I choose to leave my shutters open to wake up with the rising sun. After which I have been making my way to the yoga studio for my morning stretches. Trying to build up my practice again. I was pretty good while isolating, but since returning from Europe and working on the show in The Bronx, I have not had time to dedicate to the yoga let alone exercising. And I gotta build up my endurance for hiking up to see the Monarch Preserve. It will be at least an hour and a half up hill. With water, camera, lens and tripod on my back. We are setting our sights on going on Friday, and possibly staying over night so I can have time to focus on filming. And getting to meet some of the families living nearby and maintaining the preserve.
For now, each day kinda flows from one to the next. Drinking our morning tea, eating papaya, banana and muffins or just rice cakes with jam in the morning. Awaiting a feast for lunch. We each find our space to write, read, and do our artwork. Evenings after dinner have often been spent sitting around and talking. Good old fashioned hanging out. I don’t seem to allow myself to do this very much. All throughout the day and night the one main thing that has been interrupting this paradise has been the constant music blaring from the nearby farms and houses. Mainly it is the repetitive beat of Kumbia. We are a quiet bunch, keeping our music local within the Great Room. But it has been so loud lately from all different directions, that I finally decided to put on my noise canceling headphones to drown out the din in the distance.
Last night for Valentines Day Alicia made her grandmother’s recipe for pork in plum sauce. She asked me since I was Jewish if I would eat pork. And I said I was not kosher, and rarely eat pork unless the pigs were raised organically and ethically. She said even though she did not know the pig personally she knows that all her meat comes from the local farmers and raised organically and with love. This is what I like, happy animals, living to help others live. Alicia expressed being grateful for our openness to the menu. It has been hard for her to manage too many diets of not just vegetarians, but gluten free and vegan. I told her that after embarrassing myself by not eating the veal scaloppine John Coplans had made for my friend Doug and I one night back in the late 90’s, I decided that I would eat what ever I was offered as a guest in someone’s home. It is such a gift to be fed by someone who takes the time to prepare meals on a daily basis for us in these residencies.
The weather has been just gorgeous. It is cold at night with the sky full of stars in the dry climate, but as the sun rises and warms the earth the days are clear and bright and hot, yet cool and comfortable in the shade. But you can see how low the stream is around the house, being syphoned off to water the crops and gardens. We try to conserve the water as much as we can. The rain will come in the summer, when Alicia says it rains every day, soaking into everything filling the air with humidity. March and April are said to the best time of the season to be here. This is what the Hacidenda is rented out as an Airbnb and Alicia takes a break from hosting us artists. She has been doing it on her own for 15 years. If it wasn’t for her and her efforts, this place, where the oldest parts such as the basement where the mill was, dates back to the 1700’s, would have crumbled all to dust years ago.