I Need To Be Here

9.19.15 I Need To Be Here

September 19, 2015
Nogal House
Vera Cruz, New Mexico

“Returning to my Nogal House always brings nostalgia and this visit is no exception. I camped out on my way to Albuquerque and drove as far as here on the way back, in no hurry to get back to Mescalero I might add!”

I Need To Be Here

I need to be here
Or somewhere like here
I need the cold wind
And the clouds
The solitude
And the sky
I need to be here
Or somewhere like here
Where the solitude whispers
As loud as the wind
And the earth and sky
Fall together
In a tangle of endless love
And happiness
I do not need another person
Just this place
And all that it offers
To be happy
And I will never
Be satisfied
By anything less

I need to be here
Where the wind and rain
Snow and drought
And the endless wilderness
Unfurl before me
Where I can walk for hours
And never be lost
And never be found
Either
But rather evaporate
Into the canyons
And watch the shimmer
Of the dust
Illuminated by the sun
As I pass through the veil
Of nothingness
That opens up
Before me
And I fold myself
Into the solitude.

I need to be here
I am
As some feral creature
Satisfied by the fulfillment
Of all my simple hungers
For nothing more
But wind and sky
Warmth and safety
And a full belly
When I need one
I need not
The comfort
Or the luxury
That defines our society
And instead flee
From the necessity
Of the same
Just give me my
My freedom
And I will ask
For nothing else

I need to be here
As I need nothing else
The quiet peacefulness
And the howl of the wind
Provide me with all
The comforts I desire
And I can build a fire
When I am cold
Give me back
My weapons
So that I may survive
The challenge of
The elements
Which I will gladly meet
Each day
I need but a saw
And axe
And a tree
And few gallons
Of water
The strength
Of my body
And the freedom
To use my mind
As I wish
I need to be here.

Some people need more, I need less. From the beginning of my adult life I have fled convention and the confines of a modern life and instead chose the wilderness and the ensuing struggles. I hitchhiked around the country for eight years running, working when I wished or when I had to and rambling when I was not. If I stayed somewhere three months it was a long time and even now three years seems like the limit, though I am now working on four. Perhaps I am getting a bit wiser for the wear, or maybe the money is getting better and more important, but I cannot say I am happy either! My needs and wants have never changed and even if the paycheck is rewarding there are other things that money cannot buy. Peacefulness and happiness are at a premium these days and somehow I still find them in the simplest of things. Sadly, ironically, I can barely afford the luxury of either, my retreat is an hours drive from my job and there is no viable employment any closer. I could survive as I always have, but little more and that somehow defeats the purpose. I could grow old here and never get out of debt or find my forever place either, I would just get older. When the day comes that I can no longer carry my water or wield an axe I want to have something to fall back on!

Some people might wonder what I am talking about but they could look at my arms and know the answer. I was teaching a class yesterday and afterwards someone asked me, among other questions, if I was a body builder. Hah! I am fifty seven years old and worried about my chicken wings and I am still getting that question! I told him no, I just work hard….Yeah, I have chopped a lot of wood in my life, and shoveled a lot of poop too, back in the horse racing days, and well before that. My point is this, I am still strong and I want to remain that way in mind, body and spirit, whatever it takes to do that. It all comes down to hard work and that of the sort that so many people make such an effort to avoid. I prefer, instead, to embrace it. Give me back my axe and saw and I will survive just fine. Let me go back to running the irrigation water and digging ditches, even if my hands hurt, I will be happy! Give me back these early mornings beside the woodstove to record my thoughts before I do anything else, and I will be content! I may have to go start the generator soon as I have no electricity here but my tea is hot and the house is warm. If I have yearned for the feeling of this place in the past three something years it has now become a necessity.

I suppose that we all create a philosophy towards life as we move from being children to adulthood. Mine became clear early on and instead of following in my parents footsteps in the search of wealth and comfort I chose quite the opposite. Jack Kerouac introduced me to the free wind and I was eager to follow him and as with him the pen and paper came along. Even now I continue to record my travels and I still hunger for those voyages which defined my life for years. True enough, I am more sedentary now and even if the highway still calls me so I am content to be here, it is the freedom and adventure that must remain a constant. My greatest desire at the moment is to wander back into the hills which loom beyond my fence line and in spite of the wind and the cold or even the threat of rain I will go there if I can. For those who have never ventured thus it might be hard to explain but for anyone who has ever felt the wind in their hair and stared off into the wilderness, the feeling remains. My spirit lightens at the thought of it and though my heart will beat hard and my breath will be short, as I have so rarely exerted myself of late, so will come that second wind which will allow me to venture deep into the canyons if I have the chance to do so.

These canyons, and mountainsides, how I need to be there. Gone are the worries of today or tomorrow and instead there is the cool bite of the wind on my face and the swell of my chest as I draw the deep breaths the effort requires. Instead of concern there is joyfulness and the sweep of the basin stretching off to the distance lifts my spirit in the same way the wind currents carry the ravens who will fly above me, calling out a warning to their friends even as they greet me also. They know and remember me I am sure and the same one who has haunted my windmill for years returned this morning to do the same, cawing loudly as he circled above me as I built my morning fire. There is nothing else I need in such moments and I have to question what is more important than my health and my happiness? The sorrows I have written of lately pale in comparison to the joy and happiness I find in the break of the new day, cold as it is, and the challenges here are far more worthy of my efforts.

I toss another chunk of pine into the woodstove to keep the house warm, too frugal to waste any of the juniper or walnut, but glad for the comfort of the fire. I will finish my tea and go for a walk before I leave, but I also plan to return for at least another night. There is something here which I need more than any monetary reward will ever provide and I must be mindful of that knowledge. I am not quite certain how I will accomplish it, but I need to be here!

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