May 8, 2021
Indian Divide, New Mexico
I slept outside last night
Closer to the elements
And closer to the sky
I pushed open the back door
And left it open to the night
Allowing the wind and the sky
To surround me
With cool breathe and bright stars
And I rediscovered a part of me
That has been sheltered and confined
Her feral grace came quickly
The coyotes howled my name
A repost for one of my dearest childhood friends who just died from the Coronavirus while advocating for the people who most needed to be represented! Rest In Peace old friend!
August 6, 2015
Mescalero, New Mexico
For Josh Kovner RIP
If this was the last summer of my life I would be living it differently. If I knew that for whatever reason I would never again visit the warm silence of an August evening when the day had been a little too warm but the evening breeze felt cool to my skin, I would have to take pause in this instant. I would peruse my life and dispose of all of my baggage immediately and without the slightest regrets.
If I knew that by some twist of fate my life had been foreshortened, regardless of how unfair that might seem, I would make a change. I would quit my job, no matter the possibility that by some miracle I might survive and have to maintain a steady income. I have always managed to get by. I would move back to my Nogal House on Indian Divide this very evening and set myself to making sure the wood pile was ample, as I might live through the winter. I would patch the seam in the attic which has gaped for too long for the same reason, there is a draft there, and I would fix the ceiling also.
If I knew that I would never again have the leisure of the cool summer mornings to make my way to the mountaintop I would seek that out tomorrow, as I did so often in the past. I would wake myself before dawn and watch the sunlight flow across the Carrizo, and I would write about it before I took my walk. I would allow myself the pleasure of reflection on my life before I did anything else, as I have so rarely found the time for of late, and I would savor the words as I always have, but more so!
If this was the last year of my life I would write another book and fill it with the wonders of every moment which was allowed to me, and live those moments to their fullest. I would free myself of all of the complexities and worries which seem to cloud my days and return to the place I left just three short years ago, and remain there. I would cease to worry about what the future had to hold and stop stressing over my bills, though I would still try to honor my commitments. I would go back to doing my artwork and plant a late garden. I would go to work on my friend Candy’s ranch for the rest of the summer and admire the glimmer of the sunlight on the water as it flooded the fields and to watch the pastures green and prosper.
If I thought for a minute I would never again watch the clouds as they build on the horizon, or see the glimmer of first light, or the brilliance of the sunset, I would make my life as simple and carefree as it has ever been and keep it that way. I would busy myself with the most rewarding and productive efforts possible, as I have always professed to do, and disallow anything else which might interfere with that. I would live my life as I have always wanted and needed to do and not worry about what the future had to hold, because the relevance would be absent. I would treasure every waking moment and know it for the gift that it is, and record it so that others might know the same.
If I don’t do that now, when will I?
You Made Me Laugh
October 7, 2015
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!
May 17, 2012
Nogal Canyon Road
Bent, New Mexico
If innocence still lives it is in the eyes of a child named Meagan. She is a woman child, caught in that fragile instance between a young girl and a woman. She is an adolescent and naïve to what lies before her excepting the depth of wisdom in her mother’s eyes. They are so like her own, set in another face.
Meagan, she stands as a reminder for her mother and I, of all we have left behind us and all which lies ahead. She returns to us in her every breath all which we have treasured and tried to hold onto. Her searching gaze and her questions are a breath of fresh air, one to be savored and studied as our Zen teachers would tell us, to be felt as it comes and goes. She has strength where her mother is more fragile and she is blessed with the awareness of the necessity of that. She will be wiser for the wear, my own mother was fragile and I too became strong because of it.
She is a teacher even as she is still a student, the exchange of lessons will be of equal value to us both and nothing will be lost. She has already returned to me what life has tried to take away. I will give her other gifts which she can carry with her. Her mother will receive an equal share and the blessings are multiplied by three. Her mother and I were both in need of that feminine compassion which is so hard to find, and all young girls need mentors. We three can mentor each other for innocence reigns up that narrow canyon we all call home and I will bring with me adventure and experience in return.
