She Bets Her Life

A writer and former compulsive gambler reflects on women and addiction.

Antidote 20: for holiday nostalgia

The dark and the light move the heart.

The ache in the blood, the longing for what no longer exists, the wish that the holiday lights and old music still wove magic.  The only magic you hope for is to wake on January 2, 2011 and know the holidays are over.  You're a newly divorced person, a parent who's lost a child, a worker without your work.  The only words you really want to say are:  "Beam me back, Scotty.  There's no tender life here."

Tonight is Full Moon and a full lunar eclipse.  I've been hunting through old letters, journal writing and emails.  "You should write your next book about us," he once said.  I tell myself I can't do that and I have already begun. By late afternoon, I need to run away.

I drive east, out into the flowing basin range.  The sun drops behind a bank of indigo clouds, sends up a blurred ray of gold and is gone.  I park and watch the opposite horizon.  I remembered watching for moonrise near the Joshua Buddha, how the December desert air was sweet in my lungs.

This Northwest moon does not appear. Later at home, I haul the trash bin down through the snow to the curb.  When I look up, the moon floats fat and cool silver above Pilot Butte.  I remember tenderness.  I remember the futility of hunting miracles long gone.  I remember that the work, no matter what I might wish, has a life of its own.

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Antidote #20:  Hunting

      The trail moves through a high desert meadow.  I am walking.  I am hunting the glint of last light off obsidian.  I carry a fossil found at a curve in the trail, a pale sandy pebble fluted with ripples.  I hold not so much an ancient sea creature, as time.  What I hunt is not so much stone, as light.  This is the magic of where I live.  I reach out toward something, and what I am given is time, light---and searching the color of the southern clouds: globe mallow, fire agate, a hawk’s glowing tail feathers.  ---Bonelight:ruin and grace in the New Southwest

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Mary Sojourner, M.A., is the author of She Bets Her Life: A True Story of Gambling Addiction (Seal Press/ April 2010) and Going Through Ghosts (U.Nevada Press, 2010).

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