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The Absence of Things

 

AbsenceFebruary 8, 2020
Nogal House
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.

A Day Well Done

soupstove

 

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!

The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm pic

February 3, 2020
Nogal House
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.

BOOK LAUNCH

 

I AM SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE PUBLICATION OF MY FIRST BOOK, “IF NOT NOW, WHEN?” I WILL BE READING SOME OF MY ESSAYS THIS SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE ADOBE PALACE BALLROOM (NIKE BAR) IN CARRIZOZO, NEW MEXICO, AT 7:30 PM. I WILL ALSO DO A BOOK SIGNING AFTER THE EVENT. PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE ART WALK FROM 6:30 PM TO 9:30 PM.

IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND AND WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE A SIGNED COPY OF MY BOOK FOR $15.00 (plus postage) PLEASE MESSAGE ME HERE OR ON FACEBOOK AND I WILL RESPOND IMMEDIATLY.

THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING MY PROGRESS AND MAKING THIS DREAM A REALITY! MORE EVENTS TO FOLLOW SOON!

 

 

Body, Mind, and Spirit

Indian PaintbrushNovember 2, 2009
Nogal House
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 with 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 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 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 how 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 need 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 people simple satisfaction is adequate, but not for me. I fancy myself to be amongst the thrill seekers, but in rhyme and reason more than 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, so I can make a flash judgment and have it be sound. 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 learned to cater to the lesser of the two. We even condemn those who make the other choices to being seen as “over achievers” or extremists of one sort or another, non-conformers, for the lives of those who decline the higher pursuits pale in comparison to theirs.
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 times when I sought and allowed myself the thrill of the instant pleasures, and I have lived to pay 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, and 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, those 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, and 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 excessive 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!Indian Paintbrush

Suddenly

SUDDENLY

August 19, 2019
Nogal House
Indian Divide, New Mexico

Suddenly…….

And then suddenly
I arrive
At this place
Where nothing else
Matters
But my own sanity
And completion
Where material things
Are irrelevant
Except for the fact
Of the immediate
Necessities

Of course
One must have lived
A similar
Existence
For the better part
Of her life
To truly have
The freedom
To exercise
This
Though there are others
Who have not
And still defected
But the principle
Of
No harm
No foul
Then
Comes into play

Even then
If one has
So few
Connections
To conventional
Wisdom
To direct
Their course
There are still
The necessities
Of ones’ own
Moral compass
There are debts
To be paid
And commitments
To be met
But something inside
Of me
Has severed
And the approach
Will be altered
Going forward

What is more
Precious
Than the satisfaction
Of ones
Deepest
Desires
So long as
They are rooted
In sound judgement
What else
Is more important
Than the simple joy
Of true happiness
And serenity

In my case
There is no other
True need
Nor desire
To be filled
And the chance
To just
Find stillness
Means more
Than any
Material wealth
Or gain
That can be offered

Suddenly
This all became
So clear
A brief rain
On a cool
Summers day
The soft howl
Of the wind
Off the mountainside
The utter silence
Of the moment
Here
On the hillside
In utter solitude
The brief absence
Of necessity
Or distraction
Suddenly………..

Focus

 

August 15, 2019
Nogal House
Indian Divide, New Mexico

Focus

I brought things back into focus yesterday and will make every effort to keep them there. I woke well as a result of that same effort. Yesterday it was the wind that ordered my thoughts, today it is the stillness which followed it. That and the rain, and one such as the earth has begged for all summer. This was the true monsoon rain, arriving late in the day after threatening from early morning. The clouds cloaked the mountains at dawn, and then circled and built through the day. I watched them from the ranch, sitting on the tractor, for eight hours. They built and circled, turned the southwest sky dark grey, moved east, and built again. Ironically, the true storm came in from the north and moved south, threatening for an hour before it let loose.

If I danced all day with that storm, watching and waiting for it to come in, I also misjudged it in the end. I am working on my friend’s ranch mowing the fields, and I thought sure it would catch me on the tractor, but I was close to my truck. It takes likely ten minutes to circle the field I was mowing, so there was no worry. I have done this before, and I might get damp, but not soaked. The fact is, usually the lightning will make me flee before the rains ever come. I have been in that same field when the lightning struck so close that the cows ran. I was close behind them. That never came yesterday. Instead I finished the field and even thought about moving the tractor to the north end of the ranch, but decided against it. By then the sky to the north had turned dark, and the storm gathered in earnest.

