August 19, 2016
Mescalero, New Mexico
It occurs to me again as I take a quick glimpse of past thoughts how I am chronicling my life and will have so many opportunities to reflect on the course of it. Wisdom is such a precious commodity and I am in constant need of the same. I see now the treasure I can hold in my hands and how it will create the balance I so require during the times when my consciousness teeters on the edge of chaos.
I forget sometimes. I have had such a strong routine in my life, at times, of writing, running and prayer. I can look back on the years at the Nogal House when I woke each morning before the dawn, sat to write as I watched the sun take her walk across the mountain peaks, and then burst out the door to run to the summit of those very same slopes. I was healthy then, in mind, body and spirit, much as I am now but far more so and the years seem to be taking their toll, at least for the moment. I left there five years ago next month for the Grand Canyon National Park and except for some brief interludes have not returned there since. It is still my haven, by all means, but I do not live there anymore, I just visit and return here.
Sometimes I forget. In spite of my determination to maintain my clarity, my spirituality and my fitness, in every sense of the word, I languish. I made a promise to myself as a youth to never allow the demands of daily life, of work and responsibility, to distract me from all which is most precious to me, but so I have allowed the same. It has been a constant battle in fact and fortunately I have kept the rail high and only allowed myself some occasional slips. I might gain ten pounds before I go on a diet, I might get slow and lazy for a while, but then get out and walk again, or run if I am so inclined. I might even stop writing, or not make the time to do as I should, but I return. But sometimes I forget.
Now, again, I remember. I can recall the strength in my mind, body and spirit when I take the initiative to replenish them, to honor them with some added effort. Having so recently freed myself of distraction and thus so much of the self imposed crisis in my life I have returned to my routine in the process. If I always try to eat well, I am eating better. If I always try to work hard, I am working harder, and centering my efforts on the things which mean the most. If I have always valued my fitness so I am focused on that again as well. After far too long a time I am running again, and feeling the benefits already. If my body still has so much resilience, so it is returning to me also.
I ran this morning, as I have every day for the past week. It isn’t that I didn’t have the desire to run it was that I could find no place convenient to do so and still be at work on time. Finally, out of desperation, I realized there is a trail just behind my workplace that leads to the lagoon…….I can go there and check the pond and allow myself some leisure also, if you can call it that. My fifteen minute break is an affirmation instead, of all the things I have held so precious. It is my moment in the wind, running through the trees and up the mountainside, and back. I cannot run far, I never have been able to, but I recover fast also, and then run again. I liken myself to a Quarter Horse whose dense muscle requires far more oxygen than that of the lean Arab or Thoroughbred. If I am of the strong Germanic type so the Natives are lean and fast. I have endurance but have to slow on occasion to let my muscles loosen and recover, but I am gaining every day. My Native friends who I have so often hiked with can go all day and never stop, but of course that is inherent also.
I ran this morning, up the two track dirt road to the base of the hillside. Still wanting more exertion, I followed the elk trail and climbed a rocky slope before I stopped. There is a tree on the crest and it is my next goal, though I didn’t quite get there today. I limited myself to the next stopping place where I had to pause and breathe before I went any further, and then I turned back in the interest of time. I will climb further on Monday, and maybe even summit if I am so lucky, or maybe the next day if not. I won’t quit, that is for certain. I am back on task and it has already enriched my life, again.
So it was I turned to walk back to the level ground so I could begin my run back. On the crest of the hillside I took pause to peruse the view, which spreads quickly the higher you climb. From my perch I could see my entire workspace, as well as much of Mescalero proper and the mountains beyond. The cool morning breeze touched my warm skin and I breathed deep of it freshness. Without even thinking I raised my hands as the Natives will do, to greet the day and to say their morning payer. I took a moment to do the same. The power of the moment flowed into my spirit. I suddenly realized the strength in their method of prayer, of how they open themselves up with their arms and hands outspread, welcoming the day and embracing it as well. I stood there for along moment before I departed. As soon as my feet felt level ground I ran again, freely as a Native for a short distance, before my muscles bunched again. Still, I ran farther than I had at the start, warmed to the effort and inspired as well. We can always go a little farther than we think, loosening our legs as we reach for the next step, the next summit. So it is with prayer. When we open ourselves to the possibilities, embracing sun and sky or whatever higher power we wish to allow, we can always reach further than before. It is best not to forget that.
All is well with me today. Now I remember.