Life Lessons

July 16, 2017

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico


Life Lessons


If I learned and relearned so many lessons yesterday I have already begun to put them to practice. A new friend mentioned he always wakes early to watch the break of dawn. The same has been my practice for years, as much to capture the beauty as out of necessity. Since I have returned here I have done the same but just as often opted to sleep late, simply because I can. I will wake with that first glimmer of light but beg off for the comfort of my bed, often sleeping too long and waking groggy. Today I woke early, as usual, but got up immediately, and was rewarded for the effort.


How often I have heralded the dawn, here and elsewhere. It is a lovely moment no matter where I am but this place, with the sweep of the Sacramento Mountains to the south and the Carrizo to the north, is a treasure. As with the sunsets it is ever changing and even this morning it sought to outdo itself. Yesterday’s rain left the thirsty earth still dry but the moisture lingered on high. It appeared in soft foggy clouds on the peaks, such as has already burned off with the sunrise. I would have missed it had I slept another thirty minutes. Instead I stepped out the door to greet the day and was rewarded fully for doing so. I grabbed my camera and circled the house to capture what I could and then stood still to breathe in the beauty.


Such lessons! I ventured over to White Oaks for the Farmers Market yesterday as I had promised myself the pleasure. If I am to stay here I need to reunite with old friends and make all the new ones I can. While I have bemoaned my solitude it is I who have contributed to it. If I do not want to repeat that then I need to seek out the company I have so desired. Though it seems the likeminded others I have wanted to find have evaded me perhaps I have avoided them also? I seem to have found them in plentitude these last two visits and perhaps it is I who have dodged their company in the past. It may be I am now more receptive also, having ventured forth and returned yet again. I find my old friends to be as dear as they have ever been and the new ones are treasures as well. Six years is a long time to be gone and I seem to have matured in the process. I certainly hope I am wiser for the wear for I am certainly older than I was!


Lessons. Even as I listen to the long sweet trill of some bird I cannot see my spirit is lightened. A fine sweet gentleman invited me to his home while I was at the market and he led me over to a woman I visited with the week before. She had been so kind as to leave a note on my gate and I was thrilled to find her there. We left her husband to his own devices when we reunited at the door. Such a gift they both presented me. If I have aspired towards simplicity and to be self-sustained, they have accomplished it. If I will never have the means to build such a lovely house as they have, or to purchase a solar array of the same capacity, so I am working towards a similar style.


I have to rebuff myself for not being more diligent, but then I have had the same in times since past. If Ronnie and I started a greenhouse, the one she showed me is thriving. If I too have gardened well, theirs is in full swing. If I had the windmill running I would be on my way to the same and it is an even greater priority now than it was, even if it is almost too late to plant. There is still time if I was to start now, but alas there is not the money to do so. I could enclose my porch if I was so inclined but as of now I have no clue if I can stay. Still yet, the lesson rings clear and if there is anything I want to have which would bring me joy and happiness, let alone those layers of nourishment, it would be a garden the equal of their own. That and the serenity, though I can carry the latter wherever I go and it is still in plentitude also.


Those two people worked hard to attain what they have and such a rare breed they are. If so many people aspire to have what they have created even she pointed out how rarely they seem to realize it. Somehow they have preserved the simplicity I have clung to in my lifetime and succeeded in securing it through the efforts they put forth. I have so much more to learn from these two and will seek their company again whenever I have time. I will also make the time for that, yet another lesson, and from here on I will set aside my Saturdays for that practice. If I have felt that I was too alone I have now found the means to avoid that.


As if that wasn’t enough, there is more. I wandered further on from there, missing a stop at the Brown Store and other friends but instead stopping at the Saloon. I stepped in more out of curiosity than desire as I have no wish to be intoxicated either. I might have left quickly too but paused to be friendly and was rewarded yet again. Even the owner, who has always been nice but somewhat aloof was kind enough to visit with me. I then perused the crowd, an older one than usual and was rewarded yet again, and again. I met not one but two older couples whose history runs deep beside mine and we found many common ties in the process. In fact the day was full of such encounters as I has met two others at the Market whose history was connected to mine. If those at the saloon knew many of my friends and the one had packed mules at the Grand Canyon and shared the sentiments I had regarding the Park Service, the others were even closer to my heart.


If I know some of the history of my house I met someone who seems to know its origin. Though I had assumed it was an old army barracks I may now stand corrected. If the color of the door trim is any indication the house may have been built by this gentleman’s family and moved from Bonito so many years ago. I am almost certain it is one and the same. To add to the wonder of it, as these two were certainly well advanced in age, his wife once lived with man I knew well from some thirty seven years ago. I first met him in Santa Fe but remained in contact with him for the remainder of his life, if only in passing. I even rode his horses in Sunland Park, as far from here as Santa Fe is, though he was born and raised in Nogal.


The world gets smaller when one stops to talk. Perhaps I am a little more patient now than I used to be, and little more curious and open to meetings. Maybe, even if I have always been gregarious when possible, I have learned to listen just a little better. It may even be possible that I am just a little more settled and more receptive to others than I was before, and just a little more blessed. If the crowds in Ruidoso made me wish to flee I found myself in White Oaks yesterday, wanting to stay. I left from the saloon and went to the old brick house on the hill before I left town. I sat and visited with the dearest of my old friends, grateful to find him sober and clear of eye. We talked until the sun faded from the sky, as we are always wont to do. He is the sort of man I have loved for all of my life, (less the alcohol, though that pattern runs true also), and the best of my friends, I might add. There is never a gap in our conversation and I would as soon listen to him as I would to talk. I am sure he feels the same. When it was time to go we stepped outside and talked for another thirty minutes. We stood and watched the sun fade from the sky and as I turned to go the bats began to pour from the attic of the old house he calls home. Awe struck, I stayed until the last few fluttered into the sky, laughing softly as they did. It was nearly dark before I departed!


There was yet another lesson there, one I carried with me to this morning. It is one I learned so many years ago and the same I hope to capture with my words. There are so many distractions, so many aspirations and desires we are led to think we need. Even those of us who have sought to keep the simplest of things as the center of our universe get caught up in the flow. Even I who has no television, or a functional radio in either of my vehicles, gets distracted from my goals. If I spent the last six years of my life trying to make enough money to stop, I gained so little ground in the process! I have a few things to show for that effort, in the material sense, but it is the wisdom and the knowledge which I treasure the most, much of which stayed here and waited for my return. Perhaps I had to leave to really understand that, or so it seems for the moment. I am a little wiser for the wear, and far more open to suggestions. It is another lesson I hope to not forget. I am so grateful that life is such a patient teacher.

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