The Way Back


February 24, 2015

Reflecting on the past I can see where my logic holds true. I wrote this piece in a moment of reflection that proved accurate in so many ways. Although I have returned to the ‘work force’ as much out necessity as anything else so I yearn for the freedoms of the past and hope to make that transition soon as I can. Knowing there is a way back makes all the difference, I have already been there.

May 26, 2010
Nogal House
Indian Divide, New Mexico

The Way Back

I am beginning to wonder if there is a way back from here or if instead this path simply meanders forever to parts unknown. This journey of life differs so much from that of my work for even though my travels take me to remote places on winding and sometimes even indiscernible roads there is always a way back, the ever faithful GPS marking the way and even in its absence the fresh tire tracks leave a path to follow. My life has perhaps left a trail as well but the marks of my passing are far flung and the winds of time have left little to follow. Perhaps if I had picked my way more cautiously or chosen to stay on the beaten path I would have something as a reference but I have neglected and avoided that judiciously, the conventions of my youth having led me to flee half hazard from the start and it seems I never really slowed my flight.

Eleven years ago I made a decision for my children’s sake to make a sincere effort to attain more stability and security, to get a ‘real’ job, purchase a house, provide for them all of the things that my parents had done their best to give me. I went back to school, studied hard and in short order was a Certified Water System Operator, racking up my levels quickly once I was employed and assured of a just reward for my efforts. I shall never forget the heady feeling of seeing the doors open before me, or the sense of responsibility that came over me the first day I drove to Carrizozo, New Mexico to take my position as the Water and Wastewater Operator for that community of 1200 people. I knew that not only that I would be responsible for the quality of their water supply and wastewater disposal but also that if I failed I was doomed to a life of struggle once more and that my children would also suffer for it.

Fortunate I was that I not only succeeded but excelled and I stayed in Carrizozo for three years and then moved ahead to other equally rewarding positions. Ultimately after nine years I was holding a Level 4 in Water and Wastewater and taking a position as a Regional Water Technician for the State Parks in New Mexico, a weighty title and a great responsibility. The position proved to be more than I could address and still maintain my integrity with personalities and regulations making it a more challenging task than I cared for. I was relieved to part ways with that but left with a bitter taste as well. Several months of unemployment cemented the deal and much as one needs to get back on when they have been thrown from a horse the time to mull the fall served to make a return to a technical position an unappealing proposal. Fortunate I was to have other work and a chance to return to a State job with lesser demands, but even then I accepted it cautiously.

I wonder if there is a way back from here; the path winds and twists and even though the inclines before me are equally steep it seems the way back could be more treacherous. A friend asked me today why I don’t move back to my house in Carrizozo which I have been trying to sell for years; I easily replied that I don’t want to. A nice house it is, but the mortgage is more than I care to pay, I am done with all of that now and have no wish to return. Even as I teeter on financial failure with my credit and integrity at stake I am uncertain that I can return to the mainstream, even though the door is still open. I still have my Certifications and my reputation, my skills are still in hand and there is little to stop me except for my self, but she is the tough one. I have spent the better part of the last eleven years trying to do the right thing. I have made a lot of money, bought a sold land and homes, raised my children well and seen them out the door, now it seems I am nearly done. If not for the house I own nothing of value, and I still have my debts which I pay all I can. I work every day at something but it seems the garden and the mountains beckon me more and more. The bills are piling up and I must do something, but I prefer to write!

Maybe I am already there, where it is that I wish to get to. There is a path back, at least a little ways, I can see that now. In all honesty I could go there right now, click on the New Mexico Environmental Department website, go to employment and look at the jobs. I am qualified for almost all of them, and would surely get a nod. It really is that simple, go back to work full time, make the big bucks, at least for here, find some more land………I am just not so sure that I want to! The clouds are billowing on the mountaintops, the windmill turns steady and I can see the garden from my window. I can just as easily sit here and go out there and pick some lettuce, boil some greens and put a cheap steak on the grill. I could work my way through this rough spot a dollar at a time and hope that I can rent or sell the house again. I can see the road there, it is not so very far from my door but I think I will go close the gate and go for a walk, the oak brush just greened up and I the cholla are ready to flower; it is time to go take a look. The road will always be there and besides, it is a long way back………………..

2 responses to “The Way Back”

  1. agapejacqui says :

    I believe that the journey is what’s important…as long as the heart continues to sing. Yes, there are times when out of necessity, we may find it necessary to pause for a bit…yet…our passion can remain…and continue to grow and blossom. It’s the ongoing challenge of the artist; to find that delicate balance. Yet, I believe it is always present; that balance. Life challenges us to see with the eye behind the eye, hear with the ear behind the ear and love with the heart behind the heart. The path is made clear.

    • cathieeisen says :


      As always your comments are straight from the heart and much appreciated. Thank you so much for folowing me and for affirming the messages I try to share, and then adding another layer as well. It warms my heart to know you are reading my essays.

      Thank you!


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