I am so grateful for the presence of my black puppy, Pip. He’s a rescue dog, as of one month ago, from the amazing Santa Fe Animal Shelter; they took care of shots, nurturing, and the attention a puppy needs to feel he belongs, and the result is a lovely gentle quiet young dog who brings such joy into my life.
On our walk this morning, he plunged into the Acequia Madre—the old irrigation ditch, not running strong due to our providential rains—that threads through my neighborhood. Plunged is the word; he nearly jerked me in, as well, which would have been the best thing that could have happened to me—a real dousing for my sadness.
Pip has been checking the acequia as we walked; at some places, the bank was too steep, and he understood that, waiting until a lower place allowed him free access to the swiftly running and swirling clear, cool water.
And in he plunged, drinking, pawing, immersing himself until he felt it was enough and jumped out again.
What a message for a good life…
Another form of message was granted to me last night in Leslie Dillen’s one-woman show at the Santa Fe Playhouse of her masterpiece, “The Passions of Mabel Dodge Luhan.”
Note that passions is in the plural.
Based on work Leslie started twenty years ago and incorporating the recent discovery, by Lois Rudnick, of previously suppressed journals and letters in Luhan’s archive at Yale (which Rudnick used for her extraordinary biography, the furthest of her adventures into Luhan’s extraordinary life), Leslie boldly, bravely and with the leaven of charm and humor brought Mabel Dodge Luhan to us in all her complexity and daring.Luhan wrote with great command about her life in Taos in three remarkable books, however due to the prohibitions of her time she did not include the materials about her mental and physical health which Rudnick, and now Dillen, use to expand and enrich our understanding of one of the leading lights of the early twentieth century.
Dillen quotes Luhan as asking her audience, “Use me. Use my life”—the terrifying wish we all aspire to, even if we fail to get there.
She ends with her arms raised high above her head, exhorting her audience, and particularly the women in her audience, to be shining stars, rising to shed our light on the parched and desolate landscape that surrounds us.
What a gift, in both senses of the word, these two extraordinary writers and, in Dillen’s case, skilled performer, bring to us.
Broken heart or not, I am grateful. Between the genius of creative women and the company of black Pip—now clawing at the screen door to be allowed in—the cracks will surely heal.