November 27, 2017
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
Peace Of Mind
It is a good day to be alive! My peace of mind has returned to me and as I repeat the simple routine of my life it is all I can wish for. If the energies stirred with my first glimpse of the new moon, but a golden crescent in the western sky, they have now been affirmed. The moon ripens each night but has retained its stance, the lower portion thickening with each passing day. Last night, even as it is just beyond its first quarter, it brightened the night and I crossed the yard unaided but for its brilliance. It is yet another ‘super moon’, the last of the year and rich in possibilities. The timing could not have been more perfect. If I have been in stillness all summer so it is a time of transition now, and I am grateful for the powers that will guide me.
This is a moon of change, transition and affirmation. (Look it up, it is quite amazing). If the importance of my focus and resolve were clear they are now essential. In the same breath I can recognize this is as good a time as any to relinquish my efforts towards guiding my future and instead be open to all the possibilities. If nothing is assured so destiny is in motion and I prefer to be centered and accepting rather than scrambling about trying to prepare. It is, in essence, too late for that! As with the gathering of the wood and the fitting of my house I have readied for winter, should it come. If a storm blew in just now I could but add another piece of wood to the fire and be fine.
So it is with this next transition. If I am not as prepared as I would wish to be I am fit enough for the challenge. When I give it more thought I am in fact just where I should be. I have let go of as much as I could and am prepared to free even more, and this is ideal for the moment. The pending changes of this next lunar cycle could be such as to tear away the fabric of security and mine has already been rent and discarded. I stand free of all but the most basic attachments and even those are transient, my roots are already bundled and ready to move. I have both the security of this house and the freedom of the camper and could set down wherever I land. I am comfortable with the same and equally prepared to do so. I need but wait and watch.
If I had considered things more closely I would have readied myself a little more. I have lived my life by this premise, but there is some weakness in me which allows things to slip. Then again, if there had been an opportunity to choose I would have preferred this present option to the opposite, if I had to choose. My mind is reasonably fit, my house is in good order but my clothes are all too tight! If my priorities have always included mind, body and spirit, the body has been the greatest challenge, especially with the advent of age. I am not alone in this and I see the biological reasoning. I need some store of fat for the winter, but I loathe the same, though it is preferable to being too lean. The only excuse I have is having put my efforts to other things and thereby being prepared for the opposing challenges. I can still cut wood, I am just heavier than I care to be. That is now on the top of my ‘to do’ list.
Forgive the complaint but it is in keeping with all else. It all comes down to basic survival in the end. When I was yet a child I had determined it would be easier to face the physical challenge of survival as opposed to the mental and emotional strain of the modern world. I still feel that, and in so many ways more than I did then, or perhaps with equal fervor. That then is where the physical fitness is required as it would be applied fully in a given instance. So I would tone up quickly also, and maybe even be grateful for the stores I have amassed, quite literally! Given that perspective I can then forgive what I still perceive to be some lack of discipline on my behalf. All else is quite in order.
So it is that this next phase of life can be greeted with some true measure of peace of mind. Having lived from day to day for much of the last few months I travel forward at the will of the universe. My list is short and for the most part filled with necessities and good intentions. As I continue to consolidate, the baggage decreases, and I am letting go rather than adding to possessions. I wake at first light and lay still for the pure pleasure of being able to do so and then rise before dawn. The serenity is complete in such moments and there is no desire to fracture that. My days have been filled with much of the same and even a change of plans is no disruption.
This is a good place to be when the universe is realigning itself. Though we all have freedom of choice and go about our business as we damned well please we have no control over the celestial powers that reel above us. I felt more elation that trepidation yesterday when that was revealed to me and rather than resist I went with the flow of it. There is no greater desire in my life than to allow my feet to seek and follow the path which I am most meant to follow. This means letting go of everything, with no exceptions, and I am quite prepared to do so. It does not mean turning away from the dream but rather to embrace it and wait on the will of heaven to decide where and how it occurs.
