Happiness Redefined

February 4, 2018

Highway 187

Caballo, New Mexico

 

Happiness Redefined

 

This, then, is happiness, redefined. If I have rambled and traveled so much of my life, so at times I have settled. I feel settled here even before I have completely moved in, and I am pleased. My camper, designed for mobility and convenience has surpassed my expectations. If it is too confined for a long term residence it is comfortable enough     and gave me a freedom I might have otherwise not entertained. I had envisioned the same and now that I have exercised it regret not having had it sooner! I might have left Mescalero years ago if I had the ability to camp as I have and for the same reasons was able to come here. That I am already transitioning to an even more comfortable arrangement speaks also to the opportunities I have created for myself.

 

If my view is blocked by a building it is the same which will soon house me. I walked into those rooms this morning and reminded myself of that as I accessed what it will take to move into them. I journey back to Nogal today for that reason, and will bring back all I need to get settled. Before I even considered my list I opened the doors towards the lake and stepped outside. I offered my morning prayer and as the words parted my lips so a flock of geese emerged in the sky. They broke from behind the mountains to the open space above the lake, flying swiftly in their usual V shaped formation, narrowing and then widening the form as they made a broad circle over the lake. Such an affirmation they offered as I marveled at the beauty which surrounds me here!

 

Even before that I had begun to redefine my happiness. I have measured that emotion from so many different perspectives, even as the requirements remain such a constant. If beauty and peacefulness are a part of that it is also a solitary pursuit, at least for me. I pondered that upon waking, comparing the moment to the times when it has been shared, and found it good. Certainly there have been times unequaled with a few select companions, but the serenity I find at this moment is almost as precious. There is a balance I have attained that I have never been able to establish in company, including my own, for an inordinate time in my life. I have so often ached for something more and been driven by the same. Instead, at least for now, I find that I have equalized that and am satisfied with the content of this very moment, this very day.

 

In the same instant I must question myself, as I am so apt to do. Has something broken inside me for this to occur or am I simply redefining happiness, as I set out to do upon waking? Is there anything else I require from this moment? The doves’ song, the lightening sky of dawn, the shadows on the mountains, the glimmer of the lake? I might have it that there be no highway to the west or road to the east but the glimmer of first light as it breaks over the mountaintops and touches the trees is fabulous no matter where it hits! It walks softly from the tops of the willows to the greasewood and mesquite even as its glimmer breaks over the mountaintops. As I bear witness to its beauty I am drawn out the door to capture its wonders. In answer, my landlord, a sweet woman akin to myself, watches me from her window. As I turned to cross back to my camper I saw her coming in my direction. She met me half way, explaining that she had watched me weaving back and forth and was concerned, only to realize I was taking pictures………..We had a good laugh and I thanked her for looking out for me, it is good to know there is someone here to do that! Such are the elements of my happiness, with an added flare of the shared moment.

 

I settle again to write and am again surrounded by a sense of serenity which too often evades me. Nogal provides the same but has also become that same high lonesome I feared I might find in Oscuro, a little too far removed from any human interaction. I had to but venture forth to find it but I feel I have all but exhausted the possibilities there. This place is new to me and I have hopes for something more, even as I become even more content with my solitude. In fact, the proximity of so much opportunity to mingle has given me a greater sense of balance in my own life. I need but go to town to find any number of outlets, and my landlord provides lively conversation also. My job provokes much thought as well, and my expertise is welcomed and appreciated. All told things look good from here!

 

I have learned to embrace such moments as this to their fullest, as they are too often fleeting! I have every belief and hope that I have found a good place for me to be and that it has much to offer going forward, but I am also cautious. Experience has taught me that when I reach these plateaus where everything is in balance to savor each and every moment as they arrive, so as to treasure them always. Life should be lived in that fashion and perhaps this is the next lesson, to maintain this balance as best that I can. I have shed so much baggage in this past year and a half and it serves me well now. I have every reason to keep it simple and to focus my energy on the things that bring me happiness. I have redefined the way I am going to approach that!

Settling In

Caballo sunset

February 3, 2018

Highway 187

Caballo, New Mexico

 

Settling In

 

Now I am settling in, with a week of work behind me. I was greeted graciously by my coworkers and had a sense of belonging from the start. The community is large enough to offer plenty of activity and the days go fast. The prospect of a long term commitment seems so possible, though only time will tell. In all honesty it will be my desires more than the environment which will decide that. I have so many other things I want to do with my life. If it be a stepping stone or a rock it works well for now!

 

I am settling in in Caballo also, and am grateful for the choice. My landlord reminds me much of an old friend and I feel I have brought some light to her also. The room I will live in is cleaned out and waiting for improvements and I am eager to inhabit it. The view of the lake and the mountains invites me to linger. It will be good to waken to that each morning. I am drawn there even when there is no reason to go, and step in for a moment each time I am in the building. Today I will bring it even closer to livable and a trip back to Nogal tomorrow will improve things even more. Once I have the wood stove going it will be close enough for me.

 

My greatest concern, as always, is time. If I manage it properly my life will be full. I like the work and the people well enough to exchange the hours of the day. We also go in at seven so at three thirty there is plenty of daylight for other things. I have been lingering in town, taking a nice shower at the bath house, which remains a luxury after so many years of roughing it. After that I meet a friend and we have been preparing glorious meals with our artistic talents overlapping the dinner table. We often comment on the same, amidst other lively discussion. It is a pleasure to have such a friendship to complete my transition here. I then return home, relax for a bit and am to sleep by nine, content to be where I am.

 

Come summer that might change. Although I enjoy the company the daylight hours will lengthen, I will have a garden to tend to and the lake to explore. I can see the water from my doorway and windows and think to have found a boat. My vision of quiet evenings on the water and sleeping on the lakeshore could well come to fruition. Once I am moved out of the camper it would be easy to drive to the lake of the afternoon, drop the boat for a sail and then cook dinner at sunset. Weekends I will seek the shelter of the coolness of my room and do artwork. I also want a horse, though in that case my time would be truly filled!

