May 2, 2018
I am reposting this today in memory of one of the best friends I have ever had. Our time together was one ongoing adventure and I walked more miles with him than anyone I have ever known. It wasn’t always easy but there are no regrets, except that he is gone………. Karl passed away a few days ago, much too soon, much too young. I will love him and miss him always……….Blessings my dear friend, may you have a safe journey. I love you, friend. Cathie
October 7, 2015
Bent, New Mexico
You Made Me Laugh
You made me laugh today. Sadly you only do this when you are drinking, which makes me cry. All the same, I cannot resist your company when you are intoxicated, and it is the same for you. The sad part is that I spend the whole time you are drunk trying to get you sober. It always works in the end, though sometimes it takes a week or two. Then I don’t hardly see you again, until you start to drink. We have been doing this for almost four years, we both know the pattern.
You would think we would grow tired of this, me of your foolishness and you of the sickness, but we don’t. It seems it is always too much fun in the interim, even if it is painful for both of us. It breaks my heart to see you wasting your life and ruining your health. It breaks your spirit to shatter your routine and bring such illness to your body. You don’t get sick when you are drinking; it is the hangover that will kill you.
You made me laugh today, your candid humor and spontaneity is a joy and a pleasure. It betrays your serious side and the sober guy would cringe if he could witness it, but he cannot. Sadly it is the best of times which you will never recall, the laughter and the tears, the meals I cook and the warm hugs I receive in return. You are my best friend when you are drunk, and your own worst enemy, and it gets worse as time goes on. I am watching a gradual decline which frightens me because it is the very source of my own weakness.
You made me cry just yesterday. You rarely call me when you are sober and I have learned to gage your intoxication by the tone of your voice and the frequency of your calls. You will only call once when you are starting, as if to warn me and to comfort yourself, you are safe if I am here. You will call two or three times if you are already drunk and if you need a ride you won’t stop, I think you hit redial sometimes, at least in your head. I am the voice of sanity when there is no other sound to guide you. You called a lot yesterday, and you kept calling until I found you. You were so drunk you made me cry and when I came back later I cried again when you played that song for me, you started it over three times because you wanted me to hear it. You told me, this song is for you, and we both got teared up, such fools as we are. The song was, “You Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry.” You are always on target, when you are drinking.
My greatest fear is that I will someday weaken and lose the sharpness of my judgement. I am afraid I may sink into the oblivion which is my mothers’ mind, she who drifts along unguided but still occasionally comes back to shore. I asked myself the other day, ‘When did she start to fail?’ and realized she was always failing; it just took a while for her to complete the process. I am strong because of that and I don’t want to grow up to be like her. I want to instead preserve the tender innocence she graced me with, the same treasure reflected in my voice, which I also got from her, and the sense of humor, that I get from you. I think I have my fathers’ strength, though I am not always sure of that either and I don’t always like him very well. It is your failing which keeps me on task; you are the constant reminder of the alternative which I never want to take.
You ask me why I put up with your bullshit, because you call a spade a spade, and you know just who you are. I try to explain that to you, but as you always say when we ask why you don’t stop drinking, “It is hard.” I put up with you because for some foolish reason you are the only person I can put up with and I love you as I have few others in my life. It is as foolish an addiction as your drinking and the outcome is equally assured, it will be painful, as it always has been. I buried all of the other guys a long time ago and I do not want to do the same with you. That is also why I stay; I can prolong the agony for us both, though I doubt that I will win. There is another reason also, I am so afraid of failing myself that I force myself to be strong. You have made me better at that than I have ever been and as long as you are here I will never forget. It makes it hard to leave.
Here is the sad part. I am better off alone and we both know that. I have been trying very hard to pull away for that very reason and it is why I am writing again, I write a lot when you aren’t here. But I write because of you also and you inspire me with your own lack of the same. You point it out to me also, your desire for the richness I weave into my own life and it is what you love me for. I am the light in your darkness when you are drunk. If only you could learn to do the same when you were sober! If such were possible we could laugh all the time, and never cry again…..