Instead I drove my truck along the two track north, to check the one crossing at the arroyo before I moved the tractor to that far field. This arroyo, or some branch of it, dissects the entire ranch. This particular crossing is steep on the edges but sandy on the bottom. Of all the crossings it is the one that stays clear, but it is best to be sure, as the banks could wash out there as anywhere else. It is also far easier to reach and return from by truck. If the old Ford tractor is resilient, so it is slow, and if I needed to turn back I would lose more time, and maybe even get wet. So I drove. The crossing, as always, was passable, though I had to use the four wheel drive to get through it, as the banks are soft and dry, or they were! The way the rain came through made the arroyos run last night, and it might merit yet another inspection today.

I turned back after the arroyo and crossed it to the south with the storm still building behind me. The rain was close but I spotted a dead pinion to the east and drove across to inspect it. As I pulled up I spotted a deer antler laying nearby, and laughed joyfully at the discovery. It is always a gift to find a horn, but after the years spent on the Apache Reservation in search of the same, the find had even more meaning. I took the horn to be a blessing, on myself, the day, and the choices I had made to arrive there. I might have waved the extra effort, I might have returned to the tree I was already cutting on, I might have just gone home, but I didn’t. It was already five o’clock, I had mowed for eight hours, but I still chose to cut wood instead. Following past experience I took a moment to look for the other horn, small as it was. The two forks told me it was a young buck, and the horn was already turned white, so it had lain there for at least a year, if not two. If they so often drop both horns close together the other was likely gone, fodder for a porcupine or some other creature, searching for salt. Whatever the cause, the other horn was nowhere to be found, but the brief search was joyful all the same. Even after a day in the field, simply being outside is a joy in itself, and a pleasure in every sense of the word. Failing at the effort to find the prize, I returned to the tree and sharpened my chainsaw. If the storm was building fast, it was still several miles away.

I cut wood for a good hour before I felt the rain drops, but I savored the cool breeze also. I perused the sky, and kept at my work, even as the thunder drew close. I was on a slight rise, but the lighting was far off, miles yet to go. Finally, it began to rain, softly, but gaining strength. I stacked the wood I had fallen and gathered my tools. Even as I stripped off my chaps it began to rain in earnest, though not heavily. By the time I rolled up the truck windows the drops were steady and I started to hurry a bit, given that the road would get slick by the gate. I have four wheel drive, and it was engaged, but the road is risky at the end. I crossed through the brush to the two track I had followed north, and turned back to the south, stopping at the tractor to close the hood as I had left it open to cool. When I had driven north there was still a chance I might have moved it to the other fields, and would have fueled it if I had. By this time it was pouring rain, and enough to soak my jacket through in seconds. I laughed at myself, and recalled the knowledge that rain represents those who are passed from our lives, and returning to see us. I knew who it was in a glance, and welcomed his presence, he who I hunted horns with for so long………..

When I reached the mowed field I stayed to the grass to keep from tearing up the road. Just an hour ago I had taken a picture of the old two track to show it had finally grown in, and did not want to disturb it. Besides, the grass isn’t as slick, and the field was still dry enough to cross, even as the rain began to soak in. I made the gate in style, even if the dirt was already slick, I had minutes to spare. The gate was different. I paused a moment to peruse the storm and it gathered strength immediately. I laughed again, as I knew better, and it was pouring when I exited the truck. Of course it took a minute to straighten the chain also, long enough to get soaked, and even my pants got wet. Back in the truck, I opted for the heater, and recalled my thoughts from the morning, that the wind sounded like winter. It won’t be long now!

I drove out to the highway slowly, enjoying the storm. The mountains were cloaked in the haze of the rainfall and I thought of the blessings it brought. The ground is scorched, and begging for moisture. The field was dusty when I mowed, and just a dull green from the broom weed, with the grasses laying low in waiting for this storm. They will green now, and reward me for my efforts with a late crop of pure grass, and the weeds a fine mulch. If the rains continue it will be better yet, and this storm, late as it is, was still a good sign. We have a few weeks yet, and maybe the monsoon will stay. I admired the small horn as I headed home, its surface smooth and soft, and a little darker on the bottom. It has a few deep scratches, perhaps from a scrap or two, a rambunctious young buck so it seems. Perhaps I may see him one day, though I will never know if it is him for certain. Maybe I will find the other side, or better yet, this years’ sheds, if I am so lucky. I am home, back at the ranch, and cutting wood, and I am focused. And quite blessed I must say! Life is good when we allow it to be. Such is my focus.

Zen

nogal clouds 1

January 31, 2011
Nogal House
Indian Divide, NM

Zen

I stepped out my door this morning into one of those Zen filled moments I would have missed, if there had been even a moment’s hesitation. As is my habit, I looked to the east for that first vestige of the sunrise. I was greeted instead by a moment of pure beauty such as the early morn and sunset seem to offer, more than any other part of the day. A small grey cloud hung in the sky, framing the fine sliver of the waning moon, itself aligned with Venus, and the final glimmer of the night. In perfect harmony with the view, was a raven, hanging still for that rare instance when his wing force was equal with the wind, as if he too was destined to be part of the moment. What, I must wonder, made me so worthy as to be the witness?