 

The reality of all this being possible is thrilling and the transition is amazing. Even my present circumstance is most comfortable. I have held my own financially in spite of the stretch of unemployment and am looking forward to some relief also. It was quite comforting to have had what I needed come to me in a timely fashion and my artwork held the torch. I sold a little more yesterday and am so looking forward to the addition of more. I also want, and need, to write! I see now how I have languished, in particular from watching my new friend practice his craft. He being a known and established artist, and possessing true and polished skills, has given me a new angle on my own work. If I lack his flourish in some ways it is more because I have not developed it as deliberately as he has. I see now where I can and should do the same, though I will approach it from my own personal perspective, as I should. If I have one goal right now, beyond the pursuit of financial freedom, it will be to prosper as a writer and artist going forward. I will thank my friend Carlis many times over for the awareness and inspiration he has provided me.

 

It is so good to be settled in! A year ago I was in Fort Sumner, and the one before that in Bent. If I have come so close to settling down so I was in motion yet again. For the moment I have neither the vision of being elsewhere or the desire to consider that. I have a good job, a comfortable roost well away from town but also a lively community nearby should I desire it, in either direction. There is T or C fifteen minutes to the north, and Hillsboro a thirty minute drive to the south and west. Further north and west is the wilderness I love and south there is Las Cruces. If the winters are mild the summers will be scorching but I have shelter from the heat and a lake to cool my body, and how I love to swim. I also have a cool breeze of the morning, laden with the welcome moisture from the water, and relief from the deserts dryness. I rejoice that every morning.

 

I have wandered enough in my life to have no great expectations, but I am still very hopeful. The passage of the years has altered my perspective and made each day increasingly precious. If it was challenging to return to work it was also a welcome opportunity. There are fewer and fewer places that I find to my taste and it was good to have one to my liking. If T or C has always appealed to me the more I explore it the more it has to offer. Old buildings abound, as do the nooks and crannies that house the people who mirror myself, seeking comfort and simplicity rather than chaos. They, as I , want only to live as they choose. There are many travelers also and as I discovered at Three Rivers the exchange of ideas and information with them is a genuine pleasure. I will have all of that I can ask for, coupled with solitude when I seek it.

 

I have arrived again at a stopping place. It seems to possess all the elements I require for the moment, and then some. There is work for me to do in both the physical and proverbial sense, and I am prepared to undertake it. That I have the means and the opportunity to do so says the path I have chosen is a good one. If I let go and let God in order to discover this I also took proper action, and was rewarded for it. There is no better way to begin a new year, and it has already affirmed that. I am settled in, content, and inspired! Life is good today. There is nothing more I could ask for and so much to be thankful for.

 

A Town Called Horse

January 28, 2018

Highway 187

Caballo, New Mexico

 

A Town Called Horse

 

I have moved my camp to a place called Caballo, which means horse in Spanish. The view to the east faces the Caballo Mountains and overlooks a lake of the same name. It is a containment of the Rio Grande, one of several here to the south, with Elephant Butte Lake to the north. Today will be a good day to learn all these things and I want to drive down to the beach. Going forward, once the weather warms, I will also hope to park there of the evening and enjoy the luxury of doing so. I have found a good place and it is already replenishing my spirit, in spite of the usual challenges.

 

There are challenges. I have yet to begin work, which poses a challenge. The longer I have to rely on my own resources and the ensuing freedom, the less I am willing to commit to anything else. I have the chance to contract some other water systems and will reach out on those tomorrow. In all fairness I will go to work when T or C calls me but if there is a smidgeon of unhappiness I will flee! To have the choice in the matter is huge, and for now I do. I have a small windfall in reach and will have it as a cushion, and a ticket to greater freedoms going forward. I am going to make every effort to see it remains that way! I have also amassed a plethora of inventory by working on my art and the level of inspiration it has provoked is not to be ignored.

 

So it is I arrive in Caballo, and find a good roost. My previous perch, while having electricity and a good view, was not ideal. The Interstate ran right above the yard, my privacy was limited and when the owner became a more constant presence it was time to leave. While exploring the country to the south of there I stumbled on this place and after a brief discussion rented the entire building. That I get to trade work for rent, at least for now, was also a real plus and yesterday I moved camp. Having my camper to reside in made it all possible though I am eager to get moved in. I need but make a run back to Nogal and do a little more work and I will.

 

For the moment I can work on the rooms and seek some solitude, such as I was surrounded by in Nogal for this past month. How well I used that time, and how much I wish to do so here. I will assist my new landlord today as I have promised to do so but will take time for my own pursuits also. I want to clean little more and make myself a workspace, and do some art, even if I simply sit on the step to do so. I feel drawn to this place as I do to the mountains it faces, and want to embrace it. I will pray over it also, and burn some sage, in hopes that such a blessing will allow it to come to fruition. My gratitude for having arrived here is immense and I will honor the opportunities as best that I can! Even as the mountains and the lake seem to reach to embrace me so I hope to do the same. I am so lucky to be here!

 

Even as I sit here in my camper I am drawn to the front rooms, in spite of the cold. It will be a long week of not being able to take full residence and the confines of the camper are already too close. It is perfect for what it was intended for and I am grateful for the freedom but I want to savor the space and the light of the rooms instead. If I was looking out those windows on the mountains my entire demeanor would change, it is just a little too cold to enjoy it! Still yet, I will head that way soon, as my desire to be there is more powerful than anything else. It seems yet another layer of my dreams are now in reach. Even if the job in T or C doesn’t work out, I have every desire to remain here. Where I have never set out to habitat a place without a clear reason to do so, and instead seeking jobs in places that hold such an appeal, I could do quite the opposite here. That there seems to be the opportunity for that increases the inclination. One way or the other I will stay!