April 21, 2018
Caballo, New Mexico
The Beauty Way
I woke to savor the stillness of the dawn. Laying still I witnessed that perfect moment of beauty as the sun crested the Caballo Mountains and lit the windows of my room. The transition was Zen-like, gradual yet instantaneous, subtle but brilliant, radiant in every sense. The temptation was to jump and get my camera and yet there was no way to capture it even then, and the light changed before I could even process the thought. I judged well, it was better to simply be in the moment than to try to hold the feeling for eternity. It was, in essence, too pure for such a desire. Blessings of that sort are to be but received and recalled, to be carried with us in their purest forms.
So I begin my day, walking in beauty in every sense. If I have come to raise such prayers each and every day, so they came to me this morning as I slept late beyond the dawn. So often I wake well before that and raise my arms to the sky before the dawn even gathers his gifts to be shared. I drive to work in the dusk and only if I am late will the sun break the horizon, blinding me with her brilliance. I rarely witness that since the time change…I will track the seasons accordingly. Today and tomorrow I instead chance to savor the luxury of rest, and then will repeat the pattern.
If there is such a strong desire for freedom I have no complaints either. I have, for the moment, preserved my position with the city, for which I am most grateful. I quit, then unquit, and had the affirmation of being allowed to stay, albeit with strong resistance from he who would have chosen differently. I hold no malice, he harbors the same. I might have left but it is this very place I am, the utter beauty and peacefulness it provides me, that begged me to stay. The richness of the community ran close second, and with equal appeal. There is a sense of happiness I have found here that has evaded me elsewhere and if it was overcome momentarily it has returned in full force. I may make some compromises in order to maintain that but even those are loaded with lessons. It is time for me to learn the things I have chosen to avoid until now. The knowledge will be the reward.
So it is I gaze on the twinkle of the lake, just beyond the trees, sparkling at the feet of the mountains. The Caballos, brown and red on their rocky ramparts, the foothills green with mesquite and greasewood, the lake bright silver and blue in the morning sun. The waters give way to the willows and salt cedar, bright green in their freshness, rising from the lakeshore with their feet in shallow waters. Rising further, returning to the desert sands, the greasewood and mesquite front the road to my doorway. The sky is clear blue and cloudless, tinged brown with dust and smoke from distant fires, lest we forget there is drought and wind to contend with. If the morning is still cool the heat is at her back and will settle in for the duration of the summer. It may threaten my serenity but as with all else it will be a small sacrifice in comparison to other challenges. It will be hot everywhere this year, but the winters here are warm………..
I am no longer weighing my options but rather shaking off the worry of the week just past, and all of the uncertainty! If for a moment I saw no recourse I quickly regrouped also. What I felt to be intolerable gave way to a recognition of opportunity, to lesser demands on my mind and a fitness of body I have struggled with. Take away my pen and paper and give me a shovel! If that had been my choice for so many years I traded the same for more opportunity, and frustration. What that I can work as I once did, albeit with more effort and a little pain, but my arms are still strong and my mind so wonderfully precious. Better to write poetry than reports, and remove myself from the line of fire. They may not ever win that back! I will labor as I once did, offer expertise where needed and appreciated, and take my turn with the rest instead of running to the front. A lesson indeed, and a reward of serenity, coupled with fitness. I have already shed fourteen pounds in the process, with ten more to go. That tells the story in itself.
The beauty way. What that I so often walked in beauty when I first came to this territory. It is the same which has drawn me back. With a barrage of things I can do today the allure of the hills comes first! The weather is still cool and begs for me to explore those places I have returned to, or find new territory otherwise. If I am drawn back to the same canyons today I may seek open ground, and save the sheltered coolness for the hotter days. I can walk by the water come summer, it is still spring here on the flats. I will admire the tender leaves of the mesquite and the brilliant cactus flowers and seek the cottonwoods later, they can wait. Even as I peruse the windows of my room and envision the blue trim they are begging for I am drawn to walk instead. I will be here for longer than I thought, and they will wait also………The summer will keep me inside and then I can busy my hands. Now is the time to replenish my spirit. I will walk in beauty today, in all things and all ways. There is beauty all around me, I must step forward to meet her.
March 18, 2018
Caballo, New Mexico
By Nature Serene
By my own nature I am serene. There are those who know me who would argue that, and I can see why. In my day to day existence there are many moments I am far from serene. I am reactive to my environment, driven in my pursuits and in almost constant motion. I have trouble standing still, I need to occupy my mind if I am idle for any amount of time, I stay busy, always. Still yet, I am serene. I wake of the morning in perfect stillness, my mind tuned to the coo of the dove, the call of the goose, or to utter silence, if I am so lucky. I can lay still for an hour if such is availed to me and even drift back to sleep. Left to my own devices I can then write for hours, uninterrupted.
