Every rare once in a while,
out here in the Red Rock desert
of Southern Utah,
I meet another Iowan.
Today I met Buffy,
yes, as in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,
but she is really more a dragon slayer, she said.
An Iowan if only in spirit:
Idiots Out Wandering Around,
she too is unafraid
to meet the eyes of another,
to return a smile,
to talk to a stranger.
“I admire the way you live”
I told her first off,
not a meek way to start out
a single serving friendship,
or a lasting one,
but I sensed she was up to it,
and what do I have to lose?
I am rarely wrong about first impressions.
In fact, she didn’t shrink from it
but stayed in the game, curious, like me,
piqued with interest
“who is this woman?”
Buffy is different than me, and determined.
The same as me, and determined.
She recycles, she gardens.
Her parenting is fiercely loving.
Her daughter, S, is just nine years old,
the only child she has.
Buffy understands sisterhood
better than the average woman.
She joined her church by choice,
was not born into it,
a fact that holds weight
in my mind.
Buffy doesn’t look at the internet,
but her sister might visit this blog
once, and find her sister’s name here.
She might wonder…
I gave Buffy my card that says, “Vocalist” on it,
and my phone number.
I don’t expect to hear from her.
But I can dream.
I told her about this blog,
my stalled-out half of it,
likening it to an infant,
waiting for something,
to turn it around.
She told me not to believe what I hear about her religion.
I told her I deliberately seek out positive things.
What I said…
What she said…
Who knows how our words, each to each
traveled and turned along the way
The only thing to trust
is the feeling,
and even those are slippery rocks.
I won’t likely see Buffy again,
this is just how the world works, typically,
unless we run into each other again by chance.
I can wish for the opportunity
to follow her for an hour or two
through her day.
To sit with her while she cooks
or shuttles or bakes or writes
or whatever it is she does that keeps her so busy.
I can wish for a whole day’s visit
but these things are about as likely
as hitting a bird with a pine cone.
Her freedoms and mine overlapped
in the craft aisle of Walmart
and later in JoAnn’s Fabrics.
The first by chance,
the second by choice.
Perhaps it is enough that another Iowan
can make me take out my best paper
and make a book just for her,
with her name on it,
just to remember her by,
if not to give her,
in thankful prayer,
I just make it,
with cut out letters
and a tiny mirror on the cover.
I told her religion,
in all its many forms
are fascinating to me,
but not in the sense of observing,
not nearly so distant as that…
If religion is our gathering around
then perhaps the embracing of every religion
and no religion
can serve to bind us in a greater sense.
This is my striving,
and religion is at the center.
Buffy may never see this.
If she does, it is even less likely
I’ll know she was ever here.
(It is so off-putting that WordPress makes you “sign in” to comment! BOO!!)
But when a stranger sees something,
really looks, they recognize God in the face of the Other.
She said my skin told her something of my nature.
She laughed at my joke,
“walking through those Walmart doors is like mainlining China right here”
I said, pointing to the vein on the bend of my arm.
Buffy defies simple understanding,
though her religion is worn plainly in her dress
and her hair.
Buffy is FLDS.
A lovely woman I am so happy to have met.