 

I have taken up residence in a town called Horse. There are many interesting reasons for me to have arrived here. I was drawn to this country years ago by my job for New Mexico Tech but never chanced to explore these small villages to the south. Only once, on my own time, did I get so far as Hillsboro. I barely made the outskirts before my truck broke down and turned back because of it. Many years before that I ventured to Silver City and thought to explore the Gila Wilderness, turning back before venturing further for fear of that same issue. I have had a long standing love affair with this country, all hinged off those two adventures, and now I am here. It is the wilderness and the gateway to the San Augustin Plains, the Alamosa Canyon and the like of those which brought me back.

 

If I had thought to find a place to the north and the west of T or C there were none that filled the image of what I had imagined. I looked hard at La Placitas, as I did at Cuchillo, but no place grabbed my heart. I settled for a moment in Williamsburg but it wasn’t quite enough. I had made a promise before I left Nogal, to find a spot with the equal of its peace and serenity, and was intent to pursue it. Just two days ago, I did. Having wandered in all directions I was drawn back to the south and found this town called Horse, Caballo. Go figure. If there is one thing I connect to it is horses. Their beauty, power, kindness and all they represent has been a stanchion of my existence since my youth. I sought their company as one would seek another person, and found more comfort and connection there than I have ever had with most people. If not for the horses in my life and the companionship, the company, the ensuing freedom of their hooves across the ground I might not have survived the struggles of my youth! What they also provided me a means of survival in every other sense also! I built my dreams around horses, my goals, my education, and my professional life for many years. They saw me to the hills and then led me across the country, the riding stables, the show barns and then to the racetrack. There have always been horses in my life and if I do not have one at this moment so my life revolved for many years around keeping one. There will be another once I get settled, either a shared effort or of my own.

 

Now I supplement my life with my artwork, as Running Horse Design. There is room for that here also, in this town called Horse. If it is not the ideal place for a gallery or Trading Post it has the potential for it, if only on a small scale. Time will tell how that goes but I can certainly do my art here, and sell it elsewhere. I will go to work for the moment, if they ever get me on the clock, but I will do other things also. I have found that peaceful place I was looking for, and perhaps even more than I had considered. There is a lively little town to the north, new and old friends there, and the gateway to the rest at my doorstep. I can see the Caballo Mountains out my doorstep and the twinkle of the lake, its waters glistening in the morning sun. I am eager to go walk the lakeshore and to set out on its waters, if only in a raft!

 

To the west there is Hillsboro, a fifteen minute drive to the higher elevations and tree covered mountains. It is an artsy community also, and a good venue for my work. I think I will like it there, and it offers an alternative for my social life, at an almost equal distance as T or C. Beyond there is the Gila Wilderness and parts as yet unknown. If I have traveled so much of New Mexico there are places I have yet to go. If I am always seeking adventure, and those likeminded others who are all so hard to find, so they seem within my reach from here. I have turned a new page, for the moment relinquishing my effort to direct my life and instead letting go and letting the winds of fate to direct my path. Rather than having lost my way I seem to have found it again. The ensuing stillness, and the willingness to wait and see what is ahead is almost as serene as the peaceful hillside I have left behind. I think I have found the like of that here, in a town called Horse.

 

Elation

antelope

Authors note: If sometimes I am afraid I offer too much ‘Dear Diary’ stuff, so it is all meant to be shared! We miss the finer details at times for seeing the bigger picture, and forget how precious every moment of life can be in a given instance. I have again been reminded of the same and wish to share it with those so gracious as to read my words. Thank you to you all!!!

January 19, 2018

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

Elation

 

I woke to the rare wonderful sense of elation, out the door at daybreak to breathe the cool morning air, and to grab a load of wood. It isn’t that there is no wood by the stove but that I need to be outside, to greet the day, say my prayer, to welcome the day at its fullest. If I didn’t step out the door I might miss that, the touch of the wind, the caress of the universe at I wake to its lead for the day.

 

My prayer was simple as always, but all-encompassing also. I said thanks for all things, asked for guidance and direction and said a special prayer for a friend who has, by all measure, been offered a reprieve. If he met and stood at deaths door in silence he chose his moment of deliverance to share with me, something I am grateful for. That I would have joyfully supported his spirit through the worst, the offer of his health restored was as humbling as any gift I could witness. I prayed for him of the eve and the morn, and will hope for his recovery to be swift.

 

My friend reminded me of the precious quality of life itself, perhaps contributing to my elation this morning. It is days such as this when all things are good, and the simple fact of waking in itself is a gift. Couple that with the beauty of the sky and all that it presides over and the wonders are unquestionable. That I woke here, at my sacred perch, with the knowledge I am soon to return to one other also touched me. There have been times that has been so distant and as I have so often yearned to return here so the tug of places west has so often haunted me. Now I get to go back!!! If there is some trepidation regarding my return to full time employment that in itself is also a gift as it furthers my opportunities for the future. New doors will open from here.

 

What that there is still so much uncertainty, I have also relinquished so much to the forces which guide me when I allow them to. I have let go and let God in so many ways and I am watching the possibilities unfold before me. If some would call it coincidence I prefer to see it as divine intervention and I am willing to follow that lead. Just as I am envisioning a place in Hillsboro or the like, so I am drawn to Placitas. I am eager to explore both possibilities. I have thrived on such adventures in the past and I have the great sense of embarking on a new one. If I so often have plans and goals so I am ready to see where I am led, and I will know when I have arrived!

 

Funny, an image comes to mind and brings a tear to my eye. I loved a man named Gerald Rogers (Susan, I hope you are reading this!) many years ago. He was already ruined by the time we met, as so many of the men I have loved have been. The ravages of past failures, alcohol, and diabetes were already on their way to stealing his remaining vitality, but he still had a grasp on his life. He still loved and laughed and dreamed, and I had the chance to share some of that with him at a time when I needed every ounce of that. I adored him as only a young and innocent woman can adore such a man, not seeing the future but reveling in the present, taking what I could of what was offered to me, disregarding the rest. I care not to recall what came after but instead remember clearly his tall and too thin person perched on the edge of the bed. He was bouncing and grinning and singing out loud, “We are off on another journey!” We all laughed with him at the prospect of that! He still had the power to dream and we had the chance to share it.

