A Day Well Done



February 6, 2020
Nogal House
Indian Divide, New Mexico

A Day Well Done

It is just now 9:00 am and it is already a day well done. I woke early with the first light just touching the peaks of the Vera Cruz. I stepped outside into the chill dawn and said thanks for the chance to witness that. Some things never wear thin and the thrill of the new day beginning, the first rosy glimmer on the mountain peaks and the glimmer on the flanks of the Carrizo Peak are my favorites. If I wake too late to witness that progression I feel as if I have lost a precious part of the day. Better to rise early instead.

It was 14 degrees at daybreak and though there were still coals in the woodstove the house was cool and the kitchen colder as I have covered the door to conserve the heat. I stirred the coals in the stove but took a moment to clear some ashes, stepping outside briefly to retrieve the bucket and grateful to have emptied it. Sometimes I forget to do that as I must let the coals cool before I toss the ashes on the garden. When I need it again I must make the walk through the yard first. Of course it is colder at dawn, though I never can complain, it is too beautiful for that! Ashes out and fire built I took a moment to sweep the mantle, clearing the few ashes I spilled and the small chunks of kindling that never make it into the stove.

The fire lit quickly and I placed a pan of water on the stove top to heat. There is a pot full of water on ready also but it had cooled through the night, and the pan heats more quickly. I started my tea, made my bed and dressed. By then the water was hot and steaming. If the room was comfortable it was still cool enough for that! I brushed my teeth, washed my face, combed my hair and had my morning drink of orange juice. I might have stopped there but the cold morning made the thought of chicken soup more appealing. Though the kitchen was still cold I prepared the soup and once it boiled on the gas stove moved it to the woodstove to simmer for the day.

If there is some added effort to carry wood and remove the ashes, the woodstove serves me well! I can make a $20.00 bottle of propane last for weeks and still have heat, hot water and a hot stove top whenever I please. I write of this often for it thrills me nearly as much as the sunrise and I have so much to be grateful for. Even once the soup was done I continued on my quest. I slipped back outside, the morning wind cold but fresh and exhilarating. I brought in two armloads of wood to replace what I burned yesterday, a small sacrifice for the heat I enjoyed. I plugged in my cord to the solar, the generator now resting idle, and silent as well. I now charge everything off of the battery, and can run a light come evening, again at no cost! In four months or so the solar will have paid for itself in what I spent on fuel alone, let alone the peacefulness of its operation. That the generator gets to rest is yet another plus as I has started to smoke on occasion. It has lasted nine years, and may last yet another if I run it sparingly. I am so okay with that and from that perspective the solar is already paid for. It was a $300.00 investment I might have made years ago if I had known how simple it really was.

I made one more venture into the yard to toss the ashes on the garden as I was already outside. The dirt is still snow covered so the hot ashes cooled quickly and granted me one less worry to contend with later. I paused and gathered my jeans off the clothes line before I went inside, warmed enough by the sun now to fold them outside. They freeze dried through the night, frozen solid soon after I hung them but quickly dried by the morning sun. I drew pleasure in the effort as the view from the porch, as with every other angle of my roost, is a good one, and I never fail to admire it. It is these simple pleasures which fill my life so completely. I marvel at the years I have sacrificed for material gain while this place stood empty, awaiting my return. It was a necessary sacrifice I suppose, and I have enough to show for it to justify the effort, but it is also perhaps my only regret. I might have lived better if I had stayed here. The direction I have chosen to take might have availed itself sooner, or perhaps it might not have. There were lessons to be learned that had to be taught by the journey I chose. I would not choose to reverse them now as they are already behind me.

Today is a day well done, even though it has barely begun. I have already accomplished so much, and captured the thought as well. The fire crackles happily, the soup simmers on the stove and the remainder of the day waits expectantly for further effort. The wind is up and the air outside is cold, and for a moment there is a real taste of winter. The ground is still snow covered and the moisture is as needed as the deeper cold, preparing the earth and flora for spring. If just two days ago my elm trees were aching to bud, they have clenched tight again against the cold. That is a good thing, and my peach trees have been warned also that spring is still far off. Today is a good day to stay home, and I have the luxury of doing so. I am blessed also to have things to do which will assure of my future being well stocked. I can build inventory today and devote my time to my art, rather than someone else’s bidding. It has been a long time coming to get here, but I have arrived. In so many ways it has been a life well done, and from here each day shall follow suit. It is also a day well done, and it has only just began. I am quite blessed!

2 responses to “A Day Well Done”

  1. Melanie says :

    I am there . Until 1997 I was engaged without modern conveniences. 9 months of winter at 10k feet teaches us much. I appreciate your stories. Thank you.

    • cathieeisen says :


      Thank you for the comment and yes, you are one of us for sure! You are precious friend and one of the most ‘like minded others’ I know. It is good to hear from you. Stop by sometime and I promise to do the same. Cathie

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