So I begin my day. The soft clouds of moisture, such a pleasure to view in our arid clime, make me think of springtime. The day has far more of that quality than it does for mid winter. The temperature is already above forty degrees and feels balmy. The wood stove is already too hot, and the buds on the trees are straining to grow, even as the wind threatens of storm. How can this be winter? I watch the small birds that I so selfishly feed for my enjoyment, and wonder if they are fooled as well. Just a week ago they were huddled in the cold, their fine feathers fluffed to stay warm; what do they know? My eye is drawn to the bright magenta that paints the heads of a few of the birds, and wonder how I can be so pleased by such a simple thing. It is enough to watch them flitter and fight.

I have once again regained the simplicity of my life. I have returned home, though I find this in other places as well. What that it has once again become an integral part of my life, and there is no way that I can disrupt this! I want for so little else that it is difficult to even consider any sort of change that would alter this element of my existence. For a moment I can be still. I can also see, as I realized just last night, that I have successfully reached a goal, one which I set myself on not so long ago. It was an attainable one, which I started on as soon as I decided on it, and it is now in full motion. I can thank my friend Antonio for this, and if this is all that ever comes of our alliance, it is more than enough.

I can remember gazing on the utter simplicity of his home, as well as the overwhelming desire to make it my own, and thinking that there was something there to be learned and incorporated into my life. Not just the simplicity, but for the need to be free of all that is not necessary to my immediate existence, excepting the true keepsakes of course. I returned here ready to ‘clean house’ and have, since then, accomplished that! Certainly there are still a few superfluous items, but for the most part the clutter is gone! I not only sold off the vehicles I no longer needed, I also emptied my silver trailer, and sold. Most of what it contained is gone as well. I shall repeat the process once more, and be quite pleased with the outcome.
There is another element of that goal, which is my book, and all that it entails. This has been a long term goal, and I find myself perched before my laptop for the hours that are required and realize that I am, in that process as well, and devotedly so!

Goals. We set our direction early on and then do our best, or not, to navigate in that direction. As I once held a compass, when I was working on the White Sands National Park, perched on the sand dunes there doing a water study, so that we might pull our cable as straight as possible, I have of late set my direction in much the same way. The reward has been heartening, and I am moving towards all that I wish to accomplish. The affirmations of this last week are more than I could ask for. Focus, the element of life that is so critical for success, seems within reach. I must learn to manage that carefully, for I do not wish to wander from this track. Unlike with my work, I haven’t the compass there to direct me, and I must be my own instead!

Zen. There are some things that one must capture with the eye, and save within their mind, as no camera can replicate them. They occur in such fleeting moments as I found outside my door, just before the dawn. It repeats itself in the brilliance of the sparrow, perched for but an instant amongst the bright red branches of the peach tree. The new growth is as brilliant a red as the magenta feathers on the birds head and breast. I want to save that view for eternity. I must embed it in spirit for to do so. You cannot take of picture of true beauty, for it exists only in the minds’ eye. It is this that I shall carry with me.

How Often

Window

August 22, 2018

Nogal House

Vera Cruz, New Mexico

 

How Often

 

How often

Have I

Played the fool

And let this

Slip away

How often

Have I left here

With all intent

And purpose

Only to be

Led astray

How often

Have I ignored

My own

Sage advice

And compromised

The very basis

Of my existence

And how often

Have I returned

To heal?

I am leaving

Here, again

As much

Out of desire

As necessity

Not because I

Want to

But because

I have created

The necessity

That I have to

As I continue

To fail

At the desired

Outcome

Of true

Financial freedom.

What is

My failing

That so often

I depart

With such

Sole intent

And return

Before it is done

Why is it

I continue

To struggle

When the solutions

Are at my fingertips

And how often

Will I pause

To consider that.

I have realigned

My sights

For the umpteenth

Time

But my focus

Is sharper

Than it was

In years past

And though I

Have made

Yet another

Commitment

The first one

Was made

To myself

And my word

Is as good

As it has ever been

And it is clearer

Than it was

In the past

And it has never

Been

More critical

That I hold

To that promise

For how often

Have I not.

 

 

You Made Me Laugh

 

 

phone-pictures-971

October 7, 2015

Bohemian Grace

Nogal Canyon

Bent, New Mexico

 

You Made Me Laugh

NOTE: Please note I wrote this piece a year ago today, so much has changed since then! Being a writer allows us to express our deepest feeling and emotions in a manner we might not otherwise be able to do, they would instead remain in our thoughts. Having a blog opens the door to share those things, even if some might be better off unsaid.  The following is a soul baring piece but a wonderful lesson also and I hope that those who read it will see the humor, as well as the lesson. I for one am far better for having experienced it. No regrets!

