December 23, 2017

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico




I was greeted so graciously this morning, first by the blushing pink of the dawn, the cool air upon rising, the still hot coals in the fire, and the first burst of flame and smoke from the stove as it broke into a new flame. I extended the same greeting when I stepped out the door into the twenty degree morning, forgetting the cold as I raised my arms to say my morning prayer as the sun broke over the mountains. Minutes later I was greeted again when I went back out for an armful of wood to feed the fire. The raven called, as he so often does, this morning from a perch on a pole to the east, watching me as I walked out the door. I went inside to get my camera, zooming in so as not to crowd him, catching him with his wings puffed in the midst of his call. Selfishly unsatisfied I stepped closer, and captured his image as he flew, twice before he turned and disappeared to the east. I called after him with an apology, he being so gracious and myself crowding his space in return.


The raven, friend and messenger, and if I honor him in so many ways I also discredited him with my camera. I respect and appreciate him and am grateful for the greeting he so often offers me, yet I always hope to capture the moment, which he cannot understand from his singular perch. He lives here, I visit, and we share the common ground. I am, in the end, a trespasser. This is his domain, not mine; I come here for shelter, it is his territory. If neither of us has ownership it is I who has been granted the fleeting chance to rest. Still in all, I have pictures and a story, now preserved upon the page, and meant to be shared.


What of this haven I reside in? I will never tire of this place even if I am too often alone here. Even in considering that I am loath to share it and though my thoughts went out to my newest and dearest friend, I hesitated to bring him into that space. What would I do without the mornings silence and the time to search my thoughts? Would I have missed the ravens greeting? Would I, even if I hadn’t, have sat to search the joy and the serenity which allowed it in the first place? Would the clank of the fire in the stove be quite as poignant if there were another presence in this room, or this house? Or would we be sitting on the porch beneath a warm blanket, savoring the last dregs of the coffee pot and watching the new day take form, savoring the peacefulness, together. The thought warms my heart and I send it off to my dear friend who is miles distant from here. I will share the same with him one day, should he chance to visit.


For now I am alone and content to be so! Knowing I will be here for just a few days and then depart once again makes this all the more precious. If I herald the beauty and the peacefulness every moment I spend here, it is always even clearer in such instances. I burn whatever wood I wish to for that reason, grabbing the juniper joyfully, for its sweet smell and the rapid warmth offers. I break a sprig from the rosemary bush and place it on the stove to breathe its sweet, sage like aroma, and close my eyes to enjoy it more fully. I sprinkle a little of the sacred sage onto the stove and wash the smoke over my body, taking in the blessing of the same, stepping away dizzied by the smoke, and the heat of the stove. It is a little cooler where I sit, and I wrap my robe around my shoulders, taking comfort in its closeness. Every activity is as tender as a warm embrace and I am surrounded by emotion, and contentedness. I am, for the moment, truly at home, though I can find the same elsewhere as well. This place is, and always will be, my fallback. It is where I can return to at will, or in necessity, for so long as I am allowed to do so. It would be nice if it were my own but it is close enough, for now. It is all I require for the moment, and I am most satisfied with that!


It is this very sacredness and serenity that I live for. The call of the raven from the distance is a constant reminder of that, whether I am here or in some distant place. The smooth path of his flight, the sound of his voice from a distance, or the soft whoosh of his wings as he flies all carry those blessings. His image resounds from the page, a light pencil sketch, inspired by the artists’ hand I have watched in motion. It has the same fluid movement of the ravens’ flight, but with an added flourish. It is the same swirling motion I will occasion to observe when the raven pauses in midair to twist and turn for the pure joy of doing so. If the action reeks of spontaneity so it has the same study and discipline as the artists’ hand, steadied by vision and purposefully executed in a clear line of flight, through the air as on the canvas. The resulting poetry flows like the words onto the page, the imagery preserved in memory, vision, or thoughts, readily shared on reflection.


Such a greeting I received this morning, setting the theme for the day. I have already sang so much poetry and am surrounded by the same. I felt to coolness of the dawn on my skin when I rose. I was warmed by the fire, embraced by the dawn, greeted by the raven and put words and pencil to the page. Inspiration surrounds me and I will allow it to guide my day, painting my thoughts on the paper and the leather, honoring its presence to the fullest extent. Greetings, good morning, and thank you! Hanza, I hope that you can hear me.





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