Why then this sometimes frantic nature?? I have dreamed, and so often lived, in the absence of that. I have retreated to my Nogal House and spent days in such peacefulness. I have wandered the wilderness, for days, and even weeks at a time with no distractions, and found true happiness. I have sought the same in every waking moment when things were otherwise, and found it so difficult to maintain. I have allowed the very virtue of necessity and dedication to tip the balance, while still maintaining some sense of the same. I love my work and approach it with true devotion and seriousness, but the hurdles seem all but insurmountable at times. If I recognize the reasons I have yet to find the solutions. I am bound to try once more, as I am happy to be where I am, and the serenity I require is also in my reach.
How so? I saw it yesterday even as I was weighing my options of leaving. It is closer here than elsewhere, and the intimacy I have established with it remains, even at a distance. I need but gaze to the northwest and it surrounds me. I need but make a thirty minute drive and I am there, and it is also closer than that. Each and every canyon and cliff seems to emanate the same energy, each rock on the sandy ground reminds me of its presence. The connection is powerful, and viable in every sense of the word. If I have also found it elsewhere it is closer here. It is something I require and in recognizing that I also see the need to strike the balance so that I can stay. The serenity must carry over into everything I do if I am to succeed. It is the one thing I have too often failed to do and if I cannot accomplish that here, neither can I do so elsewhere.
Perhaps I should have titled this, ‘Another Life Lesson’, as that is most certainly what it is. There have been many of those along the way but this is as important as any. Having had a week off and stepped away from all but my own requirements, I have again found center. I have so quickly restored the sense of balance I depend on, along with my inherent serenity. It is inherent, I was born with the ability and desire to exist in that very state of being, and have worked towards it for my lifetime. I dreamed of the solitary cabin in the wilderness from the start, and sought it ever since. I have lived there often and have the same here and now. My bus is the epitome of that in so many ways for I need but drive off into the desert or the forest and I am there. I have done so often enough! Even where I sit I am in walking distance from the lake and can see its glimmer out my window.
Why then the disruption? My work place is serene enough also, when I am at Clancy! I can drive but minutes from the office to my own peaceful spot. I can climb the stairs to the old block building and leave the door ajar to the sunshine. I have a view of the old town, squat houses, trees and narrow streets, and I am alone to do my work. I can sit there for hours sometimes with no interruption, yet I am minutes from anything there is to do. I am productive there and have already made a strong contribution, though I have yet to see the results. I need to be patient on that count, and have been counseled with the same. I need to learn to disregard the perceived failings of others, and be grateful to sidestep that also, while having the good sense to not criticize. That in itself would be wonderful, and the learning curve has begun. I also need to ignore the inertia and instead perceive it as an opportunity for me to excel, if such will be allowed.
That then is the issue, and I feel stifled. Having lived alone for so long I meet my own needs and requirements head on, and address them. If there is an issue, I identify it, if it is broken, I fix it, I make lists, and then follow them. I want to do the same here but it is far from that easy, and there are many other people involved besides myself. I am eager for results, but they too have their own agendas. I just got here, they have been here for years. I move quickly, they walk slowly. I have questions and ask them, they are slow to reply. I need to be still, keep doing what I do best and leave it to them to carry on as they will. It will either work or it won’t but if I shatter my serenity in the process, or theirs for that matter, the whole thing goes to shit. It is up to me to step up, not them, and if I fail it will be my own failure, not theirs. The moment I blame anyone else for my own unhappiness, as I have already done, I lose the path I should have followed.
I am, by nature, serene. There is no reason I cannot step forward into each and every day with the cloak of serenity wrapped around my shoulders. One would think that would be so simple, having made such a suggestion, but it is not. It takes true strength and character to allow any slights or challenges to slide off of your shoulders and to consider them from a distance. If I have attempted to do this in the past I am just now really starting to consider it objectively. If I can do it in a given moment, why not put it to practice. Just as I have set my mind to a healthier diet, in mind, body and spirit, so I need to apply it at work as well. It needs to be twenty four seven and 360 degrees, not just about myself. If I have already restored a healthy aversion to candy and donuts, why not to frustration and resentment? There is no room for any of that in my life if I am to be truly healthy and happy, and no reason why I should not find the means to have it.
