A(nother) Lesson In Reverence

DSCF0184September 30, 2007
Nogal House
Indian Divide, New Mexico

A(nother) Lesson In Reverence

A fall wind whistles across the side of the house today, calling out a promise of pending winter winds, though the day be warm and dry. The water tank fills and overflows quickly with a steady spin on the windmill. Sunday chores: Clean the globes and fill the kerosene lanterns, which once more finds me on my knees, as does the wood stove when winter comes. I kneel also to open the faucet on the tank to water the horse, which is an improvement on carrying buckets, which I did before the tank was repaired.

All of these chores are performed with reverence. I think back to doing these tasks with Ronnie, who taught me so much in the time we shared, the good memories now safe to recall in his absence but also more painful than when he lived. There is no recourse now! I was safer from the pain when he was alive for I had to protect myself from it, now it is laced with the regret and the uncertainty of knowing we could never try to again displace the anger that always flared between us.

His presence; his love of the ritual of the simple joys and tasks, the clank of the windmill, the polishing of the globes that the lantern light be bright, the full lamps and trimmed wicks that guaranteed light. Then there the buzz of the chainsaw and the wood gathering that we shared back when I watched him and dragged the branches while the boys carried and loaded the wood. Now I go alone but still savor the effort and the reward and I silently thank him for the teaching. Every fire that I build, rather than paying a gas bill, is a tribute to him who furthered my dreams into a reality with the log cabin that we lived in and raised our children. He was the long dreamed of mountain man, with his knives and his guns and the skills to use them which he passed on to our children. He was all the things that I dreamed of, and far more than I bargained for and the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” echoes resoundingly in that memory!

Reverence, a feeling of profound respect, to regard with honor. I thank God for all the small favors, for the rituals I perform in the simple tasks that bring water, food, warmth and light to my home, my life. The peace and beauty I have sought since my youth surrounds me in the mountains, the sky, the sun and the stars. Even when I step outside my door in the darkness of mid night, as unwilling as I am at times to slip from beneath the blankets and brave the cold of the night air, I am always grateful. I can recall standing outside our cabin in the Capitan Gap and marveling at the Milky Way, so brilliant in the darkness, unadulterated by any artificial light and I find the same wonder here. That was my introduction to true country living, where I honed the skills that I still rely on now by choice and not circumstance.

There is a valuable lesson in all of this, of how our attitude towards things can so influence the very essence of our lives. I revere in the daily ritual of my survival and the performance of the tasks that one could easily grumble about if unwilling to perform them. Rather than complain that the knees of my jeans wear thin and white from the time I spend kneeling, planting and tending my garden, stoking the fire, taking out ashes and filling lanterns….I smile and thank God for the reminder of how kind he has been to me, and how fortunate I am to be so blessed with a willingness and the ability to perform these tasks. They are a reminder of the things that are most important for our survival, in mind, body and most of all, spirit. I have warmth, shelter, light, and nourishment of every sort. My efforts are rewarded directly, and not exchanged for anything else. I am reminded daily of how little else I need when I look on the splendor that surrounds me, and I cannot help but ask why I would even desire anything more………….

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