September 19, 2017

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico




Having lived so close to the elements for so long sometimes I forget their proximity. It is the wind that reminds me this morning, and I had to capture the thought. The wind, cooling with the season and now colder than it was at daybreak. If I donned a warm shirt at dawn, so I shed it, only to find just a few minutes later I required the comfort of the same. If it was windy earlier, it is more so now, and the breeze finds its way through the house.


House you say? What that it is little more than a mean shack, but it is also my home. If it was never fully secure the years have been unkind to it, and now it is less so. What was once a solid home has suffered the wear of the years and the wind and storms have pried at all the weak places. Even in the writing I am reminded I need to recaulk the remaining windows before they too fall out. I repaired them when I first came here but the seal has cracked and broken. Even before I came home the big window in the kitchen fell and broke. The board that covers the one in the back bedroom has warped also and I can now feel the breeze.


If this was never a perfect shelter it has served me well all the same. I have found much comfort in this place and in so many ways kept it standing. If I had not been here the rats would still reign, and the windows would have gaped to the elements. I have patched and repaired them as they began to fail, even if I never replaced the glass. The house is not mine and of no value to anyone else, though they are proud of the land and care not to sell. It works well for me, I have paid the taxes and resided here for years, and feel blessed for the opportunity.


Still yet, like the elements I have become so familiar with, in the writing I am reminded of the fragility of my circumstance! What if I have to leave here someday? Can I expect another fourteen years of such comforts, or the absence of the same. Can I expect the remaining glass to remain firm, even as I patch the other spaces? Could I hope to be resilient enough to brave all those winters going forward as I age? These are the elements of living we so easily overlook, until that chill wind reminds us.


I will not ponder the latter just now, I am too close to the things of more immediate necessity. I am listening to the fall wind and perusing windows, challenging enough for one day. I realize how such things have kept me honest, and so close to the earth, and have no desire to alter that. I will patch the aging caulk when I return, and cover the gaping windows. Having built my bus over the last few years I have found the value in Styrofoam and will cover the broken frames with the same.


As I have done in years past I will batten the hatches in anticipation of winter, and ready myself for the onslaught. I will do so happily also. I enjoy the challenge of the elements as much as I do the warmth of my fires. There is a smug satisfaction in finding such comforts in such a borderline existence. If I have chosen my lifestyle quite deliberately at no time have I ever been so aware of that. I traded this life here for a leaky RV and then built a shelter in the confines of a bus. I have to say I am grateful to return here in the end, even if it has its failings. It is the proximity to the elements, so the same as in the bus, but different, that I treasure the most. The wind, in its return, has reminded me of the same! If the windows were more solid I might have missed that!

2 responses to “Elements”

  1. Simone Balkema says :

    You’re beautiful!

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