May 6, 2017
Fort Sumner, New Mexico
Day Ninety One Hundred Twenty Six 2017 Rest
All I am going to ask for out of this day is to get some rest. I was in no more hurry to start the day than I am to fill to with any activity other than what I wish to do. The choices are simple enough and if I will check on my duties from work and do some laundry, and perhaps even some art, that is all. I will make every effort to make my way to the river but will venture no further. That I left the cord to my laptop behind in Nogal is a frustration but I have no wish to retrieve it. I have two precious days to myself and they are far more important than that.
Rest. I feel blessed to greet the day with so little necessity or pressing needs! If I have spent so much of my life striving towards goals or having to meet the requirements of the moment for now there are more choices. Something has changed and this past year of solitude, even if it began with too many hours of work and travel, has offered me respite. My decision to move here was a good one and as I sink my roots a little deeper I find no reason for regret. If my heart still drifts to other places and is as always drawn further west, so I have found much comfort here. I find a peace of mind that has so often evaded me in the past.
Would I choose to be somewhere else? Quemado was a pleasure and the short walk in the hills was rewarding. The glimpse of Native peoples was a gentle reminder of yet another way of life. There are likely more kindred spirits to my own amongst the Natives and the Anglos there than here, but there are good folks here also. I have been invited to the Mennonite Church this Sunday and for the first in a long time I am excited to attend. If I do not have much interest in organized religion I sense that their means will be different, and may well inspire me also. Theirs is such a kind way of being in the world and I liken them to the Quakers and the Amish. I do not think I will be disappointed and am flattered by the invite.
This is a day for rest. If I have worked so much of my life, as well as played, I am at a place now where I desire a balance of the two. Quite honestly, the opportunity has presented itself better than in other places, but I need to take advantage of it also. The river is close, as is the sweep of the plain, and I have to take more time to enjoy them. That the weather has begun to warm is also a warning I should go now and not put it off for later. The dog days of summer will limit such excursions. It is still cool enough to enjoy the days and to keep the mosquitoes and midges at bay, but it is sure not to last. If I am in need of rest I have an equal desire for pleasure and it is my choice to seek them both.
May 1, 2017
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
Day One Hundred Twenty One 2017 Wildish
And so it is that I am feeling a bit wildish today and struggle for a moment with the requirement of returning to work. Not that I have any complaint with my job! I am grateful to be gainfully employed and with only a few exceptions I am as close to reaching my long term goals as I have ever been. True, I was close a couple of years ago and mishandled the opportunity, but there was reasons enough for that. Having regained my freedom in other ways I recognize also that I will choose better going forward because of that. As I gaze out my window here, warmed by both fire and sun, I am reminded of the same.
I am feeling wildish, and for good reason. It flowed quickly when I stepped out the door this morning to start the generator and to grab another armload of wood. If I left here last time with a lesser pile in the house than usual I will not do so again! Rain or snow, a good fire is a must and as I come and go at will I prefer to be prepared. The very ritual of stepping out the door first thing in the morning, before I even comb my hair, is rejuvenating and I miss the chance to do so. There is no such necessity, day or night, at my other home, and neither is there the privacy. Here there is but one neighbor across the road and if he watches I don’t care. In Fort Sumner I feel there are always eyes and am uncomfortable being half dressed because of that. Here I can step out in my robe and feel at ease, savoring even the cool breeze on my bared legs. All of this is important and I wish to live the remainder of my life in like fashion.
I found the same yesterday as I wandered the hills outside of Quemado. If I wanted so much to go to Gallup I instead took a small loop into the hills before I drove back to the east. I ventured north on Route 36 for about ten miles and then turned back to the southeast on 603, which quickly turned to a dirt road. Taken by the beauty and solitude I parked my truck on the roadside and ventured into the hills. The slope was gentle enough and I soon found my pace, climbing quickly enough to the highest ridge. With every step the presence of the outside world peeled away and the peacefulness enveloped my spirit. I found a few rocks of unusual character and kept the smoothest of them in my hand. Further on I found a colorful piece of petrified wood and thrilled at the discovery, such treasures translate as affirmations for me and I was further restored in the process.