 

So it is that I too am off on another journey, elated and yet saddened all at the same time. My emotions run a little high today, for all of the above reasons. If I rarely cry these days there have been tears in my eyes more than once of late. A dear friend made me cry just days ago, as a tear traces my cheek even now. After years of a distance friendship he offered a new level of closeness, or at least of sharing our thoughts. I have allowed my feelings for him their freedom, as it has been a safe haven for doing so. Now the door cracks open and I tentatively put a toe into the light. It is a friendship I treasure and care not to lose. I will tread softly so as to honor the same. Then just yesterday I had the rare and wonderful chance to exchange stories with a long time friend. There is never enough of that and she and I laughed and cried together as we reflected on our lives, and all the blessings included. Then my friend called last night, as he welcomes a time of healing, and we cried again. Life is so very precious, and it is good to be reminded of that. No wonder I welcome this elation, and feel it so fully! I am surrounded by such blessings! All is well today!

Conundrum

Moss 1January 14, 2018

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

Conundrum

 

I find center

Standing on one foot

With my toothbrush

In my mouth

As my oatmeal

Grows cold

On the stove

And I have yet

To have my juice

I rushed

To wash my face

And comb

My hair

Lest the thought

Evolve

And escape me

As I cannot

Think a poem

And then recall it

 

Poetry

Has always been

A sign

Of true balance

In my life

And I have found it

As I said

Standing

On one foot

As it is

As unsustainable

As ones balance is

When standing so

And at some point

The shoe

Has to fall

 

Such an analogy

For a life

At once

So in balance

Yet teetering

On the precipice

Of necessity

Because

I cannot stay

And remain sane

Or even sustain

Such happiness

Without risking

All

That I have gained

Financially

Or spiritually

As I cannot

Pay my bills

Nor fill the coffers

Of my soul

From my present

Circumstance

There simply isn’t

Enough income

To be had

And I am

Much too content

In my solitude

 

What

That the morning

Is so silent

That I heard

The whistle blow

From the trestle

In Carrizozo

Twelve miles

To the west

Or that I chanced

To be outside

To hear it

With an armful

Of wood

In my hands

At sunrise

And nobody

To distract me

And laughing

Out loud

At the wonder of it

Someone might think

I was crazy

Had they chanced

To be here

To witness

The moment

 

Such a conundrum

That I will

Have to leave

To sustain this

And return

To restore it

Unless

I am so lucky

As to replicate

The same

With perhaps

Some company

In some

Far off place

Or else

These are lessons

On how

To attain it

Right here

In my present

State of life

Though I will

Have to leave

In order

To discover it.

 

Now

It is time

For breakfast.

 

If I spend my waking moments formulating my thoughts for the day, I cannot staunch the poetry. I have books full of the same, those rampant thoughts which spill from my mind in torrents when everything is in balance. I wrote tons of poetry when I was a teen, and continued to do so for years afterwards, and then left off for other things. Still yet, I have always carried a notebook and pen as they will spring to my mind out of nowhere, fully formed and ready to record. I have to write them as they come or they escape me, if it runs through my mind first, it is gone……the bits and pieces floating about but never returning to their desired order. The same goes for my prose, though sometimes I can hold onto them a little longer. The poems are instantaneous.

 

I wrote poetry daily when I was out on the Plains……..as a harbinger of my happiness. I am rediscovering the same here, even as I plan to leave. Ironic, isn’t it, that the solitude is so appealing as I know I have to leave. If it was otherwise I would be concerned, as I have been in all the years I have lived here. In spite of a plethora of friends, I have never found the outlet I desire. I have tried! There is White Oaks for occasion, but it is alcohol centric also, as the meeting place is a bar. There were potlucks in Carrizozo for years, which I genuinely enjoyed, and even fit into, sometimes, but they are long gone. There was the open mike on Fridays in Ruidoso, but they too have moved on to richer things, at least from the financial perspective. If they built the platform on local talent they can now bring in the bigger names, and ours will be forgotten. The following remains the same as they live there. I might try again elsewhere but I don’t quite know where to start and besides, I need to work. I could go back to Three Rivers but money would remain an issue. It is simply time to leave, for now.

 

The conundrum is this; I am happy! I am by no means yearning for anything else, not now, not yet. If there was no job to go to I might feel differently as money was a concern all summer. I have a moment’s stability now, but only as I am counting on the income going forward. I have growing store of artwork also, but there is never enough income from that, not yet! I am aching to go dig in my garden, but I cannot fix the windmill……which leaves so little choice in the matter, and makes it easier to leave. Instead, I am taking notes, and making promises to myself that I full well wish to keep. It may require some extra effort but there are things I wish to have, happiness amongst them.

 

Funny, but the same things that hold me here make me restless for to leave. I want to go find the place that I am speaking of, the same as this, but more. I want a small but lively village that I might somehow be part of, not too close, but not too far. I can see that old farmhouse, by the highway, with the porch that sags just a touch, but is still stable. There is a stove pipe on the roof, waiting for a fire. There is a small barn in the back, waiting for a horse. It has been empty for too long, but it is reparable, nothing the Californios would want, but perfect still for me. The place wants me there as much as I want to be there, I can feel it. If I were there now we would both be so content. If it is so close to that here there is the reality that it isn’t, at least for now. I will have to go look to find out. I will land on both feet when I do.

 

 

 

 

What I Would Have Missed

January 11, 2018

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

What I Would Have Missed

 

The things

I would have missed

If I had left here

Are too numerous

To count

The sun

The sky

The wind

The rain

The snow

This morning

And the still white cap

On the mountains

The bite

Of the wind

The warmth

Of the sun

On the morning

After

The storm

Are but

A fraction

Of the blessings

I’ve received

 

I would

Have missed

This time alone

To reflect

On the past

And the future

And all

Of the perspective

It has offered

The memories

Of years past

Viewed

From this same roost

And the dreams

I have formulated

And then

Chanced to live

All that

And more

By chance

I’ve received

 

I will be leaving

Soon enough

In search

Of new fortune

And adventure

But will take

With me

Everything

I might

Have missed

And will be

Far wealthier

For having had

The chance to stay

There is so much

I would have missed

If I had not.

