On Occasion

Storm Clouds

August 24, 2017

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico


On Occasion


On occasion there comes the perfect morning. I woke well rested and early, lying still in the cool greyness of the dawn. The rain clouds clung to the sky as they have seemed to have done all summer. The air was still and allowed for the full weight of serenity to surround me in such completeness I cared not to break the spell. How precious such instances are in a life that if simple still becomes hectic out of pure necessity. If I have been trying to be still I seem as busy as ever. Or perhaps I have become so selfish with my time that every distraction is noticeable!


This morning there are no distractions, though I turned on the generator to charge my devices. I would prefer utter silence but it is the price I pay for not investing in solar. If I have overlooked one thing that would be it, regrettable but something I must accept. If I have arrived at a place where I again live on shoe strings I still have goals. The remaining needs will be met in time. For now I am grateful to have the generator, and this warm quiet place to support me. It could have so easily been worse.


If the dawn was still and allowed for a perfect fire so the wind turned quickly also. It is one of those things I might have missed if I had not gone out and lit the hearth. Instead I am harshly aware of it and grateful for the woodstove which also warms me now. The wind, which was almost nonexistent when I lit the fire, turned and came out of the north. The stove pipe faces north and is bent at a 45 degree angle and catches the wind perfectly, smothering an otherwise lively fire. I brought in my tea pot and placed it on the woodstove instead. In the process I am reminded again of the change of the seasons, as I was when I looked at the thermometer this morning. It sits at 55 degrees instead of 60 as it has all month.


It is already colder than that at the higher elevations and summer is on her way out. If I have always lived close to the elements I am closer now. My existence is slightly more precarious than it has been in years. Not much mind you, the bus has been a fragile barrier in the worst of times when the electricity failed to be available. Though the woodstove suffices for a good heat source the fire box is small and on the coldest nights must be replenished to be effective. Here I have the luxury of a bigger log for the cold nights but no back up either. If I leave for a day it will be cold when I return. A propane heater would make a nice backup, but it is yet another investment I might have made before now! As with all else it will have to wait until I have a better income.


If I have done anything in the years I have been gone it is to grow a bit wiser and more attentive to my needs. Having never desired or needed much luxury the creature comforts are essentials. When I have traveled for work, as I am apt to do again, there were times I returned to a cold house and had to wait for it to warm. If it is a minor inconvenience for the most part it is one I could live without. Now, having had the pleasure of an electric heater to hold back the chill I am considering the need for a similar comfort here. Still yet, it will have to wait. I have only the funds for necessities for now and I have yet to have the desire to make a change. I have until November until my small stipend runs out and I intend to enjoy the freedom, even if there is no money for anything else! I can already see the merit of doing so and by the time necessity requires a change I will have rearranged my priorities. Even now, with the prospect of a job offer I may not be able to refuse, I am weighing the options.


Here in lies the challenge. Soon enough I will have to choose between a hard scrabble existence and the option of a steady income, at the cost of my freedom. I have spent the past two and a half months at my leisure as I feel I have earned and deserve it. I also recognized that the only way I could restore myself to my previous good health was to take pause. It is so easy for one such as I to occupy her mind and time with any amount of things, which I am still doing, but only as I choose. I have no clock to punch and no set schedule, beyond the items I have chosen to connect to.


I have been so efficient with that as to not even work on my art. Instead I am focused on putting my house and possessions in order, and to spend a lot of time out of doors, wandering the hills as I wish. It has proved a good practice. I fill my mornings with my fire and my words, sorting through my life as I go. The stillness, such as I occasioned on this morning, is immense. If others wonder how I could possibly fill my time my greatest lament is there is not near enough of it! Even now I ache to spend some more time on my book, or to begin another, aside from wanting to cut some wood, dig through some boxes and work on my camper. I do have art work to do also…..you get my point! I will never allow for an idle moment even when I am free to do so, but it is all of my own choice. That little of it pays is unfortunate, and the subject of my future, for at some point it will have to!


Such luxury I am surrounded by right now that I am resistant to doing anything else, which is why my artwork lies still. With that the question lies unanswered if I could support myself through those efforts, though I have tried in the past. As with my writing I am loath to risk the chance that either become a job I have to perform. I prefer the pleasure of both, even if it costs me in the end and if there is a challenge at this moment that is it. I am, in essence, my own worst enemy! The other danger is far greater than that though, for I have always found the means to meet my necessities and I am on track to do the same. Thus the quandary. I can continue as I am and surround myself with the simple joys and the effort of maintaining them, or I can step back into the quagmire and make some more money.


Sadly, money is the key, as always, to how I will decide. Soon enough I will need to displace the ‘thank you for not working check’ with the products of my own device. I know that I can do this, even from here if I wish, but the methods are diverse. I can pick up some work here close in, do my art and even perhaps market my words, or I can get another job. If I am living hand to mouth and finding much happiness I do not have to do that. If I have already chosen that alternative so I have the choice of the security of a steady job, less the complete serenity of this moment! I am, sadly, very hesitant to consider that, though I am going to apply.


Better to have the offer to consider a month from now than to leave it off the table, even if the pressure will be there until then. That is the trouble. If there is one thing I need at this moment it is the utter stillness I so seek. If I am never truly still I want, for just a moment, to have no pressing need to consider. If I so much as toss my hat into the arena I have altered that possibility, even if I choose to ignore it until they call. They will call, and they will interview me and they will offer me the job. They have done so before and I refused because I did not want to move to Arizona. This job will allow me to stay here…….or anywhere I wish to go. That is the key, it will allow me to go where I please also, even to Datil or Quemado if I am so inclined. That is something to think about. In even a year’s time I could so secure my future, but at the cost of a present I am loath to leave behind.


In so many ways I have been blessed. Here I sit on an August morning with no pressing need or commitments. Sure, there are things I need to do and I will be driving to Fort Sumner this evening to wrap up things there, but I don’t have to. If the generator is a mild distraction so there is the peacefulness beyond it. My wood stove is warm and I have ample supplies for the winter. I have enough wood and leather to meet my needs if I wish to work on that, at least for a while, and such perpetuates itself. I can ride this out until November and there is plenty of time to make a plan. I also have options, something that was far less available the last time I lived here! Given all that there are so few loose ends I need to pick up, at least for now. We all need times like that on occasion and I am going to enjoy it for as long as it can last! I can leave the choices for the future and enjoy the present for all it is worth. In the end it will decide itself…………for now I am going to stoke the fire.


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