Thursday, December 29, 2016

Prospero Ano Nuevo 2017

            Prospero Ano Nuevo 2017
            The oft-heard greeting during the Mexican holiday season is the well-known Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo. I’m not much for resolutions but my wish to you for the coming year is sincere.

            Last year I concentrated on asking my amorphous Higher Power not for what I wanted but for what would make me grow most. I suspect that is exactly what I got. I don’t recommend it. This year I’m trying to keep my mind blank, to not even form a vague wish (not that HP is Santa Clause)  for anything which might leave me hanging by my fingertips for the ride of my life.

            My memory, not the exact quote, of W.P. Kinsella, one of my favorite Canadian authors who will never die, I don’t care what you say, is somewhat as follows: “Unless we’re being held hostage or dying of a dread disease, what we have in life is pretty much what we want.”

            I’d like to argue that, but, in general, I have to agree.

            When I was vaguely agreeing to “growth” a year ago, I had in mind, perhaps, becoming better at meditation. Something fuzzy and difficult to measure.

            What I got was a new home, an ongoing course in semi-tropical gardening, a social life, and for something fuzzy and difficult to measure, I’m the most content I’ve ever been.

            I liked my little Mazatlan apartment near the sea, my small routine, my solitude, my few friends I greeted each day. I harbored no wish to change.

            Then, boom!, following an innocent visit to friends, I now have a rustic brick Spanish-style home in the mountain valley in Etzatlan, a garden that,  by my design, looks like a manicured park, friends who insist I go here and there, do this and that, with them. And I love it. I am seriously committed to my Qi Gong practice and to learning Espanol. What’s not to be happy?

            This week I am back in Mazatlan, visiting former neighbors and exploring my old neighborhood by the sea.

            Last night I went with friends Kathy and Richard to El Terrazo at the Marina for dinner. I don’t often get octopus in Etzatlan, a beef and pork kind of village. So I ordered raw octopus drizzled with a spicy dressing, seared (that means mostly raw) tuna steak with eel sauce, served over a gigantic hunk of Portobello mushroom with slab of goat cheese. I savored every bite. I wanted to lick my plate but it wasn’t that kind of place.

            It might not be your idea of the best meal one could have. I understand. I came to appreciate raw fish slowly. And, I suspect, the fact that my seafood flopped from the ocean in the morning to land on my plate in the evening has a lot to do with how wonderful it is.

            So you see, that is one example of “contented”. I don’t want to rock my boat. I want to float along. Other streams look dark and dangerous, filled with alligators and overhung with jungle snakes.  
            One problem is, other people try to interfere in my wants. Leo, that sweet young man who helps me garden, has recruited my best friends to help. He tells them, frequently, “Sondra needs a good man. You find her a good man.”

            I say, “You keep your thoughts of my needs to yourself.” It won’t work anyway. I’m beyond help.

            For example, on the way to the lobby to meet Kathy and Richard, there was a man on the elevator. I got on at the 22nd floor. He looked west. I looked east. About half way down, he said, “Tide’s coming in.”

            I looked out the window at the waves and grunted. If I were serious about changing my life, I would have pinned him to the wall and asked, “Are you married?” And had commitment by the time we reached the lobby.

            We exited the elevator and walked different directions. As we should.

            I’m not afraid of men. Some of my best friends are men. My fear is that my request of Life last year doesn’t have a use-by date. Who knows what is in store as I float gently down that stream. 
            Have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year and may we tie up in the same harbor.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

December 29, 2016

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