 

What I would have missed if I had stayed to the south, or left sooner! I had not seen the snow this year, but for the remnants of the one, and only, other storm. I arrived here weeks ago to see the last vestiges still shadowed by the trees, the rest having melted. I have waited here for the storms that never came and did not see this one for what it became. I mistook clouds for smoke and rain for mist, and got snow! I watched the ground turn white and then clear again, to watch it snow once more. I woke to the heat of the fire and the clouds on the mountains, all my favorite things, and to write about it also. I reread every entry I have made since 2011 and found my life is good, and that I have followed my heart in the proper direction, even if I am alone. It could be worse you know, and it has been. I greet this day with so much to be thankful for, and I am glad to be here!

 

I will leave soon? I grow skeptical with the passage of the days and the lack of any changes. If I have been promised a job, neither am I working. Things can change so fast. Instead I have worked for myself and amassed hundreds of dollars of product, some of which I have already sold. I will create more of the same going forward, unless something changes. The phone has not rang and all I can do is wait. I am waiting, or not, and instead I watch the clouds. The sun peaks out, lights the hills, and retreats. The snow still clings to the peaks, and everything above seven thousand feet, or such is my guess. The Carrizo looks frigid compared to here! I will watch the clouds all day, from my window! They are dancing with the sun, lighting and then shadowing the mountains. I am filled with a childlike fascination I hope I never loose! For fourteen years I have watched the same view and it still amazes me!

 

What would I have missed but for this quiet solitude of my favorite perch? Certainly there are new adventures to be had, but they are waiting patiently. I spent the summer here and contemplated winter. Now I have burned a row of wood, and all of the juniper I had saved just for that. I have plenty more to be used if I need it. If I am readied to leave I could just as well stay, given the resources to do so. I might yet sell all of my art, but must wait another few weeks to be sure. Such incentive I have to create it, and one way or the other I will profit in the end. I would have missed the chance had I left and I am glad I got to stay. Though I bemoan the lack of organization on behalf of my perceived employer I can say my karma trumps that. I am supposed to be here or I would not be, and how happy that I am! They might marvel at my audacity, but you won’t hear me complain.

 

The sun and the clouds are walking the peaks, mesmerizing my attention. These are the simple joys I would have define my life, and for the moment I am living them. This has, in the end, been one of the better years just lived, and the beginning of a new one. I have begged for such an opportunity, clinging to days off for salvation, and now I have this! If I had worked harder I might have gone a year, if things change I still could. If the phone never rings I will be fine, if it does I am prepared. This then defines a success in itself, and if I had done things any different it would have altered the past. Better to see it to the future. I might have missed this.

 

I have learned to see delays as opportunities, and so often simple blessings. If I am slow to leave when I might have hurried, I attach a reason to the same. So often I am rewarded with some perceived affirmation, a meeting or a gift of one sort or another. If I had left any sooner or any later I would have missed it. Who am I to argue with the workings of the universe when it is better to follow her lead? I have yet to be led astray! I am seeing this from the same light, and a beautiful light it is. I am being patient, and filling my time as well as I possibly can. I have been rewarded for the effort! What I would have missed surely outweighs anything I might have received otherwise. Instead I am quite blessed!

 

A Wind Day

January 10, 2018

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

A Wind Day

 

Any other year this would be a snow day! Having lived in this arid climate for so many years I have come to look forward to the cold snowy days that force me to stay inside. They have been few and far between and this year there won’t be any. Instead, so out of season, there comes the wind. It arrived in the deep of night, or maybe earlier than that, as I slept little afterwards. It came in as a steady blast, and remained so. It is the sort of wind that lifts tin and shingles from the roof, breaks branches and tears the tarp off the wood pile. No worry for the last, there is no snow to sweep from the pile so no need for the tarps, not this year. There was even a slight draft in my room, the one secure part of the house that usually has none.

 

The wind still howls, coming hard from the west. A big white cloud bank looms from the north also, but there is no hopes for a storm. The last few days were cool and damp but the rain will never come, it is far too dry, and windy, for that. I will still take the day, rising late deliberately and dressing for comfort, not appearances. I will stay here today, write, craft and relax. Sometime soon I will be leaving and I am going to miss the long held leisure I have attained since I came home. It is best to make good use of it, all for future reference! I would have it that the rest of my life include far more of such comforts and this time has been good practice.

 

I had to step outside, the wind called me out. The air is full of moisture, and the clouds boom to the northwest but to the south is filled with smoke, and ill day for fires. I saw its beginnings yesterday, a white plume from the canyons, and today it fills the air. They will not be able to fly it and only the rare moisture will work in their favor, though the wind may supersede it. It would be a bad day to be on the ground also, the wind is fickle, and overly dangerous, they will have to let it burn! Even a dozer trail would be risky, the machines move far too slow, I have watched them. I am grateful for the open plains and fire is the main reason I will never live in a forest. I learned that lesson fighting fires. Trees carry the flame in a way only the tallest grasses aspire to do, and the grass will never crown. A forest fire makes its own wind, though it won’t need to today.

 

This is my day to weigh the future, as if I need the option! I am still waiting for a call to go to work, but patiently as I have ever done! I am thankful for each and every day and the simple assurance I will be going back to work is more than enough. I have paid almost all my bills to bring them current, though I will soon slip back behind. I am unworried, they waited this long and I have paid them all just recently. What is another few weeks after all these months behind me? The freedom is as precious as it ever has been, given that I will relinquish it soon enough. I have plied my trade faithfully for the last few days and will do more today, building inventory against the future and some which will sell before that. I am inspired and enthused by the prospects.

