The Cabraedas (Book Exerpt)
April 9, 2011
Indian Divide, New Mexico
It is my nature to seek the positive aspect of all that surrounds me, to do differently would be my demise for there is always the dark side nearby and I care not to embrace it. Every challenge and every adversity in my life has a bit of light in it and will lead me forward to better things. The end result has been rewarding and I have yet to bemoan the outcome.
The wind seems worse this year, stronger, more insistent, pervasive and continuous, coming day and night and unceasing. Regardless of the actuality of it I am certain it is one of the more severe years and the ongoing drought contributes to its misery. The land is dry, dusty and yellow brown with so little of the lush green we all associate with springtime. Even the native plants are slow to come out this year having been frozen solid in February by the rare deep cold. It is easy to bemoan the wind for it limits our every effort and increases the challenge of every aspect of our life, even keeping us awake through the night with its steady howl.
Yesterday I caught another side of the wind as I drove across the ‘Cabraedas’, ‘The Breaks’ as they are called in English, a barren fractured stretch of country south east of Socorro. My employer, New Mexico Tech, published a handbook about the roadway and the geology and as it was along my way home I yielded to the temptation to explore it. The directions led me to a little known road which led into a wilderness laced with valleys and canyons. The sharp cliffs and rolling hills were stacked together by the earth’s ancient upheavals and I could see the layers of bedrock and dirt. The swales and mesas were left behind by years of erosion and the hard rock and stacked gravel is all that remains. It was dusty as the wind was strong and steady and when I emerged miles later back on the paved highway I then drove across the wind scorched plains, once more buffeted by the cross winds and assuaged by the dust. The wind was so powerful that at every low flat where the grass grows thin the earth itself was on the move like some small version of the dust bowl. The powdery clouds drifted into every nook and cranny and were sailing thick on the wind, so visible as to form a mirage where the sun glinted off its turbid upheaval.
Then came a thought from deep within me and born of humility and wonder. This then, is God’s work, and it is his hand that stirs the earth and rearranges soils, leaf and stone, filling in the low places, spreading seed and pollen, manure and dirt, tumbleweeds and branches. The wind, as with all else, serves a grand purpose, and even the stress it places on mind and body has it’s reasons, strengthening our resilience or breaking down the weak, as it has since time began. I watched with wonder the workings of this universe that surrounded me and I marveled at the force of it, as if the wind was born on the velocity of the spin of the earth and I was but a solitary figure clinging to its face. Who am I, I thought, to bemoan the fact I have somehow been inconvenienced by the torrent that was surging past? It is better to stand in the midst of it and glory in its strength.
Stand in the wind I did, just as I did last night when I stepped out my door to glimpse the glow of the new moon and the spray of stars that is the Milky Way. The wind tore at my robe and lifted my hair as I turned to face it, head thrown back with a word of thanks, thrilling at its cool caress as I felt it surround me. This then is life, full force and wonderful, full of grace and wonder and here to be savored for each and every moment. It calms now and I release the brake on the windmill and let it turn free. The water rushes through the pipe, overflowing on the ground, greening grass and garden and I wonder, “Just who are we to complain about such things as the wind, they are not our choice, but His.”