If I am so smart let me begin with this! If I am the first one to make light of my own philosophy then I should also be the first to act on it. I have long proclaimed that one of the best things about being alone is that one cannot blame their unhappiness on anyone but their selves. Well…………doesn’t this apply to all things? If I am to not take anything personally then I should also view others from that same perspective, and leave them to their own devices instead of expecting anything from them. If it is to be done, I must do it myself, and I am also getting paid for the same. If it is theirs to do, then I should allow them that also. If it fails to get done it will be on them, not me, and I have plenty to do as it is. If I have learned to not only find problems, but to also find solutions, so I should do so, with no regard for what others could have or should have been doing. That is not my concern, nor in all honesty for me to judge. I have been so busy asking why others have not addressed the things I see need to be done that I have failed to balance myself in the process. If I am to stay this is the first thing I must do. I am by nature serene, and I have done just that.
March 14, 2018
Caballo, New Mexico
For Antoinette, Nurse supreme!
Ha Ha. I wrote a note to myself and posted it on the wall where I cannot miss it. I fasted it to a magnet with a screw. The symbolism is clear, the note says “DIET, BODY, MIND, SPIRIT”. The screw says that if I do not abide to my own advice, I am screwed. Funny, but not. After yesterday I have a very clear perspective on my personal does, and don’ts. The meanings I have chosen to attach to the experience will serve to confirm my purpose.
Ok, friends, brace yourselves if you care to listen and if not you are forgiven! My writing has always been a ‘me first’ affair from the start though I have also tailored it to sharing. I write because I must, because the voice inside my spirit begs to be shared and expressed and the page has always been there to receive it. When I say shared I mean it in the truest sense of the word, not just because I need to record it. It is because I feel, deeply, that we have all been given a gift of insight and in the exchange of that we gain an equal measure of wisdom. As I have made many misjudgments in my life, but also had some enlightening epiphanies, I shall continue to share them both. Don’t say I did not warn you!
So I had to get two molars pulled yesterday. My dear dentist of many years begged off as he knows from experience the challenges of pulling my teeth, he has done one. That ordeal lasted nearly an hour, or what seemed to be, and involved a grinder. Enough said. So this time I opted for anesthesia, but I did not have anyone to stay with me so I decided on nitrous oxide. If I wasn’t looking forward to any of it the memory of the last time I had ‘laughing gas’ was favorable. When the time came I sat back with but a mild intuition that it might not be a favorable choice, but who doesn’t get worried at the dentist? Then she turned on the gas………….
It only took a few seconds before my thoughts became fractured. I went with it initially, but then it became chaotic and I quickly realized I was venturing into forbidden territory. Verging on panic I removed the mask. I informed the nurse, in a voice that was oddly distant from my own, that I couldn’t handle the gas, even as the panic continued to escalate. She convinced me to put the mask back on by telling me she had to give me oxygen to assure I wouldn’t get a fierce headache. I breathed that in until I felt calm and quickly removed it. I will be forever endeared to her strength and consideration as she walked me back to sanity, and then some, as she and I found much common ground in the process. I was sorry when the conversation ended, and also quite focused.
The ensuing procedure wasn’t much more fun, but went quickly, though I think the doctor was accustomed to his patients being sedated as he was far from considerate. But this isn’t about the dentist or the teeth, it is about me. The need to rationalize the experience stayed with me, and it is meaningful enough to capture. What of the chaos that so frightened me as the gas pervaded my thoughts, and why did I immediately descend into a state of near panic? I initially blamed it on past, drug induced excursions into madness. Twenty six years ago I freed myself from a two year hiatus from reality, but the experience will remain with me forever. If I was, for the most part, a weekend warrior, I still suffered from addiction. That adventure took me over the brink on more than one occasion, though miraculously I survived intact, to the best of my knowledge. Having achieved a successful career since then I have to be assured I m reasonably functional!!! I do believe, in that brief excursion at the doctor’s office, I revisited the boundary. Having learned to put order into chaos and to keep it there I have no desire to ever cross that line. That said, even if I still harbor a fascination for the peyote ceremony, I have decided now I will never attempt it! Though my spirit is strong, I may not have the resilience to make that journey.