From my present stance the prayer is simple, “I will to will thy will and may thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I have no hand in this, it is as it is meant to be and I only wish to be prepared to allow it to be so. I have relinquished nothing, but there is nothing I need to hold onto either. I will take none of this with me when it is all said and done except for that which I have done in this lifetime. While I am here I need but surround myself with the things I require for my immediate comfort, and those are well secured. All told, there is much reason for this peace of mind, and so little else I could ask for. All is well today!
- If I had not taken pause to contemplate things I would have missed the truth of it all. If I have always remained footloose to some great measure, except for the years of parenting, so I have replicated that now. I am living in much the same manner of my youth, staying and leaving when and how I will, and making good use of the same. If I was free of obligations that would be so easy to do. I still have a few commitments that limit the possibilities, but I have the skills to meet them also. I am quite at peace with that!
November 23, 2017
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
There is so much to be thankful for! Even my immediate comforts are enough, the warm fire, a good cup of coffee, the golden light of the sun on the hillside. Need I mention the ramparts to the north, rocky and steep but familiar to my feet, and my heart I must add. The ever present Carrizo to the west, and White Oaks beyond, let alone this shelter I call home. And I am here! I would wish to be nowhere else today and the very essence of my existence surrounds me. Having reestablished my presence in this place I have also restored myself to the woman I am when I am here. I have been gone for too long to ignore that.
I am thankful. Not just for my life, my breath and all the blessings of my existence but also for the life that has become. I think back on the log cabin in the Gap and how we lived there and I have replicated as much as I could. I have, in so many ways, lived that same life since I left there, minus the drama. I would in this moment return there now if I could change all that and turn back the clock, but I cannot. Instead I will honor the memory as I do, and keep the fire going from here. It is a blessed life as I know it.
I am enveloped in stillness at this moment, and care not to interrupt it. Even as I prepare for the possibility of leaving I am as content to stay. All the same there is the reality that change is good for me and if I am happy for the moment there is so much more to see. If I have thrived on adventure in the past I am hoping for more of that, if it be from this perch or one far distant. If I have always been drawn to the west the opportunity to explore it may be offered yet again. That I would hope to establish this same sense of place is a given. I will wish for nothing less.
There is so much to be thankful for! I am as thankful for what there is as I am for what there isn’t! There is the simply reality of my existence in which all my needs are met. And there is the ever present peacefulness, in the absence of chaos! It is better to be alone than to let that factor in and no need for something more. My feathers lie unruffled and my perch here is secure. Even the wind lays still this morning and it feels more like spring than winter. If not for the warmth of the fire I would leave the door ajar but it so easy to savor such comforts. The same surrounds me in such completeness.
Why want for anything else? I can envision the activity off in the distance and am grateful for its absence. The world is too complex for me, and always has been. Having removed myself from that I have found shelter, in all its completeness for the moment. If the barriers are thin they are safe from damage also, the distance is enough. The more I pare that down the happier I am! It is yet another lesson of maturity. Having struggled so hard to get here I have no willingness to change it, even as I venture forth again. Never have I been more thankful to know I have this here to return to and the more complete my efforts the more secure I feel.
Will I leave again as I have before. Will I, even after saying that I won’t, seek some other opportunity? It seems it has sought me out and if it is offered then I will go, but so I am sitting still and waiting. If it is meant to be so it will come to pass and if not there is nothing I might do to change that. It is better to be prepared, to put my house in order and wait on the will of heaven. What better plan than that, to have all things as they should be that I could leave with ease or stay in comfort? This in itself has been as valuable a lesson as any. In preparing to depart and making the effort to have things in order I have made it just as good to stay. It is another life lesson if you will! It gives me all the more to be thankful for.
I AM NOW SELLING MY ARTWORK ON ETSY AT RunningHorseDesign. I will be posting a variety of items going forward so please check in on occasion. I am starting with the small stuff and will work towards the larger items. I will also do custom orders within my skill set and some challenges as I get more practice!
November 19, 2017
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
Learning To Let Go
I have learned to let go. Quite unintentionally, I decided to relinquish control and to let go and let God. This has always been difficult for me and quite honestly it wasn’t a deliberate effort, not this time. Instead I reached a point in my life where I hadn’t the ability or the willingness to keep such a hold on the reins. So I let go.
All told it has been a rough summer, or really a rough year. It started off well enough, my move to Fort Sumner being a true positive with a wealth of potential. It even went well for a while, and the adjustments were good, if not all I had hoped for. If I found some much needed respite I was still working much harder than I had intended to and it was taking its’ toll. There was a need for change but it came swifter than I might have hoped! If I was unprepared the timing was good in the end. I am grateful it happened as it did and that I had the means to leave.
Still yet, it got tough from there! I have no right to complain and I needed the time off but still I have struggled. It has been my nature to maintain a routine of meeting my needs and obligations. I almost always have a list, and some projects to work on. The projects have been on hold, even though I have been productive. I have relieved myself of much baggage, and the wood pile is better than it was. My house is in reasonable order, but my efforts are not done. In recouping things I was busy enough, but there is always more to do.
Maybe it was a good summer, even if there are still a few loose ends to contend with. I need to pay my last months’ rent from Fort Sumner and there is a water tank and a table saw awaiting my return. Things are in some semblance of order here, even though I bailed before I finished. I will return this week to do much of the same, and look forward to that. Another day and the wood pile will be done, except for the splitter. I will leave that to my son David and hope to share the effort. In fact, I will wait until we can. I do need him to help free the stove cap, but the rest can be on hold. There is ample wood for this winter, and then some, even without the big stuff. Besides, it doesn’t look like I will be here!
There is more to do of course. I want to sell the big bus and will finish cleaning it this week. I intend to buy a three quarter bus and make a dwelling there instead. I will be more mindful in that effort and make it mobile also. Having gained much experience it will be a pleasure to design! If I go to Elephant Butte it will be simple as the weather there is warmer and I am more worried about the heat than the cold. Aside from that there is but a little clutter to contend with, and that far less than it was! I have made progress, in spite of myself!
What else is there? Having recouped my efforts I feel a lot better about myself. If I have had a sense of inertia all summer and a lack of clear direction I see now what I’ve accomplished. I have let go! I let go of a lot of the old and extraneous possessions, and sold them as I did. I have let go of the big bus, even if it still sits here. I let go of my horse Joseph, as I will the grey also. I want to buy another, one who fits my wants, but that can wait for now. I have released my drive to meet my financial demands (for now) and also found that to be good, it set me free from myself. Even in this moment that same freedom surrounds me and I have a sense of liberation such as has evaded me for my life time. I am content to be right here but even that is not a necessity. I am free to leave or stay.
Such freedom. I have no root anywhere but here and I am not even staying here. If I am camped at Three Rivers and back and forth for now I might leave at any time. Knowing this place is a constant makes it all possible and I need not even be here to draw comfort from that. It is good! The camper makes it even better as I can sleep wherever I am and if I decide to move I need but drive until I get there. If I get the job I have applied for I will look for a room in T or C, but it doesn’t mean I have to have one. All I need is a kitchen and a shower for now. Only the heat of the summer will rule my final choice as I need some place to escape so I can write and do my art. That should be simple enough as the town is designed for the same and has a transient population. I am still looking to the west also and the canyons appeal to me greatly.
It seems I have progressed far more than I thought. It is good to come home to discover that. I have been gone from here for weeks. I am most grateful that I left things in order and things aren’t as bad as I imagined them to be. I have let things go……..my finances are in shambles, but even those can be repaired. I can catch them up as soon as I go back to work so I am fine. As it is there is no crisis and that in itself is an accomplishment. There is no pressing need to do anything and aside from a small pile of paperwork and a few loose ends I am in very good shape. There are the Gross Receipts and Income Tax to contend with but even those are simple.
Where to from here? Even that is no great concern, though I suppose it should be? I have another two or three weeks of unemployment income and then it will be done. I could request an extension and might do so though it may not be necessary either. I have submitted an application to Elephant Butte and while it is not assured there is a good chance I will be hired. If that comes through I can and will depart in the next three weeks or so. And if not? I will stay with Three Rivers for now and work towards online sales, as I should well be doing now!
