February 8, 2020
Indian Divide, New Mexico
The Absence of Things
Sometimes it is the absence of things which resonate the most in our lives. Today is one such day. The wind and the deeper chill of winter are absent, having receded as rapidly as they arrived. The air is warm and still, and the cloudless sky is a brilliant shade of blue. The morning sun glimmers brightly as it rises over the hill and its warmth, unfiltered, already reaches me through the east window. It as if she knows that I am writing of her and has altered her angle for my benefit as this is the first morning that her light has touched me so. I am grateful for the blessing.
In this moment of gratitude I have taken note of the absence of other things. It is this stillness in my spirit which also resonates. There is no distraction, no pressure, no looming crisis in my life. Having spent so many years of my life struggling with such things, they are absent. Granted, I am alone, but in lieu of my last relationship that is a comfort also. If I did my best to save his life, he failed to do the same. If his company was worth it for a time, neither do I miss the struggle. He left a constant wave of crisis in his wake, and in trying to intervene for him I allowed it into my own. In the absence of that I discovered a strength in myself I had never fully acknowledged. Through that lesson I learned to fulfill my own needs, and I am content to be alone. In fact, the absence of another person in my life has taught me the means to appreciate the simple things. I might have missed this poignant moment had there been someone else here to fill it.
The utter stillness of the morning after three days of wind is stunning. It is also a reminder of what is to come, and springtime here is lovely but the wind is incessant. I am not going to worry about that for now, but rather pray for more snow. For a moment the dusts of drought are absent, and the ground is soft and wet. It is as if the earth itself resonates with the blessing of the latest snow, having been restored for a moment by the ample moisture. There are even signs of green reaching for the sun with every living thing restored by the melting snow and the warming light. It is just now February but spring is aching to make her entrance. With another storm on the way she will have to wait but even the hint of her presence is worthy of mention.
I see now what I have been missing, though I brought it with me all along. It is in the absence of any pressing need or desire that I have restored my serenity. Of course I am blessed to have a warm dry shelter to reside in, even if it is but a mean shack that I have no ownership of. I have no need for anything else at the moment and I am so grateful to be here. To be perched on this mountainside on a day such as this with no sound but the ping of the woodstove beside me is priceless. I am even aching to go outside to embrace the new day and the hillside is just across the fence. I will never be wealthy for so long as I remain here but I have riches beyond measure. In the absence of any desire for material gain I have again restored my serenity.
I have but one goal for the moment and it is a simple one. If I can but further the means to perpetuate my present existence I will be satisfied. I have never really aspired to much more than that, but I have left here so many times in search of the monetary resources to return. I made myself quite miserable in the process. Not that there haven’t been adventures, there were many of them, but they all came at a cost. I have returned once again, and finally with the devotion required to stay. There will be challenges, as there always are, but in comparison to so many of the previous ones, they will be surmountable. It is in the absence of my willingness to alter my present state of grace that I have found the greatest comfort I have had in years. The serenity I have always desired has always been here and waited patiently for my return. In the absence of any greater reward, poverty is such a good option. The time to enjoy my life is worth more than any riches I might ever aspire towards. I will thrive in their absence.
February 3, 2020
Indian Divide, New Mexico
The Perfect Storm
This is the perfect storm
Arriving on the heels of a bitter wind
Laden with dust and drought
And having led me to question the merit
Of a life on this windswept hillside.
The winds come in March I thought
And if this is winter
Summer will be unbearable,
Until this morning.
The flash mob of snowflakes
Bursting from a unknown place
Unexpected and enlightening
Became the perfect storm
I am rarely as surprised as I was this morning, waking to snowfall. It rained last night from a clear and star filled sky, so of course it would snow, wouldn’t it? There were clouds, yes, off to the west where the storms now come from. They always came from the east before now, but everything else is awry, so why not the weather? This has been one of the driest winters, and warmest, until today. What was it yesterday but for a minute like summer, until the winds came. We have run the gamut of seasons in the course of twenty four hours, and I am okay with that! I scurried to bring in wood thinking myself a fool, and that it would warm again by noon. Now I am happy to sit by the fire. I have been tricked before, and even the weather man did not predict this. It will be twelve degrees tonight. Last night it was thirty two, and that hasn’t yet wavered since this morning.
The perfect storm, when I had a list of ‘must do’s’ for the day. Instead I can add one more thing to my list of things I am grateful for. There is nothing I wished to do that cannot wait until tomorrow, and no crisis in allowing that to occur. Instead I can fall back on all of the things I wanted to do, and find pleasure in the doing. There is a book to finish, and perhaps another to begin. There are the loose ends I can tie, and a few phone calls perhaps, or not even that. What about the perfect silence of the falling snow? I can revel in that as well, and there will be no visitors either. I have come to treasure the silence as much as I do my solitude, in careful measures. Better that I take the time to ponder the blessing of the snow, knowing that the drought makes it all that more precious. The dust will lay low for days, or maybe even longer.
This is a good day for a slow fire, a big log and a little air, cozy. The stove pings quietly with the flickering flame, and the heat radiates softly through the room. There is a slight draft somewhere, but not intolerable. The breath of cool air through the window frame is a welcome reminder of the cold I need not face. There is a great comfort in that, knowing there is no ice for me to break or chores to be done, even if I miss the horses. It would be worth it, to brave the storm for their sake, as I have done in the past, but for now I have been spared. I would also trade the exhilaration for the comfort, gladly. I will have to consider that going forward, but neither shall I complain. For today I shall revel in the perfection of this storm, unplanned for and unexpected. It caused me to take pause, and I will take full notice of that. Sometimes, no matter how mindful we think we are, we forget the essence of things. There is nothing that I have to do today that cannot wait until tomorrow. Instead I will do all of those things that I had chosen to let wait. Turn around is fair play, isn’t it. That has made this the perfect storm.