You all can bail off here if you wish to but I am inclined to share this!!! If I so often write of such things and never publish them there is also a lesson here. For a moment I encountered chaos, in the fullest sense of the word, as the gas wreaked havoc on the order of my thoughts. If I have done my best to retain my spontaneity, and the ensuing innocent trust equated to the same, I am also very structured person. I require order in my life to function, discipline to survive, and purpose to remain on task. Though I still struggle to keep that in balance I believe for the most part I function well, though I am more driven at times than I wish to be. Age is teaching me how to temper that and I am reasonably successful. Yesterday’s lesson brought it further into perspective and I am trying to capture that here.
Might I have allowed the gas to make me laugh rather than the ensuing tears? Could I have allowed it to take me for a moment knowing I would return less two teeth but uncaring about the method of removing them? Perhaps, but if I could do it again I would prefer the degree of consciousness I suffered through. Truth be known, even if I have little desire for any sort of intoxication, I will avoid the same going forward and haven’t even touched my pain pills. Ibuprofen will have to do! The lesson is clear enough. If I have functioned well in a state of clarity for years perhaps I have over done it to of late as I have struggled to rejoin the workforce. If I am, to a great degree, happy with that outcome, I have also pushed up against the boundary of balance. Yesterday, briefly, took me over the edge. I returned enlightened by the journey.
DIET, BODY, MIND, SPIRIT. Having decided now is the perfect time to go on a diet and shed these fifteen pounds which have been haunting me, it is also time to attend to all my other needs. If I have always tried to focus on body, mind and spirit I too often get sidetracked, and suffer for having done so. I am not so far off track but yesterday left me feeling fragile enough to feel the need to center. I have already done so, as I did sitting in the dentist’s chair afterwards, ready for all that was to come. I saw it through gracefully, with a firm grip on the chair! I awakened today with that same resolve.
In my life, maintaining my balance is essential to my survival. If I have always been aware of that it has never been more critical than it is now. I will be sixty in July. If I am not yet old, neither am I young, and I am beginning to feel the warning signs of age. If I can expect to live at least another twenty five years, and possibly more given the longevity of my family, I want to enjoy them! So it is, even as I firm my resolve on one end, I will loosen the constraints on the other. I will lighten up and try to relax my approach to my work and responsibilities while honing in closer on myself. I will eat better, walk more and rejoice in the joy of my life, though the latter is already a constant. If I am mindful enough, there is always room for more, and the less I worry the more time there is for that! Having conquered chaos for the most part, perhaps I can loosen the constraints there also, and maintain order in a calmer fashion. It is well worth a try, I can always alter the approach.
This then is a lesson for us all, if you have borne with me to the finish! I think again of the nurse who stayed the course for me yesterday. I thought her a bit tough at our meeting, abrupt and professional, with a coat of armor as well. So quickly I found myself relying on that strength, a role she must play far too often. She then gave more of herself than I would have expected, something I will often do myself, a seemingly rare trait in this modern world. She not only calmed my panic, she then led me back to my strengths as she shared the story of her own, while taking the time to hear mine also. She did not have to do that! I hope she will chance to read this, so I might return the favor. It is something we could all do a bit more of, though being selective is important. This is much the reason I write, so I need not pick and choose!
For Antoinette, “Relax girl, it will be ok!!! Those struggles you have faced have made you who you are. Those kids, they will grow strong and survive, as you have done. You are their rock, and even if they battle your discipline, they will reflect it as adults. I know, for mine have done the same. Your job??? I hope they pay you well because it asks a lot of you, but we are lucky to have you there. Stay strong, but take some time for yourself also, it gets easier in some ways, but tougher in others. You made a friend yesterday, and gave her much insight. God bless you girl! If you ever need anything let me know. I made it, and so shall you! Thank you!”
To my friends and readers: Thank you for being there to share with, and for staying the course!!! Cheers!
March 1, 2018
Caballo, New Mexico
The Poetry Returns
The poetry returns, bouncing joyfully across the page. Hand written, it is new and fresh, finding life on the pages, of a one dollar composition book, with pages sewn to the cover. If I have written the same, since my childhood, there is always a new discovery, and the wonder of the same. It arrives of its own volition, and is fleeting as well, so must be captured immediately, lest it be lost. I am carrying the book, striped black and white, everywhere I go.