Funny but the utter peacefulness of this place just hit me full force! There are several small birds fluttering about and they held me spellbound for a moment, reminding me again of the essentials of my life. This then is a necessity! Wherever I go and whatever I choose I cannot relinquish this! There must be stillness and beauty, a quiet place to sit and absorb the wonders of this life. Be it a sunny porch or a window it must gaze out on the simple sustenance such as I have here. I need so little else. I also promise to never again allow myself to become frantic with this practice of living but instead maintain the perspective I have won since my return. All things will be resolved in time and I need not destroy myself trying to accomplish that! To let go and let God is such a simple blessing!
So it is I will go forward from here. I am not going to worry about tomorrow, or next week, or next month. There is no reason to do so. Having let go I allowed things to fall where they would and they did just that. The pieces are few and I need but gather them up and put them in a pile again. They will be addressed in the order of importance. As with these few small piles here, the wood and a few pieces of paper, they will wait for me to do so. My emotions are the same. If I would have a better grasp of those there is a sense of calm which pervades all else, as it should. Nothing has fallen too far from the center and if I wandered aimlessly all summer I circled back in time. Nothing is much different than when I left it.
I walked in here yesterday afternoon and built a fire. The stove stood at ready, the wood in arms reach, and the flames crackled quickly. I went to town and got water without incident and when I returned the house was warm, and so was the water. The generator started on the first pull. I stoked the stove, bathed and went to bed, sleeping well enough and warm throughout the night. The coals were still hot when I awoke and I was out the door at dawn, the first light gracing the highest peaks of the Vera Cruz and Carrizo. There is nothing else I could ask for! Having let go and allowed the universe to do as it would I return to all I have worked for. So it is the future is assured, and I will leave my hands out of it. I have made myself available for things to do as they will and the outcome has been good. Learning to let go was all I had to do! I am so grateful to have done so.
The following are field notes from when I was working for New Mexico Tech in 2011. The wonder and beauty of those travels never cease to amaze me!!!!
February 27, 2011
Carrizozo to Oscuro, New Mexico
I missed a week of work due to a rare bout of illness and then as soon as I felt well enough resumed my water level measurements for the Tularosa Basin, always hoping to group them as close together as possible for the most consistent pattern. Back out early in the day to the Stephenson Ranch, as much because of as in spite of the threat of storm, I ran the gamut of the weather. Calm, cold, wind, dust, snow, sun and even the warmth of the desert as the day drew to an end.
Indian Divide, New Mexico
The silence kept me awake last night in the absence of the howling wind which has persisted all week. It was somehow eerie to be surrounded with such peacefulness after the constant barrage of noise.
Carrizozo, New Mexico
Tumbleweeds become hedges when the wind comes from the south, captured by the barbed wire blocking their way.
Water Canyon Gate
Carrizozo, New Mexico
This is not a day to measure windmills for the wind is stunning in its force but I am drawn to its fury like a moth into a flame. I cannot resist it.
Water Canyon Road
Carrizozo, New Mexico
The hills are already grayed by the dust and the weatherman said snow and wind but I can still see blue sky and the sun feels warm through the windows. This then is a day when I don’t need to hurry and will instead do my best to enjoy it.
Water Canyon Road
Carrizozo, New Mexico
The shadows of the clouds fly across the hills, dappling their flanks with light and shadow that can only be captured in word and memory, so fleeting is their passage.
I don’t mind the ‘No Trespassing” signs, they don’t apply to me.
Carrizozo, New Mexico
Coyote Bait (Gas trap)
My curiosity makes me nervous as I step out of my truck to look closer at the gas loaded coyote trap, afraid I might somehow set it off. For the coyote it proves deadly and brings about his demise. It is too bad that he is such a rascal and way too much fun for the hunters. I still love to hear his howl in the distance.
Carrizozo, New Mexico
It takes the same amount of time to drive the highway as it does to take the dirt road. Who can blame me for taking the two tracks, but it sure looks like snow!
