November 3, 2015
Bohemian Grace
185 Nogal Canyon Road
Bent, New Mexico


If I am to share my sorrows
So I must share my joys
If I am to venture into darkness
So I should bring the light
My life has revolved
Around adventure
Yet I huddle in the shelter
Of necessity
Providing for the needs
And the wants
That I must have
While my spirit languishes
Before them
I have lived better
And the memories
Are but a page away
As I have recorded
All of them
And stashed them
Like some treasure
To be admired and coveted
At my leisure
Except that they
Are not material
But tangible instead
Giving them a far greater value
And potential
Than any gem or stone
That could be sold
For some other possession
They are the greatest
Treasure of all
And instead unlock
The beauty of all things
And the freedom
And admiration
Of the wonders
Of the earth
And the most remote reaches
Of her wilderness
Where time stands still
And some things
Never change
But remain almost static
Except for the touches
Of the wind and the rain
Flood and fire
But even then
Over time
To their present state
Because they are
That sacred
And that sheltered
From the touch
Of mankind
And his society
For they are comprised
Of sand
And stone
River and tree
Bird and elk
Nature’s creations
Sheltered by roads
Washed by the water
And towering ramparts
That hide them away
From only the few
Who might venture
That far
I would go there now
For the freedom
And the solitude
They will always
If only
I could


If I cannot escape to the Plains or the remote reaches of the Alamosa Canyon so I can still summon their memory with but a slight effort of doing so. I have recalled them now and they surround me but for the bark of the neighbor’s dogs and the hum of my phone. Oddly, everything was silent when I sat down to write but I have been reminded of the close proximity of my neighbors and friends, and my need to escape them also. I would kill those dogs right now if I could, or at least silence them, but then the spell would be totally broken. Instead I will do my best to block them out, if such is possible either!

So it is that some realities are impossible to escape! I need to escape right now, I need the solace of silence and solitude and I am writing before I even brush my teeth because my thoughts are that urgent. And yet my phone vibrates with a message and already the tendrils of the life from which I was partly removed for three days reach to grasp me! How easily we become prisoners of our own device and how challenging it is to escape that when it come looking for us.

Then there are the Plains, and all of the memories I have of their magic and grace. What great fortune I had to have spent a year and a half of my life venturing frequently to a place where the silence was complete but for the wind and the rain. I can still recall waking in that silence and having to take pause to recall where I was. Or the same feeling of wonder when I heard the tap of rainfall on the metal roof of the Bunkhouse at the Wahoo Ranch after nearly a year of drought. Fog was an illusion then and when the clouds settled into the canyon and crept up to the corrals and the barn the dawn was incredible, surreal even. How I wish for the same now and wonder when I can escape again. I have a trip to California planned soon and my time off is so precious. I am using some today and there are no regrets as work is the furthest thing from my mind.

During those years when I traveled for work there were so many things restored to me. Not that I didn’t live well before, because I did, but I was struggling to do the same. Having ventured forth in search of fortune and freedom I stumbled home with neither one. State jobs don’t always pay the most and the economy crumbled in 2008, leaving me landless and with fewer options. The employment which took me to the Plains put me back on track and opened the doors to an adventure I had only dreamed of before then. It also restored my poetry which had languished for years except for an occasional outburst. As with this morning such is only a breath away, given the time to record it, and I need to do more of that.

My point is this; whatever we chose to envision can promptly become a reality if we give it the opportunity to do so. I woke with a determination to do the same this morning and I have already succeeded, even as my tea cools on the stove. Some things are more important than others and our mindset can determine, and capture that. I am not going to lose the wonder of the dawn today but instead hold it close to my breast as a reminder of the same. I am not going to record my sorrows but rather hone in on the joys I have experienced and convince myself that I need to stay focused on just that. I want to write about the wonder of my life and to live the same so I can do so and it is, as was years ago, but a pen stroke away!

When I worked out on the Plains I came to carry a notebook aside from my field journal so I could record my thoughts. Given the constraints of time and my commitment to my work I often just scribbled brief entries, insights and poetry to capture the moment. What came of those were wonderful mental photographs of the most precious moments of that adventure. There were even days when I made ten or fifteen such notes, such were the experiences I had and the joy of the travels, driving across the waving grasses or climbing some narrow two track to another high mesa overlooking the world. I was in a constant state of wonder and there was nothing to keep me from it, my work was a pleasure in itself and there was no radio or telephone to distract or concern me. I realize now how rarely any of us ever experience that and if I took it for granted at that time so I savored every moment because I knew it was temporary. I always had to go home and the job wasn’t going to last forever. When it did end I sought another just the same but never found it…..

I ask myself now how to replicate that. The dogs have silenced themselves and I have captured the thought I did not want to escape me. My book lies in the background of my computer and I am assured that I haven’t lost my grasp on those memories. In a moments time I can summon the wonder of the silence and the whisper of the ravens’ wing as he breaks the emptiness of the clear blue sky. I could walk into the wilderness today if I pleased, I can see it out my window, though I would also have to return. I will still consider doing that, the trees are truly changing and the aspens will be a wonder in the cool of higher climbs. I need to feel my legs ache and the pain in my chest as I struggle to breath and know that when I summit the mountaintop I will be restored. Even if I don’t get there I can still envision it, and work towards the same. For now that will have to be enough.

5 responses to “If”

  1. Jody says :

    Lovely Cathie. I too am enthralled with the memories of your sojourn on the Plains. I must read it again. Your time there was as one with the living Earth. I loved the experiences of your journey, and the reverence for all you beheld. I don’t blame you one bit for bringing these memories and feelings back to savor. For clearly they stay in the mists of your every day. You were richly blessed, and keen to know it.

    • cathieeisen says :


      So good to hear from you and I always cherish your words, they are as poetic as the earth and the sky and equally nourishing. I too have to reread my book so I can return there again and I am flattered that you wish to do the same. I will be en-route to San Diego for Thanksgiving, driving this time but will think of you along the way!


      • Jody says :

        As I you! Remembering with shear joy the words, thoughts, feelings, stories, laughter and understandings we shared on that same path years ago now, as if it were yesterday, fortuitous still. Oh, that we might not have had the sharing we had, or connections that ensued. How less rich life would be Cathie if not for meeting you, your stories, your musings, your
        honesty, sensitivity, your life. Most thankful once again. With you always on your journey!



  2. agapejacqui says :

    Such a beautiful light shines through in these words. A feeling of reverence in the light as well as the shadow of the human experience, which is palpable as I read this post. Yet, I cringe to merely call it THAT, for it is so much more!

    What I treasure in reading your words, is the vision I receive: as if walking in someone else’s shoes, yet realizing how well they fit my own feet!

    The ability that you have to remain anchored in these spaces of beauty, clarity and the awe of nature, silence…it inspires ME to remain there a bit longer than I tend to allow myself in the “noisy confusion of life” (as the prose poem of Max Ehrmann so beautifully describes in his devotional “Desiderata”).

    So thank you, my friend. Thank you for allowing me to step into your moccasins from time to time. I feel the softness as well as the strength in them each time I slip them onto my feet!

    • cathieeisen says :

      Thank you both for your comments!!!! Jody, You are a treasure to my heart and my life would be less if I had not met you!!! Jacqui, I have Desiderata posted on the wall where I work……Need I say more!
      Love to you both!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: