The First Days

5/27/09 - Dawn comes slowly to Arenas Valley. The stars have faded, but the sky takes a long time to grow light. Cats, restless from a dusk-to-dawn curfew, stomp across our bed, poking furry feline feet into our sleepy forms. We turn them out at the sound of the first bird, a western species I cannot yet identify by its monotonous song.

New Mexico morningThis is the week when school dismisses eager children, who will awaken to freedom like this until the end of August. I remember these mountain mornings, air scrubbed sweet with the night's breeze and beckoning me gently from my bed.

The Solatube overhead lights up the room and I pad across the cool ceramic tile toward the day.

Yesterday we attended to the unloading of our household goods from the moving van, rescuing essentials like the computer printer from several weeks' oblivion in a self-storage locker.

The job took nearly all day and in spite of staying in the shade as much as I could, I got my first sunburn, the price paid for an overabundance of possessions and absent-mindedness about sunscreen. I must form a new habit and quickly.

This morning, we bounced down the mountain in the Subaru to Silver City, hoping to catch up with our mail, forwarded to GENERAL DELIVERY, SILVER CITY NM 88022. We also hoped to acquire a mailbox. Much depends now on changing our address and I want to git 'er done. Alas, neither 'twas to be, not today anyway.

Two pieces of mail--one an acknowledgment of our change-of-address application from the USPS--were waiting for us at the main post office in Silver City. The rest of it is still out there in Limboland between Heathsville and Here, complicated by the fact that the Arenas Valley, NM 88022 designation no longer exists, but is imprinted firmly on all our official documents--even those originating from here. With luck our mail is not lost behind a file cabinet somewhere and will show up in a couple of days.

The matter of a mailbox is less definite. Two clusters of keyed boxes sit at the end of our road, but to determine the availability of a box, one must contact the letter carrier, whose name and telephone number the post office clerk, Miguel, will not release. Miguel will forward our request to the carrier, who will get in touch with us if she has a box. How will we know if a box isn't available? "If she doesn't have one, you won't hear from her." How long to wait before we install our own box? "They do it on Friday," advises Miguel, but he doesn't say what "it" is and the line forming behind us makes us anxious to finish our business with him before somebody throws tamales at us.