 

For the moment it is a wind day, and mine to do as I please. My pleasure is to write, do artwork, and perhaps organize a little more the things to take along, and the ones I leave here. I am trying to lighten my load each and every day. The things outside I could well walk away from, those in storage are few enough. My studio is clean and holds artwork needs alone and I wish that I could tow it with me when I return to the south. Time will tell if I should move it, cautious now after the last time. I travel light and have no regrets for doing so, I like the feeling it gives me, footloose and unburdened. That, above all else, will define my life going forward now that it has been restored to me. I will lighten that load with every step.

 

The storm circles and moves in as earnestly as it can. The perceived clouds of smoke to the south were in fact moisture, and the rainfall, if sparse, is all the more welcome because of that. There are rainbows, clouds and sunshine as the storm sweeps from the south to the west and then around to the east, enveloping the mountains and making it far too warm by the stove. It is fifty degrees on the porch and the light draft through the house has ceased, and left behind the warmth of the woodstove. I have opened all the doors and curtains, except for the kitchen, hoping to save the ice in the cooler. The wind dies now to a muffled howl, and then there is silence as the fog blankets the Carrizo, leaving an otherworldly quiet in its stead. Such a blessed day!

 

It is as if the elements are running the gamut for my sake alone! They are blessing me with all the wonders of nature’s grace that I may carry them with me when I go. Funny but I was thinking this morning about how I might have spent this time if I had already gone south, where the days are warmer than here. I was thinking I might be walking the canyons, or driving back into the wilderness just north and west of Winston. I could be wandering the hills rather than sitting at my desk, but I would have missed the wonders of the sky and the storm. I am so glad that I have stayed, those places will be there for later exploration, and this will be mine but for the moment.

 

A Rare Tempest

 

Wind and rain

Coming from the south

And the west

A winter storm

Moisture laden

In the throws

Of deep drought

What looked

To be smoke

Was rainfall

Borne

On whistling winds

A rare blessing

And a rarer

Winter storm

There will be

No snow

On the desert

But rainbows

Grace the mountains

Reflecting

The blessing

Against the still

Blazing sun

The elements

In battle

For control

Of the tempest

I think the wind

Will be the winner.

 

A True Tempest~

 

What started as wind

Turned to smoke

Changed to mist

Became rain

And then snow

A true tempest

Of the purest sort

In the midst

Of a drought

That seemed

To have no end

Who would have

Thought it

Could do that?

It makes me think

I might

Should run to town

But I have been fooled

Before

Haven’t I

And the sun

Is already

Shining

Through the clouds

As the battle

Continues

This is

The first snow

Of the year.

Fooled again!!!!!!!!!!!

Leaving Again

Doorway

January 3, 2018

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

Leaving Again

 

The dawn came quietly as it always does, with few exceptions. On occasion there will be wind, but it is noticeably absent this morning. Though the grass moves gently in a light breeze there is still silence, except for the crackle of the fire. That, and the light clank of the stove is welcome as it emanates heat as well. If there were few coals in the ashes this morning it still came to life quickly and the warmth is most welcome. It is twenty nine degrees outside, warm for midwinter but still cold. I had to step outside to see the temperature, and paused to give thanks for the day. The breeze touched my palms and my face, reminding me all is well and affirming the blessing. Life is good.

 

I am leaving again. My morning prayer, amongst all I have to be thankful for, asked that I would carry the beauty and serenity of this place with me to wherever I go, that I may replicate it as best I can. I am leaving because I wish to, but also because I need to, though I could just as easily stay. I could find work nearby, and have done so in the past, and have considered doing so. I am leaving because I am looking for new opportunities and adventures, as I always have in the past. I returned here eleven days ago and have savored every moment but have done so from the outside perspective. If I haven’t thought much about the transition I have been readying for the same.

 

In my own way I have already transitioned as I have settled to some degree in my new place and my camper awaits me there. If it was intended from the start to provide mobility the resulting transient existence came quickly also! I slipped away twice to the north, staying out another day or two each time for the simple pleasure of doing so. Soon after I went to Three Rivers and quickly settled there. I did the same when I went south and landed in Truth of Consequences. A day or two stay ended over a week later. It is likely my perspective would be different if this place did not remain a constant. If there was no home base to return to I would likely be adrift, but I am not. Instead, given a solid foundation, I can wander as I please, and am doing so freely enough.

 

I am leaving again, even as I draw near to the sixtieth year of my life. I had once imagined that I would be settled by now, just as most people are hoping to set off on some adventure. I took my adventure first and then, though I settled for my children’s sake, spent most of my life in motion. I am still in motion, and it may be what is keeping me young also, even though I can see I am aging. Granted I had slowed for some years but I am glad that I am free, even if I am again looking for a stopping place. My plans for the future, if still uncertain, include more of what I have here more than anything else. It is why I am leaving, and why I’ve gone before. The serenity is nearly complete but to settle might be a mistake. Until I am quite certain, I will look a little further out. I can always come back.

 

So it is I prepare to leave, again. I spent the summer, and half of this winter, putting things in order, and I am almost satisfied with the effort. I have pared down again, letting go of things I no longer need. I have cleaned the yard, stacked my wood, and sorted through my possessions. As I peruse what remains I see I could go through it all again, and wish I had the time. Still yet, what remains is nearly all useful, there is just too much of it! The bulk of it is clothes, bedding, and books. I have gone through the clothes but as with the blankets and rugs it is better to have extra, even if they are bulky. There is a pile of jeans that for the moment are too small, but not by much, and I refuse to buy more! I am working hard to remedy that issue, and the thought of lakes and the river come summer are incentive enough.

 

I think it is the books that trouble me the most, because they are heavy and stored in boxes. If I have gone through them before I will do so again, carefully. They are, as with my writing (another two big containers!) the composition of my life. The books are what led to my adventures, the writing the story of the same, along with the pictures. The latter two deserve more attention also, and I hope to get to them. That is another goal as yet unmet, and worth working towards! I also have leather and art stuff, all raw material waiting to be used, boxes of it. Though I have delved into that there is plenty more waiting for the time I can use it. I am getting there!