My mind always drifts when I walk and I began to ponder my future, as I so often do. If I have wandered much and settled often I have yet to find the place I have sought for so long. If I am comfortable where I am, and well rewarded also, I am still seeking that ‘spot’ where I will remain for the duration of my life. I want as much as ever to have a permanent roost, even if this place has sufficed for the same. As the roof begins to leak again and the window glass has fallen in the kitchen it is reminding me of its decrepitness. Even if I owned it I would be hard pressed to keep it in good repair and the fact I do not begs me to decide. The gradual encroachment of the neighbors, the bright light in the distance and the dogs barking last night are also harbingers of the fact I may not always want to be here. These, coupled with my desire to seek out others more like myself are what led me to the west and sent me to the hills as well. As I stooped to pick up a piece of pottery, decorated as they so often are by the symmetrical lines of some ancient hand, I thought again of that desire. I returned it to the earth quickly, I was trespassing enough as it was.
So my mind drifted to the Navajo country and the people therein. There were some at the restaurant before I left also and I was, as always, struck by their quiet pensive nature. As with the Mescalero, after all the years I lived there, I feel somehow more akin to them than I do my own. Some of this goes back to my childhood but it has remained a constant and after living in their community and I am inclined to return to it also. If there is anything I truly miss in my life and so rarely chance to find it is their quiet calm demeanor. The serious thought and the true faith that I have found within their community and the reverence they hold for the treasure of life is scarce outside of their realm. I felt the same there in the hills and was drawn to a sunny spot beneath a small arbor of cedars. I was drawn to lie down and close my eyes for a moment to savor the peace and moments later woke suddenly from a near sleep. I might have slept but for the fact that my truck was on the roadside in a remote place and I had too many things in it to take the risk. Still yet, I was for the moment transformed and felt as if my spirit had returned in full force in that brief instant of stillness. It was with regret that I hurried on with my venture, though I walked further before I circled back.
It is this wildishness I require. Though I may find it as I walk the riverbank or the desert wilderness to the east, and if I love the people also, I am more at home to the west. I have long considered a place along the Highway 60 corridor as it slashes its way across the wilderness but carries a steady stream of tourism and snowbirds also. If my venture failed two years ago when I opened the gallery in Tularosa it was more the lack of my presence there than it being a bad idea. I am still inclined to open a small trading post somewhere and it seems Quemado might be the fit. Certainly there is competition but there is nobody along the roadway with any outdoor display as I might encourage. There is a spot where one could have the doors open to a wood shop and have a few tables as well. I know there would be some Native crafters who would come if made welcome and it would make for a pleasant way to spend the summer afternoons. Even in the off season such as now there are travelers and I could also contract with the local water systems for a steady income, always a necessity.
All this and the gateway to the wilderness right outside my door. Even in the midst of town there is a peacefulness there which is never present in Fort Sumner unless one ventures far into the desert, or down along the river. The river offers respite for certain, but the mosquitoes thrive come summer also, and the reminders of town are all too close as well. Not that I don’t love it, or that I won’t seek it out for fishing and swimming, as I will, but my heart remains in those distant places where, as with here, one needs but step out of their doorway to be enveloped in beauty. If I have yet to decide I am closer to my choice. If I have always chosen solitude over the constant lull of people so I wish to place myself around those who might make me choose differently. Bothe the Anglos and the Natives who live in those far places are there for the same reasons I wish to be. They are happy with things as they are, not as they wish for them to be. They are there because they find the comfort and pleasure from the earth and the sky, not the things they clutter their homes with. I need little to survive, and less to be happy than most, and prefer the company of others who live much the same. Too, I enjoy the passing meetings with travelers as we all have some sense of commonality and can talk of distant places, and the treasures of adventure. That was what those old trading posts were, stopovers and resting places where people could exchange news and ideas. The thought of that appeals to me, and I would make a good steward for the same. That I am a bit wildish adds to the recipe, after all, there is a little of that in all of us.