The rivers run underground most of the time but the trees don’t care, their roots run deep and the mesquites don’t need water, it only makes them bigger.
It is a good day to work alone. Poetry flows freely, inspired by the wind and sky and the absolute beauty that surrounds me. It makes me wonder why I have ever desired anything else and frightens me for it has almost become enough. This then is why people become hermits!
What will I do when this is no longer required of me and I must seek other work? Where else does one get paid to drive through the wilderness?
Midway across the Stephenson Ranch heading southeast into the hills
I am starting to realize we can convince ourselves of almost anything we please, which includes both happiness and sorrow. I have become profess in attaining such a great degree of satisfaction with the lot that I have drawn that I have come to believe it. I certainly hope it works!
I hope I am making the right choices as I wander my way through my life. When things get tough it looks precarious, when things are good it is paradise. It is too warm to snow but the mountains just disappeared in the dust, or so I hope!
It occurs to me that I have set some lofty goals, all attainable. But goals are like commitments, they must be specific and you really have to work to reach them. I am not
completely certain I am doing that, but I am sure having fun trying.
Oscuro, New Mexico
It is a day when you can howl right along with the wind and nobody will ever hear you.
Oscuro, New Mexico
Some windmills are not meant to be measured as the brake never holds and the wind always blows, but it sure sits in a pretty spot. I always like to try. Today is no exception.
Windmill on the Ridge
Oscuro, New Mexico
Traveling in the midst of wind and storm, dust and snow combined.
It seems I have traded mountains for romance and adventure for tenderness. I am wrapped in the ecstasy of nature’s wonder, the grace and the passion of the storms. I find it quite amazing.
Heading east towards Finley Well
Oscuro, New Mexico
Here the road turns east and travels down into the deep arroyo before it climbs back up again. It twists and turns through passages between towering hills and rocky slopes. The highways are miles away to the north and the west. There is that same sense of remoteness I feel when I travel to the Plains. It would take hours to walk out of here and turning back is not an option, it is just as far going back as it is going forward.
I like the places where the road seems to drop into eternity at an abrupt precipice where anything civilized is left behind. They are replaced by the rocky ruins of old mining camps and long windy arroyos. I am sixteen miles from the highway, two hours from anywhere, and it looks like snow.
Oscuro, New Mexico
Shelter laid to waste in one fell sweep of absolute cold. The prickly pear cactus was no match for the subzero chill that lasted for days. A safe haven for fifty years lain to shambles. Where to go now; it was the only one for miles. Rats live a rough life.
Oscuro, New Mexico
It seems to me we are all better off to busy ourselves with the immediate demands of our survival than dealing with the idleness of not having to do so. It is those of us who are most suited for such challenges that could lose our minds in its absence. How is it we humans spend so much time asking such questions and have found so few answers?
Oscuro, New Mexico
Fine With Me
Elevation is everything after driving through canyons and snow to arrive at another well. I am waiting for the water level to recover in the warm shelter of my truck, watching the blizzard raging far above me on only the highest peaks. That’s just fine with me.
Departing from the Finley Well heading south through the snow storm
A Big Love
The question I might ask me is if I would trade a big love for this. Well, this is a big love.
Oscuro, New Mexico
The snow falls and melts, turning the gray and brown landscape back to gold and green. It renews the richness of desert color in an instant, as quickly as it knocks the dust from the sky. Its subtle beauty is ever changing as the weather, the blush of sunlight fading as the snow returns.
East of Headquarters
Oscuro, New Mexico
Where are the eagles today when the wind whips the sky and they could sail one hundred miles per hour, with no effort at all? Oh, but there they are, flying low in a far distant canyon, blending in with rock and tree and sailing so fast they quickly disappear.
Oscuro, New Mexico
Storms change the face of the desert by killing all that is old and weak and leaving only the strong to flourish. This one made no exception and accomplished what human effort and drought had failed to do in over one hundred years. The cholla cactus was no equal to the cold.
Oscuro, New Mexico
Swirling white sand frames the windmill in the distance, a profile one never sees if not for the storms.
