Mid week in early May

By lunch the snow has melted. The grass is a shade greener. The high country remains frosted and the air that comes over the Divide from the West has a strong bite.

I take off on a quick walk to burn energy that might otherwise drive the boys nuts.  I’m not good at not doing much and the morning snow and afternoon mud has slowed me down.  The dog joins me, chasing off two separate bands of elk along the way. They are shocked that this little beast would run straight up the mountain towards them as they side hill into the trees.  He is courageous.  I cannot say fearless, for the dark of night and high waters still frighten him, and for good reason. But he is bolder than any other dog I have known.  Only now, after almost two years together, have I learned to understand and appreciate his big, brave heart.  He is a lot of dog. Not physically, for he is only seventy pounds or so, but his spirit, his soul.  Yes, my friends.  Dogs do have soul, and this one has a big one.

By evening I am finally tired enough to sit. I pour a glass of wine and visit with my boys on our deck, soaking in the last of the sun before it drops behind the far side of Pole Mountain.  Warmth on the back of my head as I gaze forward across our yard ripped up from gardening mayhem, across the pasture with the horses grazing upon the moist spring grasses while two cormorants that just arrived back in the ‘hood mill about the undisturbed, across the hills which ebb and flow down to the swollen banks of the Reservoir, high with waters retained from cutbacks, making the drought conditions appear so plentiful.  How far reaching our view from the front deck can be if we take the time to consider the reaches and impact of the expanses before us.

Today I am at peace.  Home is bliss.  And yet it is not because of the beautiful place. I am not so shallow to be impressed by no more than a pretty face. It is because of what we bring here, have done here, do here, build and grow here, give back rather than just take.  It’s a love affair. A swirling, churning, mixed up romance, at times still or drowning and other times exhilarating like wild white waters.  And like that of my marriage and relationship with growing son, becomes deeper, stronger, richer with time.

Going away and returning has taught me it is not the place.  For this place is also tainted with some of the ugliest I have seen in life.  I cannot bury these burdens but learn to rise above.

Sherie wrote, “You found home.  Hope the feeling stays.”

I know it won’t. I’ve learned that much. For you’re right, it is a feeling, and emotions change with the wind. They have no substance nor permanence, but impact us so strongly if we allow them to, and too often, I do.  This feeling too will fluctuate with the seasons and moods and events that shape us far more than the mountain. It’s not our surroundings that ground us, but our heart and soul, and yes, our loved ones.  I’m not above counting on and relying upon those I love to help me learn to live with not only where I am, but who I am.

On the outside, you might say a place like this is easier to find that peace within.  But you’re looking only on the surface.  And peace is not so shallow.  Look deep, stir the waters, and see more than the reflection in muddy waters.  The trials, tribulations and traumas I’ve been challenged with here have been harder and more painful than any I have been tested with in other places.  Ultimately, they helped (or rather, are helping, for it is forever a fluctuating process) me learn to find and make peace within myself, of myself, not because of my environment.

Likewise, with Don’s comment, and others you may see from Al, for example:  They are not as obvious, those natural, wild beauties found within city boundaries, but they are there, and open and free for the few bold enough to seek them out.  I was raised right outside and then within NYC.  I learned more about natural peace, beauty and serenity there than I did after six years in the barren hills of New Mexico. Because it mattered to me and I took the time to look.  Sitting silent along the Hudson piers to watch the sun set cast golden orange on the gentle ripples of the then foul waters.  Climbing to the rooftop to find the greatest silence and find a pocket view of the night sky sharing a secret moment with the full moon.  Like Sherie noticing all those things that so many might not see, the frogs, the sounds, the squirrels… the magic and beauty.  I cannot tell you how many near to here are surrounded with so much and see so little. It is more than the environment.  It is our heart and soul and ability to see and feel.  Or not.  For there is no doubt that wide open spaces can craft closed minds. It is always our challenge to open up, see, feel, taste and touch the world around us.  Dive in!  Or skim the surface.  The choice is ours.  Me, I’d rather dive in, fight the currents from time to time dragging me in a direction I do not wish to go.  And deal with the frigid waters, stirred up mud, and scratching rocks at the bottom  just for the chance to float calm and serene beneath the clouds reflecting on the glassy surface supporting me when the wind is still and water and mind calm for no more than a brief but beautiful repose.

