Leaving It All Behind(Book Exerpt)
My apologies to my faithful readers or the extended absence but it has been a rough row of late. That said I am in transition again and the following piece is most fitting. I am en route to a new job in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and by no coincidence will be living in Monticello, a place I discovered during the time I worked for New Mexico Tech and wrote my book. I am returning to the Plains and to myself as well, realigning myself with my dreams and everything I have worked for. Thank you for staying the course!!!
June 10, 2010
Indian Divide, New Mexico
Leaving It All Behind
I had along talk with my mother yesterday about the rest of her life; she is eighty years old. Naturally such discussions lead to much introspection and contemplation of my own life, such as I ponder often enough. The temptation for the moment is to leave it all behind, ship the oars and go with the current and when I find that remote river bank to paddle to shore……….
Remote, the San Agustin Plains come to mind, Antonio and that high lonesome I have always dreamed of and searched for my life through. Truly, on a note that I am trying hard to counter at the moment, if I were to find the sort of man I have always dreamed of my retreat would be rapid and complete. As it is I am a solo entity and such requires for me to consider the means of finding that same completion of my own accord. No, truly, I have come to see at this moment the fact that I have limited the options these last few years as the prospect of a solo existence in some remote place has become as much a possible reality as something I am uncertain I wish for myself. What I have failed to do is to explore the other options fully. Let alone make a choice of one!
Ah, choices, such as leaving it all behind. Fair enough, but where is it I really wish to go?
Working in the wilderness and far off places poses more than one unique challenge. There are a few obvious ones, solitude, risks, adventure and insight, all of which I personally find rewarding and worthwhile. Yes, even the risks, the occasional adrenaline rush but also the constant requirement of awareness which keeps ones instincts and attention peaked bringing everything around you into a clearer perspective. The truest challenge though is the product of that, the heightened awareness that brings with it unanticipated challenges as well. There is a doorway there and once we have stepped through it the way back quickly fades into the distance much the same way that the dust from beneath my tires drifts off into the breeze. Having made that passage I am never far distant from it, every dirt track and distant windmill draws me back to it.
When I was still a young woman, all of 17 years old, I set off to cross the country, headed west as I was on the east coast. I blew my car up in Illinois and bought a backpack, completing the journey by thumb, an adventure that lasted the better part of nine years. The wilderness that I found on the road was much like the one I dwell in now, full of risk and adventure as well as a fair measure of solitude, leading one to ponder many things as the silence is unbroken for hours and the boundaries are endless. When we step away from all the noise and distraction that we are too often surrounded by we are instead confronted by the pure essence of our existence, the long vistas and the cool breezes drawing our thoughts out and bringing us to explore the endless possibilities of the remainder of our days. We are led to dream again, as we so often forget to do when we are caught up in all the other worldly troubles of day to day life.
I find it hard to describe in words for it has so become an inherent part of my existence, something that lingers always and is summoned so quickly by even a gentle breeze or the distant howl of the coyote. Bring on thunder and lightening or the rumble of the train and I am swept away and for however long it lasts I will remain in that realm of thought, returning unwillingly to the place I was before. Much as I was continually drawn to the highway in my younger days so I am pulled off into the hills now. Every dirt road tugs at me and I have become a modern day Don Quixote’; tilting at windmills in my journey through life.
It seems that I haven’t the capacity to leave it all behind, not yet anyway; but I have affirmed the fact that there are certain elements in life that I require for my own happiness and freedom remains amongst them. The need for a simple life is evident as well, a two sided coin in itself for I have also discovered that the very ritual I have created that keeps me so grounded also requires more of my time than I have to spare. The happy medium comes to mind, I shall modernize to some degree but only in a fashion that will save me time but not cost me money for they are one and the same as well. The goal is to have enough of what I need to survive and live comfortably but still within my means. If I have to sacrifice an equal amount of work to attain a convenience that I am living without I would rather attain it on my own.
I have spent the better part of my life trying to preserve the part of myself that I view to be the most precious; the innocence, spontaneity and the openness to the beauty that surrounds me. In many ways I have succeeded at that though I have paid the cost as well. Having now lived at least a half of my life I am assured of the fact that the choices I made in this regard are sound, now I must use the wisdom gained to preserve that, what ever the cost. I am not yet ready to leave it all behind but I most certainly know what I want to hold on to!