‘One needs to but practice wellness to be well!’
November 6, 2017
Bohemian Grace II
Three Rivers New Mexico
Out The Door At Dawn
I was out the door at dawn. I have languished all summer, waking in time to watch the sun make her walk in Nogal, but sleeping later than I should. There is a good excuse for that, perhaps, but so little justification. If I have worked most every day of the last six years, forced to wake early, I am still an early riser. I have slept late these past few months, simply because I could. Now I cannot!
In Nogal I am at a higher elevation and the mountains rise steeply to the east, blocking the first glow of the sunrise. Here, at Three Rivers, it does not. Instead I sit in the bottom of the basin and the Sacramento Mountains, crowned by Baldy (the Natives name for the back side of Sierra Blanca, the White Mountain) loom in the distance. The first light of dawn is spectacular here and the colors paint the sky the moment it begins to lighten. I cannot resist the allure of the same, and wake early because of it. I am out the door at dawn.
It is fortunate I braid my hair at night, and that I have no witnesses! If I will now set my clock a few minutes ahead I haven’ the time to coax and comb before I walk, the moments are too fleeting. Instead I wake early, peak out the window, and rush to dress and go. I have broken protocol and do not even make my bed, a habit since my childhood. I dress hurriedly, grab a water and my backpack and am out the door in moments, walking rapidly to the east. I cannot bear to do otherwise, though I do brush my teeth!
Today I was greeted by the waning moon, still bright in the sky when I started, neglected quickly for the sunrise. The orange and yellow tendrils rose to the sky, the clouds illuminated by their brilliance. If I have witnessed the most brilliant of sunrises, they each excel the last! I paused only to take a few pictures, unwilling to break the spell. The mysticism of such moments is too brief to do otherwise, and only some small fraction can be captured. I need it all, and then some.
So it is I take pause in this moment, already hours later. If I woke at 5:30 it has been three hours since, so fast does time fly past. So it seems with my lifetime, the years on the Plains already well behind me and the present so much less than then. Only now am I restored, though I have been healing all summer! My heart aches for so much of the same, the joy and the peacefulness the dawn brings, such as I have found in first light for more years than I recall. How I need for it to be a constant!
How does one attain this as she stumbles but not falls? How is it that with a goal so unchanging the path has twisted and turned, leading me astray even as I travel forward? I am not lost but neither am I found and if I have ever needed to clarify that this moment is the one! I am as close as I have ever been to reaching my goals and yet they evade me, and I can’t afford to fail. This is yet another turning point on that journey and if the road lays at my feet so the map is still not clear. I shall draw one yet today! Only yesterday I aspired for the same! The goal remains the same, and for that I am most fortunate.
If I cannot quote him word for word I can come close. Saul Bellow wrote a paragraph in ‘Humbolts Gift’ which has stayed with me for more years that I can count, some thirty something for certain. He spoke to a poets inspiration and said, ‘Its source was not from genius or madness but rather because the poet could cancel out the noise and the distraction and see through to the essence of things.’ So it is when one wakes early and rushes out the door. The sunrise is the epitome of the essence of things, the pure light and magic of the breaking day. It is the center of all possibilities and opportunities, the bringing of yet another day in this glorious life. Once we stand witness to it we cannot be distracted, its presence is too powerful.
Given that how can I ask for more? I have embraced the dawn, and she me. I have awakened with the first light and rushed to meet it. I have been again surrounded by wonder, just as I was and have been washed by the blood of the plains, in body and spirit. I have stood in the light, in the rain, and I have poured the pure essence of the earth, her thermal waters drawn from her depths, over my head and my body. I have stood naked in the wind and allowed it to dry my skin as it caressed me with its blessings, and known that it was good. Just as I have witnessed the glory of both dawn and sunset, and been enthralled by them both.
This then is the pure essence of things, waiting to greet us each and every day. How easily we forget this, distracted by the workings of the very minds that bear it witness! We forget, we languish, we cry and we whine that our lives so lack the things we desire the most, and continue on our quest for the same. Even I, as blessed and as free as anyone could wish to be, am so guilty of the same, and so often remind myself also! Fool that I am, that I might find the answer just outside my door, as I did this morning. I was out the door at dawn.