So it is the poetry has revived itself. If I so dreaded to go back to work that I waited until the final moments to do so, I have also found happiness. If I was content to be in Nogal and Three Rivers, I was not fully settled. The uncertainty was challenging, but no more than the thought of being someplace else. I feared the forty hour week and the required transition as much as I did the quest for an alternative, though in so many ways I was happy to do so. The ultimate choice to let time take its toll served me well and I have found a good place in the end.
The poetry! It has come and gone with the years. It returned in full force on the Plains, and the canyons not so distant from where I am. It slipped away as just quickly, returning again, and then fading over time. It came back again just days ago, the smile of a traveler, the strum of a guitar, and a train song……….its own form of poetry in word and motion. If he intended to touch my heart he did more, taking me back to a time well before the present, and many joyful thoughts. I felt I had to return the same and when I told him I wanted to hear another train song, so I penned my own, for him. I left it is his hand as we parted.
I feel as if pieces of my heart are being returned to me here, one at a time. It isn’t that I have lost anything along the way. It is different than that. It is that one thing has taken the place of another, as was necessary to survive. As thoughts and emotions shift some get pushed back, and buried away. The joy and laughter of youthful exuberance, and innocence, makes way for greater seriousness. The spontaneity is channeled into dedication, and purpose. The love and laughter to perseverance and the occasional companion.
I have not lost any of it and the strengths I have developed along the way have served me well! If I have found resilience so I have grasped every joyful moment and experience and not only captured them in words but in spirit and kept them close. I thank God I have them to reflect on and it is those reminders which bring them back to life, and to the fore of my experience. There is no need to lose them but rather a clear requirement to breathe life back into them on a routine basis. Just as one opens the door to a woodstove and brings life back to the coals while adding new fuel to the fire, those joys are all the same. The poetry returns whenever one allows it to, we need only a subtle reminder of its beauty.
So it is I went to the Dollar Store and found a small composition book like to ones I had as a child. It is the prefect vessel for my poetry and I have titled it Footnotes, in honor of the travelers who have inspired it. In making the transition back to a full time employee I had to keep my hand on something tangible to create the needed balance. In my heart I am a free spirit, ever the gypsy, and would have it no other way. At the same time I am still a professional, and in order to achieve the goals I have set I am still willing to apply myself. There will come a time when I will be no longer willing, or able to do so. It seems it may come sooner than later, but my skills, and my willingness, are still very present. I am finding a reward from this in as much of a spiritual means as I am the financial. I will willingly stay the course for so long as this is true. The poetry has returned, a sign for me that all is well. I can ask for nothing more.
Train Song (For Stray, the fellow sitting on his pack with the red beard)
I wanna hear
Another train song
The music of the road
The heartbeat of a memory
From days long past
The tempo of the rails
The whistle of the wind
The rhythm of the highway
On the road again.
February 4, 2018
Caballo, New Mexico
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!
February 3, 2018
Caballo, New Mexico
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.
January 28, 2018
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.
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
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
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!
January 14, 2018
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
I find center
Standing on one foot
With my toothbrush
In my mouth
As my oatmeal
On the stove
And I have yet
To have my juice
To wash my face
Lest the thought
And escape me
As I cannot
Think a poem
And then recall it
Has always been
Of true balance
In my life
And I have found it
As I said
On one foot
As it is
As ones balance is
When standing so
And at some point
Has to fall
Such an analogy
For a life
So in balance
On the precipice
I cannot stay
And remain sane
Or even sustain
That I have gained
As I cannot
Pay my bills
Nor fill the coffers
Of my soul
From my present
There simply isn’t
To be had
And I am
Much too content
In my solitude
That the morning
Is so silent
That I heard
The whistle blow
From the trestle
To the west
Or that I chanced
To be outside
To hear it
With an armful
In my hands
To distract me
At the wonder of it
Someone might think
I was crazy
Had they chanced
To be here
Such a conundrum
That I will
Have to leave
To sustain this
To restore it
I am so lucky
As to replicate
Far off place
These are lessons
To attain it
In my present
State of life
Though I will
Have to leave
To discover it.
It is time
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.