A Change of Light
October 3, 2017
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
A Change Of Light
The light has changed. The sun has shifted its angle as the earth spins towards winter and now rises, and sets, further to the south. The transition reveals itself quickly, as now when I step out the door, I no longer look to the north but rather am blinded by the rising sun. It transitioned so quickly I was somewhat alarmed, as I pay attention to such things. It moved that far in just three days, when I was traveling. Too fast. The passage of time is almost frightening and even as the year comes closer to its end I am so aware of the transition.
The light inside has changed also. I covered windows yesterday, and opened another. If I have battled a draft in my sitting place for years so I discovered it yesterday. In fact, the entire process was humbling, to say the least. If I fixed windows when I first arrived here, some fourteen years ago, I have done so little since. I had caulked all the glass, or most of it, as the original seals had dried and gone. I also hung curtains and blinds and called it good, rarely moving the blankets as the blinds could all be opened. Only recently, on a walk around the house, did I note that the board in the window of the back room was warped and out of place. This explained the cold breeze which had led me to cover the doorway.
The recognition also led me to peruse the remaining windows and days later I covered the one in the bathroom. As I bathe from a bucket it is essential I block the drafts and it was an easy, and comforting fix. Yesterday, after a week of wind and rain, I addressed the others, starting with the back room. After I covered the outside with plywood I came inside and sealed it with plastic. Later I tacked a better blanket over it also, after I had removed it from another frame. Motivated, I approached the kitchen window which has lost half its glass. I see now how all the windows are failing, as they will with the passage of the years. If the wood framed glass was fragile when I arrived it is also beyond repair. I can only cover and patch from here and the issue will remain a problem.
So it was I perused the gaping hole of the top window pane and considered my solutions. I covered it with tin when I first came home, lacking any other materials, it now needs to be sealed. I opted for the styrofoam from the bus, the blue stuff, and cut a fitting piece. I secured this with nails and duct tape and then covered the whole of it with plastic before I replaced the blind. One more draft well stopped I might say. I thought to end there but the endeavor wasn’t done and the materials were close in hand. I moved to the living room and raised the blanket on the north wall window. Though the glass was all intact the bottom frame was a good inch above the sill, raised some many years ago and long forgotten, but for the steady draft come winter……I was embarrassed for myself, and quickly closed it. That draft has been incessant and if I am sure some part of it comes from the attic this was the major source!
In the end I resealed the glass and hung a blind, leaving the bottom portion open for the moment. Perhaps I will cover the window later in the year, if I must, but for the moment the light is exquisite. I have the same light and view as I do with the door open, less the draft and the flies! I then went to my room to fix the leak I know is there. The one window which opened easily is crumbling at the frame and some of the upper glass is gone or broken. If I have patched and covered it in the past, this one more frequently than the rest, it needs a good fix also. Having learned the value of the Styrofoam I cut another piece and repaired it for reals this time. I also hung another blind, making for a better perspective on the room itself, and a job well done.
I have two windows left to work on. I will finish caulking the glass today and cover the bathroom window from the inside. I may well do the same with the other one in my bedroom which I have yet to inspect. The effort has already been rewarded and the house was warm this morning, with but a few coal left in the stove. I feel more comfortable inside also, knowing I have contributed greatly to the comforts I require come the colder nights. If I had all but deserted my post some six years ago, so I have returned to stay. Given the freedom to do so I have spent more time here at home than I have in so many years, and made good use of it. The much needed cleaning and repairs has made me feel more comfortable with myself, an essential factor of it all.
I need to reflect on that for a moment because the transition is important. One of the first things I did, after the initial cleaning and organizing, was to delve into my possessions. I rearranged my storage first, out of necessity, and even there separated the things I no longer needed. Then I came inside and started the same, cumulating the effort with the sale in Capitan. I got rid of so much! What was once a full room of stuff is now a quarter of the space, and even that will be reduced by half before I am done, or even more. So much of it is just ‘stuff’ I no longer have the need for, visually or spiritually, as I am far more complete. I also have no desire to carry it any further and even if I chance to remain here there is no reason to keep it. I feel unburdened by the absence of the baggage I kept for so many years, and never even used.
All the repairs and the wood cutting have offered an equal return. Part of it is simply having the time to do the work, but there is more to it than that. I am looking closer at my life rather than just plunging forward. I am learning a stillness I have never perfected, even if I am so often in motion. Being unhurried is so much a part of that and I need not go anywhere if I do not want to. As with yesterday, I have not! I may do the same today though at some point I must exit the gate and take care of other things. The less distance I venture the better, at least for now. I also have so little cash, and spend none of it when I am here. As the wind begs to rise I am eager to finish the windows and cut some more wood.