November 2, 2009
Vera Cruz, New Mexico
Body, Mind and Spirit
My feet found the mountain paths yesterday and led me far and high on an ancient road I had not found in previous journeys. I often set my direction for my walks, pointing myself to the places that beckon the most but as I often allow the mountains and the canyons to guide me. I have walked these hills for years and am familiar the sacred spots where people before me worked their flint, stood guard or made camp. So I am with those who carved and pecked their art into the stone, a sign board for all who came after them. I cannot ever fancy myself being the first wanderer to find these places, but also know I am one of few who frequent them on a regular basis.
I found myself straining at the first steep ascent, having not climbed in weeks but rather taking a few more casual ventures down the arroyos that I had never explored. My time has been well spent on other ventures but cannot replace the elation of attaining the higher haunts. They are well worth the effort of the climb and even the strain has its returns as my muscles recall their uses. I find the strength to persevere and in but a few minutes have the added vigor to climb the next hill. I find that our bodies, as well as our minds, given the chance and the determination, have a phenomenal ability to rebound from inertia, given there is a sound foundation to return to! Having climbed these hills, having even run up the slopes, it is simply a matter of making it past the nominal effort to find that selfsame vigor of the past. My heart speeds up, my lungs expand and my muscles stretch, soaking up the added oxygen and giving me all the strength I require. My mind suddenly finds the greater depth of perception, perhaps from the adrenaline but in equal proportion from the concerted effort that is missing in more casual pursuits. Something greater is required here, another doorway flung open onto a far broader perspective, literally as well as figuratively as I turn to gaze back across the Vista del Valle Ranch!
I have often pondered that it seems such a challenge to apply myself to the things that are the best for me. There are dual reasons for this; the added effort, the denial of more pressing efforts such as work vs. play, the ease of taking the lesser task over a greater challenge. There is always the temptation of immediate gratification and it is so easy to slip into the comfort of inertia and put off such things for other days. In time it becomes easier. Yet for me there is always the nagging sense of loss and the absence of the genuine elation that can only be found through the genuine effort to achieve some greater goal. Though on the short term we can appease ourselves with some simple pleasure nowhere in that will we ever find the lasting reward of the purer pursuit. Even as I can wander down the arroyo and find the pretty stones left behind from the torrents of rain I can never see over the high walls of the wash to the horizon.
Perhaps for some this simple satisfaction is adequate, but not for me. I fancy myself to be amongst the thrill seekers, but in rhyme and reason more than in excess. I need not feel the rush of a plunge from great heights, no more than the adrenaline boost of risking life and limb, but challenge I require. I want to test my muscles, my wind and my mind. I want the heightened awareness to kick in as I climb a steep rocky slope, to watch where I place my feet and my trust, be it mountain or highway, where my instinct alone can guide me. I want to hone my skills, physical and mental to where they can serve me best, that I can make a flash judgment and have it be a sound one. There are the same opportunities to address these desires as there are to placate them. As always, the later be readily in reach while the previous will be something to work towards. Such a sad state of affairs that we have leaned to catering for the lesser of the two. We even condemn those who make the better choices to being seen as “over achievers” or extremists of one sort or another, non-conformers, for the lives of those who decline such pursuits pale in comparison to theirs!
I find that I cannot afford the risk of inertia at this point in my life, for I have reference points to look back on. There have been such times that I sought out and allowed myself the thrill of the instant pleasures, and well I paid the price. In fact, I believe that having done so makes it even more difficult to attain the goals I have set for myself. My resilience was weakened, the very fibers of my nerves and wit stretched beyond their capacity, the horizon widened further than the limits of sight. Just as once we have allowed that extra layer of fat cells to form on our waists and thighs so the same voids refill quickly once they have been emptied. I believe our minds do the same, and once the vessel has been stretched any input slips into those empty spaces before it reaches our senses. We must ever reach for a greater height to replenish that. Can it be restored? Only if it remains full, if the effort is a constant so those spaces, that muscle memory are continually replenished and the voids are never again emptied.
