Day Forty Nine 2017 A White Woman Fire
February 17, 2017
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
Day Forty Four Nine 2017 A White Woman Fire
A friend chided me the other day for posting a picture alongside my piece named ‘Small Fires; which depicted a ‘White Man Fire’. He was right, I had written of my need to retreat and build a small fire but having not done so I ‘borrowed’ a picture from the internet. I chose the wrong one, a poor fire made of boards rather than sticks, the details overlooked at the moment. It was a white man’s fire.
I arrived here in Nogal last night and built a real fire, and then, this morning, bettered it. There is the first fire that one builds when the house has been cold and empty. I am quick and careful at this practice as it is evening and I want to settle in and relax. The wood is already there, carefully stacked for just such a moment, and there is a bucket of kindling also, along with the paper. I carefully twist the paper as I am wont to do, add my kindling to the pile. I then carefully arrange a few smaller pieces to begin, and a couple of larger ones, as I am confident in my success. Then I cheat a bit, but the addition of a squirt of ‘boy scout juice’ (as Ronnie so joyfully called it), is just to be for sure. It is 7:00 in the evening and modern conveniences are just what they are, convenient! The fire quickly takes hold and moments later I stoke it again and adjust the dampers.
Still yet, it is the morning fire which is most precious. I wake early as always and luxuriate in the peacefulness, lying still before I rise to absorb it. The house is cool but not cold as the fire still smolders, the coals a dull glow in the ashes. I stir them and gather them together and toss a handful of kindling and a few branches on top before I make my tea. By the time my bed is made the fire crackles again, a true white woman fire and a comfort for my soul. Even now it burns happily and I have placed a fresh sprig of rosemary on the stove for incense and the essence fills the air.
I might not have come here last night, and I am so glad I did. Having spent the day putting my life back in order, paperwork and sorting things through, I left from Fort Sumner late in the day. If the journey was a pleasure I was still glad to arrive and the lights of Carrizozo were a welcome sight. The sky had filled with clouds as the sun went down and they threatened of storm. There was a moments’ hesitation as I rolled into town. There is a cozy hotel there where I stay on occasion and I thought to get a room, but reneged, I had already planned to go home and I was close enough. The desire to wake on this hillside overroad any perceived convenience and I am glad I made the choice. I need to be here right now and the reward is immediate.
How many times have I questioned my goals, or at least the means to attain them? I need only sit here at this desk beside the crackling fire to restore my resolve, and my clarity. If work is the means to an end this is the end! If I have become frustrated by the struggles I have met with living here they are, in the end, not so very different either. It is the way I apply myself and what I do with my time which counts the most and I feel, at this moment, that I am squandering it! I am also trying to change that and it is as much the reason I am here as any, this is the place to do so.
The garden lies fallow and the windmill won’t pump, and they shall remain so. The peach tree begs to be pruned but can go another year, I won’t be here to water it and it won’t hold its fruit if I don’t. The wood piles are ample, and I will work on those as time allows as my sense of order demands that, though I may not add to the supply. There is enough here to last a year, or longer in my absence. Instead I will retreat here when I can and savor what I will or if I am so lucky take it all to Oscuro. Time will tell on the last but most important of all is my presence, and my intent and the focus I maintain, no matter where I am. When I am here I am grounded and I can take that with me no matter where I go, and return when I must to restore it.
I have come to this house for the last fourteen years of my life. There have been absences yes, but I have always returned. The existence of this place and my presence here is as much of an affirmation of my success as the old backpack which I still carry around with my belongings. I have lived my dream and I continue to do so, I just need to stay closer to it! I have spent more time in this house over the last few months than I have in the last few years, and I have been reminded of so many things by doing so. If I fled from here years ago in search of greener pastures, I have found the same for the moment, at least in the literal sense. Fort Sumner is green and lush and the river runs through it, a welcome respite from the droughts that reigned here. It was green in Mescalero also but the struggles took their toll, and I am still in recovery from that. Coming here reminds me of that also.
The walls here are adorned with my artwork and I wrote my book at this desk. The very fact that I am at this window is a harbinger of success, I have maintained a presence here in spite of the challenges. Too, I am the very same person I was when I arrived here, just a bit older and wiser for the wear. The Vera Cruz still towers above me to remind me of the beauty of its summit and I am thinking I need to climb it again. I will have to get back in shape to do so but that is a necessity also, and I will be glad that I did. The dream hasn’t faltered either, it is just still more elusive than it should be, but I am getting closer also. I get discouraged at times, and get to counting the years, but they are my success story also. I would not be here if I wasn’t still trying and I may be closer to my goals than I am allowing myself to realize! There is so little else I want, except to be able to simply live my life as I wish rather than as I must. I am here for the moment so I should be pleased. I think I will put another log on my ‘white woman fire’ and remind myself of that! May all of my dear friends find the same pleasures!!!!