 

After that there is just stuff! If there is too much of that for certain it is also the fabric of my adventures, and the treasures I have saved from them. I keep that, and if I had a ‘place’ of my own it would be the content of a small museum I suppose, there to be admired and studied on. Much of it could go into a garden, and I hope to have the same. If one day I have a gallery, which I am hoping I will do, they can then adorn the shelves there also. They are the one thing my children will have to contend with some day. My youngest will be most challenged as he will likely keep them all! He owns his house, so it will be ok!

 

All told, in taking inventory, all is well. My storage trailer is filled with the leather and such, and there is a small room in the house for the rest. The room is but a quarter full, as I have pared it down for sure. The books are in there as they are heavy, and of no use unless I have shelves! I hope to again provide those, but if I don’t I pray my grandchildren will read them! Such stories they will tell, of a time gone by that their grandma had lived…………those and my own writings! They already marvel at my freedom and I am still in motion, a legacy in itself. I have another ten, twenty years to add to that, if I am so lucky! If I am still here after that there will be more stories to be told. It could be worse, I tell myself, and have absolved so many concerns in doing so!

 

I prop open the door as it has grown too warm inside. I savor the rays of sunlight that beam in with the cool morning air and say yet another word of thanks. I have been blessed with such a simple way of life, all of my own making. How different it could have been, and has been in the past! Though the passage of the years and the aging process is moving all too quickly, so my appreciation heightens in the process. I see now the fruits of my labor and there is so little else I require. If there is still some debt it is the final payments on all the things I have. There is no price to be put on serenity and good health, let alone the list of my adventures! These are all the rewards for my efforts. From that perspective it is a small price to pay to return to work for the moment. It also leads to a new adventure, and one I might not take otherwise. There were alternatives but I did not pursue them and for now this suits me fine.

 

Going forward? It is really hard to say. My goals are clear for the moment, as is my willingness to let go and let God lead the way. He has always showed me well. If I believe in destiny I also believe in choice, and our lives are there to live as we will. Though I pray each day for guidance and direction, and do my best to follow it, I also have my dreams! I still envision a peaceful place such as this that I will someday call my home, just as I do this one. I would also like to have a gallery, a small trading post on a not too busy highway, a place where people will stop and visit as they travel by. I would like it to have a sunlit porch, where people could sit and talk, and a woodstove for the winter, where they might warm their hands. I would have it that there were wagons and horses outside, but those days are long past!

 

What that one day there will be electric cars instead, and I will have lived for too long!!!! It seems it might be ok to grow old like that, sitting on the porch stitching leather, and telling stories. If I might be a little too alone here, I would never be there. I have thought about that also, that people might become a problem at times, but I have a solution for that. If I didn’t want to talk any longer I could feign senility or deafness and respond with a simple, “Aighhh?? I can’t hear you.” Ha ha, I might even get good at that! It is the longer and deeper conversations I would look forward to, such as have never been as available as I would wish for them to be. I want to share the adventures I have taken and hear about those of others also. If I stay here I may never get the chance, though there are many more books I could read instead.

 

The books will always be there, the opportunity will not. I am leaving again, as I have done so many times before. I have wandered further, and always returned. I know I can come back here, and will, as often as not. Still in all, I am seeking other things that I haven’t yet found, after all the years I have lived here. Perhaps I will come back to stay, or maybe I will not. I have been drawn to the west for years, and now it is I’ll go. If I have everything I need right here in this solitary perch, there are a few more things I want. None of them are material, except perhaps some land, and I may buy another bus. I want a smaller one, as I have sold the one I had, but there is nothing more I can think of. Instead I will pay my debts, once and for all, and peruse the freedom when it gets there. For the moment, I am leaving, again.

Restored

December 30, 2017

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

Restored

 

I sit to write and the raven calls me outdoors! I hurry outside to greet him, he who roosts on the power pole to the east. He continues his call, running through his repertoire while I sneak a picture, from a greater distance this time, hoping not to disturb him. He stays a moment longer and departs, hopefully stirred by some other desire than my distant audience. I apologize anyway, hoping it wasn’t my presence that sent him on his way. His call drifts back to me as he flies, and I wonder what he said…………

 

I am somewhat restored today though still weaker than my usual. I woke at daybreak and was torn between the last threads of a joyful dream and the desire to watch the first light. I was already awake so I pursued the light. As always I was rewarded fully for the effort. The dawn was so beautiful that I was dressed and out the door before I stopped yawning. Wrapped warmly in my jacket I watched the first light touch the mountain peaks and begin her downward descent. I then turned to the east to say my morning prayer, the thankfulness enveloping me with the caress of the cool morning breeze. In answer a plane crested the mountains and the suns light illuminated it as it rose into the sky, glistening with the perfect angle, as the prisms of a crystal will do with the same. I admired it for a long moment before I ran for my camera, ever eager to capture such moments for eternity.

 

I took pictures, yes, but just as I seek to record the wonders of this life, the perfect instance, the soaring emotions, the raven in song, so often they escape me. Even as I watched the plane pierce the clouds in the clear morning sky and bemoaned its presence so I selfishly wish for technology to suffice for my whims. Though I am so fortunate to live so close to the elements and to glory in the grace of life itself I am greedy for more. If I am satisfied with the wonders of this universe and find such complete happiness in its presence I want to carry them with me also. I want and need to surround myself with the absolute silence and wonder of the breaking day. I wish to wear it as a cloak through the rest of it so that the very air which surrounds me be illuminated, twinkling silently with the joy of life itself. I want for nothing else!