You made me laugh today. Sadly you only do this when you are drinking, which makes me cry. All the same, I cannot resist your company when you are intoxicated, and it is the same for you. The sad part is that I spend the whole time you are drunk trying to get you sober. It always works in the end, though sometimes it takes a week or two. Then I don’t hardly see you again, until you start to drink. We have been doing this for almost four years, we both know the pattern.

 

You would think we would grow tired of this, me of your foolishness and you of the sickness, but we don’t. It seems it is always too much fun in the interim, even if it is painful for both of us. It breaks my heart to see you wasting your life and ruining your health. It breaks your spirit to shatter your routine and bring such illness to your body. You don’t get sick when you are drinking; it is the hangover that will kill you.

 

You made me laugh today, your candid humor and spontaneity is a joy and a pleasure. It betrays your serious side and the sober guy would cringe if he could witness it, but he cannot. Sadly it is the best of times which you will never recall, the laughter and the tears, the meals I cook and the warm hugs I receive in return. You are my best friend when you are drunk, and your own worst enemy, and it gets worse as time goes on. I am watching a gradual decline which frightens me because it is the very source of my own weakness.

 

You made me cry just yesterday. You rarely call me when you are sober and I have learned to gage your intoxication by the tone of your voice and the frequency of your calls. You will only call once when you are starting, as if to warn me and to comfort yourself, you are safe if I am here. You will call two or three times if you are already drunk and if you need a ride you won’t stop, I think you hit redial sometimes, at least in your head. I am the voice of sanity when there is no other sound to guide you. You called a lot yesterday, and you kept calling until I found you. You were so drunk you made me cry and when I came back later I cried again when you played that song for me, you started it over three times because you wanted me to hear it. You told me, this song is for you, and we both got teared up, such fools as we are. The song was, “You Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry.” You are always on target, when you are drinking.

 

My greatest fear is that I will someday weaken and lose the sharpness of my judgement. I am afraid I may sink into the oblivion which is my mothers’ mind, she who drifts along unguided but still occasionally comes back to shore. I asked myself the other day, ‘When did she start to fail?’ and realized she was always failing; it just took a while for her to complete the process. I am strong because of that and I don’t want to grow up to be like her. I want to instead preserve the tender innocence she graced me with, the same treasure reflected in my voice, which I also got from her, and the sense of humor, that I get from you. I think I have my fathers’ strength, though I am not always sure of that either and I don’t always like him very well. It is your failing which keeps me on task; you are the constant reminder of the alternative which I never want to take.

 

You ask me why I put up with your bullshit, because you call a spade a spade, and you know just who you are. I try to explain that to you, but as you always say when we ask why you don’t stop drinking, “It is hard.” I put up with you because for some foolish reason you are the only person I can put up with and I love you as I have few others in my life. It is as foolish an addiction as your drinking and the outcome is equally assured, it will be painful, as it always has been. I buried all of the other guys a long time ago and I do not want to do the same with you. That is also why I stay; I can prolong the agony for us both, though I doubt that I will win. There is another reason also, I am so afraid of failing myself that I force myself to be strong. You have made me better at that than I have ever been and as long as you are here I will never forget. It makes it hard to leave.

 

Here is the sad part. I am better off alone and we both know that. I have been trying very hard to pull away for that very reason and it is why I am writing again, I write a lot when you aren’t here. But I write because of you also and you inspire me with your own lack of the same. You point it out to me also, your desire for the richness I weave into my own life and it is what you love me for. I am the light in your darkness when you are drunk. If only you could learn to do the same when you were sober! If such were possible we could laugh all the time, and never cry again…..

 

October 7, 2016

 

We finally parted three months ago when I prepared to leave him and he kindly left me instead. I didn’t cry. There was more reason for joyfulness than sadness as I discovered that the crisis I had allowed into my life all revolved around his failures, not my own. I also learned something. Sometimes we convince ourselves we need to do certain things to maintain our stability only to discover we have succeeded in the process. I know now that I do not require adversity in my life to remain strong, because I am strong. Karl helped me see that lesson and I am grateful for that, and it was worth the tears it required to discover this. And the laughter made it worthwhile also, though I have laughed more in his absence than I have in a long time.

 

We all come into each others’ lives for a purpose and he drove home a lesson which is one of my favorites. “We are all teachers and we best teach what we most need to learn.” In trying to save him from himself I may well have saved myself in the process! I am as content with my life as I have ever been and he helped me to get there, I hope somehow I have done the same for him!