(A friend and reader wrote yesterday to mention how interesting the conversations and writing in the comments can be.  Mine, yours, the prompt and interaction. I don’t know how many readers take a look at these, but I do know more of you still prefer to write me personally and directly – and that’s fine – however – sometimes there is a response I want to share or continue the conversation with, and I’ll take the risk to include it in a post – just to be sure you read it!)

9 thoughts on “Mid week in early May

  1. You inspire us, Gin! You help us learn to look beyond what we think we see and search for more! And for me, personally, you help keep the dream alive, not that it needs much fuel but it’s nice to have the support!

    Here’s an update of what I saw in my own suburban back yard yesterday:
    Heron looking for food (for the babies I heard in the nest!)
    Woodpecker taking seeds from my feeder to 3 babies…
    Blue Jays feeding their babies(who were all over the place!) and fighting the squirrels off–having baby birds looks like tough work!

    Love the picture of Norman and Gunnar.

  2. This message about home is sooo universal. It transcends nationality, I would think, although maybe, in some places, the choice to live here or there is not even an option. Dogs, such great creatures! And now I’ll add that the squirrel outside my window in 80 degree heat sits on its hind legs on a wood fence eating the skin of a palm seed. Our backyard is littered with hundreds of skinless seeds. Whoops, another glance, now its gone. Fast food.This pic of horse and dog is beautiful; there is a geometry there.

    • I think of that often, Sherie – how lucky we are in this country to be born where we are, for in most cases, choices are open. We can choose where we wish to be. The ability and opportunities to change our place and position in life are available. How incredibly lucky we are! So, when I hear the anger and discord to be here in this country I wonder if those same would prefer to be elsewhere, and I imagine the answer is, “no.” Though… I am aware it takes conflict to create change, and life is continual forward motion.

  3. Gin, Thanks again for wonderful thoughts. I am tired, but not wornout helping with the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum. It is a wonderful tired! I have a photo I am going to send you, and if you want to, post here, regarding the possibilites of nature and environment (one of your recent posts I have read). Also, I practice and teach about an Earthkind view of our relationship to this creation. It is promoted by Texas A&M. I especially use it for roses.

    Carolyn and I have rescued some Texas Box Turtles from streets and roads (couldn’t help many that were flattened), and we love how they live and exist in their free community on our property. Many littles “T’s) have also arrived over the years. Maggie and Peggy compete with them for attention outside.

    Your photos are just fantastic and life filling.

    Please tell those men hello.

    • Al, my apologies for being behind in responses, for I thought you often, and of Carolyn especially on Mother’s Day, and hope you all had a wonderful day together, as the picture on Facebook shows!

      Your work balancing nature, environment and community is truly inspirational, Al…and of course I would like to know more about what you are learning with the roses…

      When I was a child, before the age of seven when we moved from the cul de sac with a pond and woods at the end, I remember box turtles one year on the road, the crunch from the car tires, the saddness of seeing them there on the road, and the joy of having them in our yard under our swing set and in our sand box (well, we brought them in there to play with us for a little while). What wonderful creatures I have not had the pleasure to share my world with in so many years…

      And yes, I think your idea of meeting up with Don and Fely here this summer is a very fine one indeed. Let’s work on it!

  4. Real peace is in your self . Your mind your heart and the people around you .Being in a special place may help but that is not the answer .The answer is in you .Sometimes its just under the surface waiting to be let out .A certain moment or happening brings it out .I think you may look at other places to be but will always come back to “HOME “.All our best wishes for you and your family .

  5. My friend Beth calls me “a noticer”. Which is exactly what you are, too. You see the world with the eyes of your camera and you appreciate it by sharing it verbally in print. I love the woods and wildflowers and birds and ocean and rainbows and waterfalls and nearly all of nature; I also love the city in its diversity and bustle and history and architectural contrasts. I am grateful I can be so near both worlds, for both are part of me. Thank you for sharing your beautiful world and insights with us, Gin!

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