November 30, 2016
185 Nogal Canyon Road
Bent, New Mexico
My memories serve me well today and it is so easy to summon the vision of finer moments and the ensuing peace of mind they evoke. If the air is frozen here this morning so it was in Datil six years ago when I might have been standing out on the Plain at daybreak. In fact I could well have been reflecting on the contrast then also, between the heated office such as I currently inhabit and the absolute wonder of the ice filled air. If I might have hesitated to step out into the cold this morning so I reflected, once I was surrounded by it, how some things are easier to accept than others. I would rather face the cold than be trapped in a place I don’t wish to be. Having once having adapted to it I know that the outer garments one requires are far easier to shed than the defenses one must employ against the unhappiness of confinement. I am confined here, though only for another few days, and then I will be free again, in so many senses of the word!
What of the Plains at daybreak. The air was crystalline and twinkled in the dawn. Every drop of moisture was frozen and suspended by some ethereal force which turned them to into prisms and refracted the light. If I have seen much beauty in my life that was the most fascinating and coupled with the utter stillness, as everything else was frozen solid, it seemed otherworldly. The memory stays with me still and I would trade everything I own to return to that place and stay. I have sought to replicate it ever since and the distance of the years is a stark reminder of that failure, as is the weight of the effort of having tried. If I am troubled by the knowledge so I am heartened as well. I will soon be upon yet another plain and if not free to wander as I was in years past so the wonder and the beauty will once more be accessible.
Who am I to complain anyway? If most people go through their lives dreaming that they might one day have such an experience as I just described, so I have lived it more than once! I have ridden to the mountaintops through snow chest deep on my horse to admire the full moon in the darkness. I have ponied horses before daybreak in the heart of the winter cold and I raised my children in a log cabin in the mountains, breaking a trail to the outhouse when the snows came deep. I spent two years measuring wells in the deepest of the wilderness through the coldest of winters, and still yet live close to the elements, as is my wont. Even as I complain about my confinement I am poised to move onto the Palisaded Plains where the wind and snow will blow in equal measures and I am sure to witness the wonders of the same.
If I can pause to reflect on the best of memories so I know I will be making more. I have lived the life of freedom I dreamed of as a child and still continue to do so. Perhaps that is the heart of my angst, I know what I want as I have already experienced it so fully and I yearn for more of the same. If I have always been torn between my feral nature and the constraints of society, it seems to worsen with age! If my years are numbered then all the more reason to live as I please and yet the demands of society limit my means. I cannot simply walk away into the wilderness, though I have dreamed of the same since my childhood. What I can do is to remember it is always in my reach and to retreat there as often as I possibly can, even if only by reflecting on my memories! All is well today!