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!)