We stood before an ancient cabin as the afternoon waned. We spoke of the history and the effort which went into the construction of the adobe and rock shelter, and of the life which had been lived there. Kelly spoke of the beauty and the mystery of the place and of how she stood inside before the roof fell in. I recounted my own experience far west of here in the San Augustin Plains and how upon deeper study of the homesteaders lives some of the romance had faded from my mind. It was a tough life, theirs. Kelly’s eyes widened a little; she had never thought of the hardships, such is the innocence she has maintained. Meagan listened to every word, their weight growing heavier in her learning.
If innocence still lives it is in the eyes of a child named Meagan. She has inherited it from her mother. One will never meet another with such a gentle spirit.
The young girls laugher
High pitched and joyful
Echoes off of the canyon walls
Like the chatter of coyotes
Exuberant and unrestrained
Free of the constrictions
Of society or domesticity
Still innocent and alive
I am so grateful
For the reminder
Of how life should be lived
Hah Hah Hah
January 4, 2014
185 Nogal Canyon Road
Bent, New Mexico
There is this book I have written, the monumental effort of a lifetime, the dream realized, the goal met, almost. It is complete in the sense that I have written it in its entirety, all four hundred pages of it. It took me the course of a year to do so, amassing the memories as I traveled the Plains even as I reflected back on the notes I made from the start. It is long and wonderful, rich with adventure and insight, a grand accomplishment at any level. It is also very good, and I have to believe saleable, even if it may not be the best seller my father would have me believe, though one can hope.
This book, I started it in 2010 and completed it in June of 2011, or thereabouts, the journey ended there and by then I was writing to the moment. That was two and a half years ago and I am only now in the final throes of completion, the last edits flowing under my hands as often as I can get to it. I might have done this sooner as I had every intention of, but life gets in the way. Working full-time and trying to secure a comfortable place to live, which required much physical effort to accomplish, took the lion’s share of my time. Beyond that I found some welcome distraction also and I would not trade the miles I walked through the mountains in search of love and elk horns for any of it. That my future dangles off the threads of my literary efforts will not alter the happiness and experience I have gained in the interim, it was a necessary exchange.
Now my book takes the forefront once again and I have set aside all my other earthly pursuits, aside from my job and my journals, to complete it. My dwelling is now secure and my desires for other things satisfied for the moment, my need to move forward dominates my thoughts. I want to finish the book for many reasons, the least being the financial possibilities though the fulfillment of that would thrill me also. It is more the need to see the effort through at this point as the process is a daunting one and has stilled my creative desires as I had always feared it would. This is an obstacle which I have created and the stumbling block of creativity, a different brand of writers block than I perceive in others and driven on fear rather than the lack of inspiration. I am always inspired! For me writing has been and always will be a joy and a pleasure, a release and a fulfillment such as only the freedom of my thoughts has been able to satisfy. It is the marketing of my work which stops me on a dime.
I have never been and never will be a commercial writer. My work comes from the heart. I write for the sheer joy of writing, for myself and for anyone who might care to hear what my words convey. It is my diary and my sounding board, my adventure through life and the hearts desires I speak of, the hopes and the dreams of one solitary person, bared upon the page. My words belong to me and everyone who might read them and profit is a sideline which, if I am so lucky, will allow me the time and the freedom to write even more. It is all I want to gain as that would be the key to my happiness. I want only to live a simple life and to have the means to do so. I have to wonder why it has been so hard to get there!
I am on the final read of my book and as it’s been from the start the insight and inspiration I draw from the adventure carries me through. I see now how precious the freedom is and what the struggle amounted to when I had to once again sacrifice that. From the moment I began the adventure which became the book I was living my dream, from the moment the adventure ended I reentered the struggle I was so trying to escape from. I have spent my entire life hoping I could write something which was worthy of publishing so as to allow me to do more of the same. I have now written it and within this coming year I will know if I have memoir or riches. Regardless of the outcome I will continue to write, and to dream, so nothing will really change. If the book can pay my way I will be thrilled, if not the effort will evolve of its own volition. Either way the book has affirmed many things. Not only am I capable of completing an effort such as it required, I also have a firm grasp on what I require for my happiness. I want to write, I want to live a life worthy of writing about, and I am doing just that.
This blog is part of the strategy I must pursue to market and publish my book. It will offer a collection of my essays and exerts for everyone to read and share. If you, my friends and friends of friends find them to be to your liking please say so, it will be your input and comments which will render the final outcome. Wish me luck!