September 12, 2015
Bent, New Mexico
(For my friend Ann and her ‘Big Love’)
My friend Ann asked me last night, in the midst of a discussion of my past relationships, if I was still hoping to find my life’s partner. I answered her, “Apparently not!” I think the answer surprised her more than it did me. Having so recently perused my past and present relationships, or the lack of, I am at least for the moment quite content with my solitude. In fact it rather surprised me that I received several messages this morning from people that I know and I had to reconsider my present stance. I am glad to be alone but I am also comforted by the close proximity of those who I can truly call friends, and they are assuredly pleased with the same. It bears a strong argument for keeping at least some part of my current existence a constant even as I consider other options, as I am so apt to do.
Ann is going for a job interview in Montana with the Crow Nation. I have a similar opportunity if I wish to pursue it, lending light to the irony that I so recently purchased a book about their history and culture. I lent it to Ann last night in spite of my own strong desire to read it, the few pages I perused offered insights into the Native Culture which I so wish to explore. Still, she will read it avidly and quickly and her choices will be influenced by it for certain. So will mine in the end….if she decides to make the move I may be eager to follow her on another life’s adventure. Perhaps that is her purpose here, to lead me off in another direction? She has been a reminder of things I might have chosen to overlook in my own life and I must say that the twinkle of love she shares with her spouse stirred some buried emotions in me also. There is an innocence in their love for each other which I have never shared since my youth and they have preserved the same in their enduring relationship. Perfect it is not, and I would not trade my freedom and experiences for that at this point in my life, but I envy her all the same. The irony that she might inspire me into another empty handed leap of faith is clear though I imagine I have also given her the same.
I will seek out my solitude today even if I have a strong desire for the opposite. I have a commitment to field and tractor which requires my sole attentions and yet I might wave the effort also. I could call Ann and take her on an adventure into my life but my first loyalty requires me to do otherwise. So I could saddle my horse also and wish to do the same but I won’t, I have a promise to keep that I have too often broken this summer and even as the season turns to fall so does the time which I will be allowed to work. It will be winter soon enough. The sunflowers wave joyfully in the wind just outside my window and they are now in full bloom. August flowed into September in but a blink of an eye.
My coffee is done and there is much for me to do today. I had, and still have, the strong desire to pen something deeper and poetic, something to share with many ears and which they might applaud, but now is not the time. I will return to Nogal today, to work and perhaps to write and sleep, I need the pure solitude the place has to offer. I also need the comfort I have always found there and the deeper emotions threaten to break loose even now. I need the warm arms of my familiar haunt to comfort me. I have yet been able to explain that fully to Ann, the story of the “Big Love” that I found out on the Plains, the one I should be writing about right now. Perhaps I will, before I seek out my solitude.
(And so I did!)
That Big Love
My friend Ann asked me last night, in the midst of a discussion of my past relationships, if I was still hoping to find my life’s partner. I answered her, “Apparently not!” I think the answer surprised her more than it did me. Having so recently perused my past and present relationships, or the lack of, I am at least for the moment quite content with my solitude. In fact it rather surprised me that I received several messages this morning from friends and I had to reconsider my present stance. I am glad to be alone but I am also comforted by the close proximity of those who I can truly call friends, and they are assuredly pleased with the same. It bears a strong argument for keeping at least some part of my current existence a constant even as I consider other options, as I am so apt to do.
What I haven’t had the time to explain to Ann is the concept of the ‘Big Love’ and how it has come to dominate my life, or how it did for so long. I have other considerations at the moment, no matter how fallible they are, and it is only in my solitude and the depths of the wilderness that I find the comfort I speak of. It lends a strong argument for a retreat and a change of venue, but I have yet to decide. I have yielded to the security of a good paying job but at such a cost also, I am paying for the comforts in other ways and I am suffering from the same. It has only been on rare occasions such as solo walks in the mountains and long drives on the back roads that I have touched on the love that I speak of. Even when I drove for days in company of my dearest friend, through the mountains and the plains, it was for the most part absent.
Several years ago, while traveling on a long dirt road across the San Augustin Plains, I asked myself a question, and answered it as well. I asked if I would trade the freedom and adventure I had found in such complete solitude, as I had at the moment, for a Big Love. The answer was, “This is a Big Love.” In that moment I was surrounded by the wide open sweep of the one hundred mile Plain and the broad blanket of the sky, and very little else. Perhaps there was the wind, or the shimmer of the sunlight on the fine particles of dust suspended in the air which made the distant mountains appear like an illusion on the horizon. And maybe there was the utter clarity which only comes to us in such instances, where there are no distractions or concerns but only the absolute brilliance of the moment, the true present with no pressure from the past or the future. Such instances are beyond explanation except to say that it is the very essence of pure solitude and there is no greater love that I have ever experienced. Neither do I think I ever will………
That said there is the ever present desire to share such a moment with but one other human being. I have done this also and my heart aches for the same, it always has and it always will. I have had that chance and it was as precious, and as fleeting, as any other. Sadly I have found it far more often when I was alone and yearn for the same more often than not. I have long ago come to accept that in the end we are all solo entities and we are fully responsible for our own happiness. It was the acceptance of that which led me to the discovery of that ‘Big Love’ and I will carry it with me to my grave, ever grateful for having found it! It has become the gateway to my freedom, though it was also a lesson I understood from my youth, I had simply not made the distinction. I don’t know that it would have changed much in the way I lived my life but I would have been far less concerned about the outcome had I recognized it sooner! It is only now, in my advanced age, thank you, when the biological clock has ceased to tick and my children are grown and on their own, that I have come to so fully appreciate the value of my solitude and the freedoms it has afforded me. I might have been spared some mistakes if I had found a functional partner, but so I might have missed some adventures also. I might have never wandered off into the wilderness as I chanced to do, or met that ‘Big Love’ in such an intimate setting, but then I might not have required it either!
I look out my window as two golden butterflies twirl into the sky above the blossoms of the sunflowers and I reflect on the symbolism they have to offer. I might have shared the same, and on occasion I have, but neither would I be recording the sentiments. Writing is, after all, is a very solitary venture and requires the absence of distraction. I might have woven my spirit into the fabric of another person and never recorded the adventure. Or he might have provided me the freedom to do so at a greater length? This is a question that may well never be answered but at least there is one thing I am certain of. I have found and embraced that ‘Big Love’, which we all have searched for, and I have no regrets or misgivings for having done so. I should also thank my friend Ann for reminding me of that!