 

I dreamt this morning of five cats, though I am not essentially a ‘cat’ person. But these were special cats, as I was trying to explain, imported from back east and not your common house cat. I was approaching my friend who was surrounded by these cats, who were tumbling at his feet. I was laughing and smiling in complete happiness, tipped back on my heels in total exuberance with a grin spread wide across my face. Even in my dreaming I was marveling at the joyfulness and could see the light which illuminated my presence, clear and glistening with the wonders of the moment. A minute later we were studying on the smallest of the cats, he who wasn’t quite perfect, oddly shaped and with clubbed feet, and expounding on his flaws. He was sitting on a stump and in that moment, after turning to look me in the eye, leapt into the air and turned a perfect summersault before he tumbled to the ground. I commented that he was exhibiting to us his great worth and talent and had seemingly understood every word of our discussion…………..and then I awoke.

 

It is the laughter which stays with me, the pure light and happiness of the moment. I want to laugh like that again! I want such joyfulness to be as much a part of my life as the joy and wonder I find upon waking and watching the sun make her walk across the hills. Even as I wandered my yard this morning I told myself the same and reminded myself that this is a requirement. If I have never intentionally severed such ties in my life so often I have sacrificed them or simply forgotten the practice. When I am here I have no choice, I am surrounded by beauty and grace. I am drawn out the door each morning and night as much out of desire as by necessity. If I want to have wood I must go gather it, if I want light I must go start the generator, and then turn it off as well. Even in the deepest cold I am always grateful for the requirement, it takes me out the door.

 

I have a view where I am moving to. I have parked my bus with the windows to the mountains, and the valley where the Rio Grande River runs. It is a lovely spot, for the moment, though the bus is quite confined. I never intended to live in the camper, though it will suffice for the moment. Still yet, I need more space and I will look for alternatives once I settle in. If it will be a challenge to replicate this spot I will look for the like of it, peaceful and serene, that I may maintain my balance as best I can. I know now the cost of allowing for anything less, and can no longer afford the sacrifice. I had to return here to be reminded of that, and will seek the same again.

 

I have been restored in so many ways, now it is for me to preserve that! If such peace of mind is so attainable here so I need set forth again to preserve that. I am grateful for the tug I feel to go south and west, or it would be more difficult! Knowing I can find the same serenity there, and that it is so in reach, assures me I’ll be fine. I have found some of the greatest happiness in my life in those plains and canyons and they are all within my reach. Even as I write my mind wanders back to an old homestead, tucked down in a draw just off the crest of the escarpment overlooking La Placitas. I am inclined to go find it once again. If the structure is decrepit I recall there were rooms that were still useable, and that is all I really need. The remoteness would suit me well and nobody ever goes there, so I would feel safe. Surely there was a well there also? If not there then somewhere like it, where I would have the same as here. It is something worth looking for……….

 

 

 

For Carlis

December 26, 2017

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

‘Do not worry that I have become infatuated, I am too old for that. Rather, I am inspired, viewing familiar things, from an altered perspective. I am seeing the mountains, and my own personal creations, from the eye of an artist, so different from myself. If we learn new things on a daily basis, I have learned so much from you. I have trained my eye from a singular perspective. Now it is as if I turned back to look again on the view I just passed, and see it in a new and different light. It is good to have a friend who paints mountains. Thank you.’

 

For Carlis

 

I was sweeping

The dust

Out the doorway

When I chanced

To gaze

At the mountains

I was admiring

The contour

Of the hillside

And the way

The morning light

Cast her shadows

On the slopes

As she makes

Her daily walk

Across them

 

It was then

I thought of you

And how

Your paintings

So beautifully

Reflect

On the same

 

I rushed back in

For my jacket

And camera

That I might capture

The vision

So we might share

The wonder

And inspiration

Which I savor

Daily

Whenever

I am here

And was rewarded

By some pictures

And a slipper

Full of thorns

 

It was so lucky

I remembered

My coffee

But overcooked

The oatmeal

Though it still

Made a passable

Breakfast

It was worth it

As I was reminded

Of how wonderful

It is

To have a friend

Who paints mountains.

 

Having made a new friend I was reminded of him as the sun rose slowly with the dawn. I have for years made a practice of rising at daybreak so as to watch the first light make her walk across the mountainside. I was here to greet it this morning, and wished to waste none of it. Although I am looking forward to my next adventure it is always difficult to leave here knowing I won’t be back for weeks or even months. I have found much completion in this place and the serenity is nearly as complete as my solitude. It is the latter which prompts me to leave. I am almost too content with that also. Knowing I have a friend, amongst several others, in the place where I am bound, makes the transition much easier.

 

I ask myself in this moment why I tend to recluse here. It isn’t that there are not places to go or people to see. It is that I am so content when I am here that I prefer to busy myself with the things I find to do. By the end of the day I have little desire for anything else, and have become quite good at that. Even now, in the silence of this room, there is the soft clank of the woodstove, the chirp of birdsong and the gentle hum of the wind, and I am content. There is a pile of artwork on the couch, and the keyboard beneath my fingers. I have the sweep of the mountainside, waiting to be climbed in the warmth of the suns light, the endless canyons I have yet to find, and others to revisit. I would be remiss not to mention the few boxes I have yet to sort through. They are there waiting also and there is more to do if I look for it.

 

If I have filled years of my life with these simple things, and a garden in the summer, so I could do so all over again if I chose to. I can also go to the ranch and cut wood, wander the fields and in the summer mow and water. It is not such a bad way to spend ones days, or a lifetime, and I have certainly done worse. I have also done better, and I have found the equal to this in the depths of the canyons and the sweep of the plains in the country I am retreating to. There are also things I haven’t done, soaking in the hot spring bathes, floating on the river and drifting on the lakes. I am looking forward to those, and any other adventures I have yet to find. I am also looking forward to friendships, and spending time with others who are something like myself.

 

It is good

To have a friend

With whom

I can share

My inspiration

As I hopefully inspire

Him

As well

 

I step

Back outside

For the same

Reason

As the sun

Is still wandering

The mountainside

Shedding her light

And casting

Her shadow

As she does

On each

And every morning

 

If I have watched

The same thing

For years

I have never

Seen it

In quite

This same light

Things always change

When you have

The chance

To share them

 

Thank you

Carlis

For the new

Perspective

It makes me

Want to paint

And adds

Another thing

To my list

Of things

To do.