled Road Warrior (my neighbor Mark's description of Steve, which I love!) I've broken through my mystique about Driving in Mexico. It turns out just to be a lot of driving, with tangy additional circumstances that crop up with the wild abandon of the Mexican spirit, anytime.
Talked my way into parking in the lot of a fancy Motel Los Pinones in Nueva Casas Grandes for 50p for my first night in Mexico. The second day's arduous drive got me around Chihuahua, just barely, to Ciudad Camargo. The "just barely" was three runs at getting on the periferico. The first was a dead wrong turn into on-coming one way traffic on a large avenida. Some local "yutes", window-washers, tried to help me out by convincing me to turn right out of a left-turn only lane. Obviously, they don't drive. Or maybe they figured, the way I drove, I didn't follow the rules too much anyway. They begged a Dr. Pepper off of me.
Coming back at it the second time one of the young guys flung himself into traffic, madly waving me toward the left-hand lane, but I didn't get his signals in time. Coming around for the third attempt, this time from the south, I managed to get into a left-turn lane for the correct direction but couldn't determine which signal lights applied to me. So I just made a run for it, one of the window washers sharing my triumph, waving me on!
Spent the second night in a defunct trailer park just south of Camargo and the third night splurged on a really nice motel unit (only $14) outside of Rio Grandes.
Getting to the rancho was worse than I had anticipated. I drove in crying. Then I cried taking a sunset walk, which Steve & I used to do almost every day. Went to bed wondering what the hell I'm doing here (or anywhere.) Felt better in the morning, however, when the dawn magic of this place captured me again- the sounds of the doves, roosters and Mexican radio. Took a lovely walk down along the cultivated fields of alfalfa and corn stalks from the last crop. Xuxa frolicked with a new friend, "Guantes", (gloves) and I chatted with a couple of campesinos.
Took a full day to recover from the road, and yesterday I braved San Miguel. I haven't been here without Steve in 24 years. I was hungering by then for the comfort of being with others who knew and loved Steve, who share his loss with me, and Madeline was the answer to my prayers. She took me into her heart and her home, hasta la cama, which she invited me to share when she saw how nervous I was about driving back down the mountain and out to the rancho in the early evening. She's able to be with my tears and my sadness in the way that only good friends can be there for each other. I felt deeply comforted, and a little of my tension eased.
It's like I've been lying down in an unfamiliar bed for five months, trying to get comfortable, and no position that I try works. This must be symptomatic of the chemical withdrawal, akin to withdrawal from heroin, that is the actual chemistry of deep emotional loss of one's companion, either through divorce or death.
Madeline and Tom's nurturing (including two meals!) boosted my spirits considerably, so that I was actually able to enjoy aspects of my day. This is the challenge that Churpa and I took on months ago when we made the prayer flags for Steve for the Wyoming Sundance and vowed to learn from his example to enjoy life, to have gusto even in the daily humdrum. I'm working at it! I watch the sun setting behind the tower of the ruined capilla across the lane and ask the little Virgin to help me on my path of grief, loss, healing and renewal. The last of the celebratory rockets boom in the twilight of her day. May we all be happy.