Years ago my mother pointed out to me someone who had worked to achieve a great deal of muscle mass, biceps, pectorals, etc. She explained that having increased these muscles to so great a size this person would have to devote the remainder of their life to maintaining that state of fitness. Otherwise, she advised, it would fall to flab, having been increased beyond its normal boundaries. How well I have learned this as years of hard work kept me slim and fit and those behind a desk allowed the flesh to soften. Even as I gained few pounds the flab outweighed my muscle and my clothes grew taunt as the muscle became soft. I regained that fitness last summer, with no small effort either, but have promised myself to never allow the rebound of such excess bulk. This means I too must work hard the rest of my life. Such a requirement is a small price to pay for the returns, for even as I must apply such a discipline to my physical activity, so it replenishes my mind as well! For me the pleasure is tenfold of the pain, for to lose my strength, to relinquish the fitness that has been restored would be to surrender my mind, body and spirit. That is far too great a price to pay for even a moment’s pleasure!
November 1, 2017
Bohemian Grace II
Three Rivers New Mexico
With My Door To The East
Having spent the majority of my adult life envisioning my perfect perch I continue the practice. It has, for the most part, been a consistent vision, the cabin in the wilderness, a garden spot and a barn…….and God willing a fine sort of man to share it with. The vision remains though as I age and mature so does its content. The need for the remote solitude prevails, as does the cabin and appurtenances. The desire for that fine feathered companion is also my wish.
It is the surroundings which have altered with the years. I once wanted a place deep in some northern forest with rustling leaves and a bubbling stream. Moving west it transitioned and evolved into a canyon which opened into a grassy valley, the stream remained a constant. Then, as I came to love the plains it transitioned once again and required a broad sweep of the earth such as my current dwelling has to offer, with the mountains towering to the immediate north and visible in the distance from elsewhere. The same remains my choice.
What has changed but the scope of things. If I once hoped for one hundred acres I would now be content with ten. If I still require the assurance of solitude and peacefulness I have learned one cannot utilize a larger spread, unless of course there is fencing and grass. Both come hard to this desert land I have come to call home. There is also the aging perspective, that I am unwilling and even perhaps unable to embrace the effort and sacrifice to attain a bigger place. If such was once a part of my dream, and one realized when I landed at the Hammett Ranch, it failed to last the test. If the place remains nearby it will never offer me shelter. Or perhaps it will someday, but that would require a change of heart and circumstances. I am not holding my breath!
So it is that the dream and the vision is simplified, and therefore more attainable. A small cabin or adobe is the constant, one must have shelter. A usable and accessible piece of land with a water source is required. If I would like grass beneath my feet the desert is also acceptable, and far more attainable. The solitude is essential, though a neighbor in the distance provides a comfort, especially if I am to be alone. The very nature of the place might assure that. Not everyone can live as I have, nor would they want to. I am ok with that, my happiness requires the essence of the wilderness, and it is a fine companion also.
I will face my door to the east so as to catch the morning sun. I want to be able to step out to the porch and say my morning prayers. I would have windows in every other direction, if such is attainable. One room would be enough, though it would be nice to have a kitchen and a bedroom in the back. My needs are minimal at best. There will have to be a view, of the plains and the mountains if possible, but I would settle for the plains. And a porch. If I should ever be confined to my house there needs to be a porch. I would spend the bulk of my time there. And a man. It would be nice to have someone to talk to, and eat dinner with. I would like that, but I have also learned to live alone.
The lesson is that this is all I’ve ever wanted and here, so many years later, it still is. The grandiose vision is smaller now, but the content remains the same. I have also learned a lesson. I have spent an inordinate amount of time and energy chasing after something somehow unreachable. Oddly enough, at a moment in my life when I have the least resources at hand and the faintest desire to utilize them, the dream is so in reach. I wish I had realized that sooner, but then again, it would not have been the same. I just want my door facing to the east, and I shall be content.