Soon enough there will be the requirement to do other things and to bring in some semblance of an income. It is another reason I want to do these things now, before other necessities take the fore. It is why I have never had the time or the willingness to bring things in order as I am. I have always wanted to fix the windows, and to cut all the big wood into usable pieces. I am so inclined to have things in order, and yet too often left them otherwise. Now is my chance to change that, while not getting caught in the effort either. I want to do it all at my leisure, and am trying to take my time. I am also learning an extremely valuable practice. It is one I discovered on my own but days later had affirmed in writing. I am learning to be selective, and to do the things of the greatest importance first! I have always tried too hard to multitask and failed in the effort. My list has always been a page long, and it still is, even two, but there is a shorter one also. I am learning, in this time when I can, to prioritize and do one thing at a time instead of overwhelming myself with many. All the others can wait!
So it is I wake and write before anything else. I have a very simple routine when I rise and I follow it each day. I wake, start the fire and heat my water, and breakfast. I get dressed, make my bed and step outside to say my morning prayer, greeting the day as I should. I then wash up and pour my tea, and eat my breakfast as I reflect on previous words I have recorded, before I write those for the day. In the course of an hour thus I begin my day. I have also been editing my book, thirty pages at a time and I am nearly done. Once that time is free I will have more for other things, and I have considered that also. As each essential is completed, the cleaning, fixing, wood cutting, I will have time and energy for others. The sorting can wait for the moment, though I have taken to doing one box at a time to perpetuate it. Once it is done I will be relieved!
There is a lot to this also. Once I finish the current, essential efforts I will then finish my camper and studio, both which require some creative efforts. The camper is my release to freedom, and also an essential alternative for travel as I will save money and have my own space. I will truly enjoy it, as I already have. The studio will fulfill another dream and make my artwork a greater pleasure as I will be able to lay it out as I wish, and leave it there! It will be conducive to even greater creativity. Once that is completed it will free the time for the application of my efforts towards my greater good and with any luck lead to additional freedoms. I will also have more time to write and with any luck can make that pay.
I am not sure I have ever had a better plan, or one that in so many ways has perpetuated itself. The practicality of it is in keeping with my deepest nature, the one I have superseded for too long! In my never ending quest to meet the material demands of my life I have so overlooked the obvious, from my favorite place to be. I was so concerned with the resolution of my debts and the desire to purchase land that I became too obsessed with the effort to see the obvious! I have lived, and thrived here before, I have just never been able to get ahead. Now that I have the most essential things I need, trucks, the camper, tools and materials, it is time to come to roost! I have a pile of leather, kilns, am awesome sewing machine, and ample time and talent. It is time to put them to use, and I am looking forward to the practice.
I have created aversions to things as I have gone through my life. I have been afraid of being too alone, of losing my spontaneity and the joy of my writing and artwork. In order to avoid that I plunged myself into my work, even though I feared the sacrifice I had to make. I now know that was a mistake and if there is a greater aversion to that than anything else, so it is leading me to alternatives. I also have solutions, now that I have sat still long enough to see them. I am going about this in a methodical manner and seeing things clearly for perhaps the first time. If I went off to work frantically I was also amassing the tools to avoid that. I now have everything I need, including my time for the moment. If I knew I needed to be still I am now back in motion, but walking far slower than I was. I am taking the time to observe, think, and resolve, something I don’t believe I have ever done in quite the same fashion. If I was not asking questions, or looking for answers, it seems they found me on their own. I have grown wiser with the passage of the years, something I had yearned and hoped for in my youth. I so very grateful for the same.
The light has changed with the passage of the seasons and the earth is now tipped at a slightly different angle. As we again near the solstice of the winter the weather cools to cold. We are driven to prepare, to stock up for the longer nights and shorter days. It is as important as ever for me to do so as this could be a long, lean winter, or perhaps not. Never have I had more time to consider my options, nor the resources with which to decide. If I am unemployed I am also confident I can survive here and make it through the winter, even with scanty resources. I have plans I have yet to put into action, but they are there if I require them. I have artwork in the process, and a wealth of talent and materials to draw on. Most importantly, I have a new found focus which requires I tend to my own needs before anything else, which will lead me to far better choices.
There is no need or desire to rush off to another job, anywhere, even here. There were opportunities to do so and I waved them. I will not ignore my debts, or seek to be set free from them, but they will require patience. So far I am holding my own, even as I am getting behind, but it will all be ok. For today I am going to be still, once again. I will finish the windows and work on the wood pile. I will think about my camper, and pull out some wood. Maybe I will go to town for water and sand off a few boards, I need to do some router work. There are even a few in the process I could so easily complete. Most importantly, I am not going to get in a hurry or put any pressure on myself. The absence of that has been most inspiring! I have a short list I am working on, and intend to stay on task. There has been a change of light, and one of the heart as well.