Oh Be Joyful!



August 2, 2017

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico


Oh Be Joyful!


There are so many things to be joyful about this morning! I slept well, and late, but it was worth it. It was one of those blessed nights when I never awoke and the blankets on the bed but had to be pulled forth to fix it. It was so cool last night that I built a fire in the woodstove before I bathed to be comfortable and the wind and rain lulled me to sleep. I woke to a clear blue sky, the sun well above the hills. I might have hurried as there are things to do, but I did not.


Instead I built a fire, as I am like to do these days. As an afterthought I started the grill and mixed up some marinade as I had planned to do. There is chicken in the cooler and if I am to buy more ice this morning so I have to cook it first to make room. I fired the coals and mixed some molasses, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and garlic and a pinch of red chili, shaking well, thank you. I boned the chicken and let it marinate while I prepared my morning oatmeal. All the while as the smoke wafted in the door which I forgot to close and I perused my lot in life at this moment.


If not for the smoke I might not have considered it so closely but sometimes the cars slow on the road as they pass. It then came to me that people so often have a note of wonder when they ask if this is where I live. It is an age old haunt at this point in my life, to them it is as it once was to me. I used to drive by here and think how much I wanted to live here, alone on the hillside in this old run down shack. It was the ambiance of the house, coupled with the wondrous view that drew me in. Now, so many years later, with the wood and the windmill, it has become the definition of my life, wildish as I am. People so often marvel that I live as I do, but only a few are willing to visit!


There is so much to be joyful for this morning! I grilled my chicken outside and placed some fresh rosemary on top, just because I could. My tea and oatmeal boiled quickly over a small and lively fire and my wash water heated over the same. I drained the water from my cooler and carried it down to the peach tree as I went to start the generator. The peaches are getting rosy and fat and one of the low hanging ones I can reach is just starting to soften. I will have to watch them closely now as they will have to be picked before the birds find them! I will have to share them when they are ready as it is just not practical to can them. Or maybe it is? I can make the time if I choose, and I do have the tools for the job.


By the time I was done with my chores the chicken was done before the oatmeal, so I had the latter for dessert! Both were delectable. Only then did I sit, an hour later in the morning, to capture my thought. I looked back, as I so often do, on pieces I had written over the years and found an old favorite. I had first penned it in August of 2009, and later added on. It is titled, “Incorrigible” and dedicated to my dearest old friend Marcella Garcia, who dubbed me as the same. It is perhaps one of the best things I have ever written and is destined for publication, should I ever make the leap! I am closer now to doing so than I ever have been, yet another reason for joyfulness today!


If my life has been something of a struggle of late, digging through the proverbial baggage as well as my old stores, so I am beginning to heal. I need only get a good nights’ rest, build a fire, peruse my camp and have a good breakfast to restore my fragile spirit. There is so much to be joyful for and so much to fill my life with. As I sip my tea and savor the mild smoky flavor which permeates everything on my table I am reminded that I have realized a dream I have had since my youth. It is one so many others never will. I think of the friends I have made at the Mountain Man Rendezvous who occasion to live as they wish for a weekend at a time but have to return to such structured lives afterwards.  Instead I get to live that each and every day, albeit at a price on such occasions!


This is, in the end, yet another life lesson for me. I may bemoan the uncertainty of my future but my present is the best. I have, for today, almost all that I can ask for. The day is my own to do as I please, even if there are a few must does on the list. I will go to the ranch and cut a little wood, and there is more in the yard which begs the same effort. There I a pile of leather waiting to be cut and sewn and an article to be written and submitted. Perhaps it will be one of the next by-lines for my portfolio and I shall title it, “A Rendezvous Each Day” for all of my Mountain Man friends.  It will be, as this one was, a reflection on a simpler life that we so often chance to miss. In a way it will be some sort of ‘work’ to write it, as it will require some conscious effort, but I do it from this desk. I also need to reach out and find some place to publish, as it is part of my game plan going forward. I will have to very ‘creative’ if I want to stay here for keeps. I still have to make a living, and am on shoe strings for now!


Oh be joyful! Sometimes I forget to see the things which contribute to that statement and fall into reflections on my failings instead. I have failed, but all the same I have succeeded. I stepped away six years ago, against my better judgement, to try to do what I believed was the best. I had debts to pay and a useable skill, and I applied my best effort to the same. I returned here with an equal measure of debt and a few things to show for my effort. Was it a waste of my time to leave? Not even, I would not take it back, but neither will I repeat it. I have returned with an added measure of wisdom, reverence and appreciation for the simple things I left, and those I took along. I have perfected my methods and kept them in practice. I came back and built a fire and every waft of smoke reminds me of its blessings. Oh be joyful! Yes. I am.

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