Leon and I are not purchasing gifts or sending out cards this season… but instead we have made very modest - symbolic than substantive - contributions to causes whose accomplishments and missions will likely be in jeopardy in the coming years.
We are supporting environmental causes, LGBT homeless youth, LGBT rights, civil rights and liberties, anti-discrimination causes, immigrants’ causes, Mercy Housing (a homeless shelter), and women’s health.
While we are not likely to solve the world’s problems with a few dollars, we can maybe help just a little. We encourage you all to do the same.
Leon and I are both very blessed and, as we lead a relatively simple life, there is little that we need or want. We are not hungry or freezing, or suffering discrimination (though we fear this possibility) or lacking health care or in fear of being deported…But so many of our sisters and brothers are.
(I remember a story my Grandmother, Maria Concetta DeFrancesco told…about a child crying with hunger outside her window on some cold holiday as she was about to serve dinner, perhaps it was Christmas; she, to the chagrin of her family, cut the turkey or chicken in half and sent half home with the boy for him and his family. We should all share with such a spontaneous spirit.)
We have family and friends, the freely given and shared gifts and beauty of nature, and abundant creature comforts - a warm home, healthy food, a garden, a dog. As I write this we are sitting by a crackling fire - the first house I've lived in with a fireplace - and drinking hot tea and munching on Sicilian cuccidati. What more could we want or ask for?
As most of you know, we live in a small town called Cochiti Lake which is actually on the Cochiti Pueblo Indian Reservation. One of the Cochiti Indians that Leon works with has invited us to Christmas “Feast” at the Pueblo - an honor that is not extended to many outside the tribe. So this will be a first for us. Another Blessing.
We are very privileged to be here. It is a truly unique place. We have a lake, a golf corse a small restaurant, a campground, a convenience store and gas station and we are surrounded by mountains. We have good neighbors who watch out for one another despite their/our many quirks and eccentricities. And friends in nearby Santa Fe and Pecos.
Leon works for the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, as a Park Ranger at Kasha Katuwe-Tent Rocks National Monument. I’ve attached a few photos. (You may have seen them, but since I’ve abandoned Facebook, they are there no longer)
The fact that we were drawn here, to this place, in this time, often seems surreal and at other times it seems like a spiritual journey of sorts. It is difficult to explain…but it seems as if we were “meant” to be here.
I guess this is why they call New Mexico “The Land of Enchantment.” We are grateful every day.
You are all here in spirit as I add you to our long email list. I think of each of you as I do so. (Please give our greetings to those in your family who do not have email)
Leon and I hope that you all are well, and we wish you:
Happy New Year
Blessings and Happy Holidays!