Compromise

On Monday as I clicked “publish” for my self-absorbed post full of insecurity and self doubt, I read it is my hundredth post at my “new” blog.  Added to 471 posts published on highmountainmuse.com, and 112 on highmountainhorse.blogspot.com.  As one friend says, that’s a lot of words.

I somehow question if there should be more.  Not more words.  But… more… I don’t know what. Answers.  Like, why am I doing this?  Where is this going? What is the point?  And even as I am unable to answer these questions, I continue to… write.

More… what? Purpose, direction, results.  Something concrete.  Something to show for all the time put into it. Something more than a lot of words.

Horse people will get this part.  Cyndee writes:  “I have a tee-shirt that says ‘The Ride is the Reward’. You know, all those hours spent feeding, mucking, doctoring & worrying in exchange for the complete freedom of time in the saddle, time to just ‘be’ – always looking for those few fleeting strides of perfect unity with your horse? There is no financial reward, no ‘atta boys’, it is simply who we are. Maybe you need a tee shirt that says ‘The Write is the Reward’.”

Some days all I see are more unanswerable questions, more desire for expression, improvement, diving deeper and/or soaring to new heights… and no interest in writing less.  More, more, more!  If only that “more” would get me somewhere.  Alas, it is the journey, not the destination.  So I am often told.  So I would like to believe.  And so I will question regularly.

Questions.  Compromise.  Trying to get somewhere but we don’t always know where “there” is.  And perhaps it does not matter.  Yes, it is the journey… I tell myself again.

We start off heading in one direction.  We learn and grow along the way (hopefully) and may find ourselves somewhere far from where we thought we were headed.

There are days I wish I married a farmer instead of a mountain man.  To be grounded, on flat land, in routine.  Though just as affected by the elements.  And just as connected with nature.  But we don’t choose who we fall in love with.  I think it’s one of the few things that is really out of our control.

But a mountain mama I suppose is what I would have been called even before coming here.  Those who knew me then… running a bit wild in the woods with my baby on my back and a couple of dogs beside me; quiet mornings alone with my dairy cow, my head resting on her flank, talking in a soft and soothing voice as my hands are warmed on her generous teats; learning to horse pack at the expense of innocent children who trusted me (hey, we always made it home alive…); out there in the rain with a shovel in hand, the moisture dripping from my face equal parts internal and external elements.

Compromise.  I think of this now.  I think of this often.  We can’t have it all. What matters most?  What are we willing to work for?  What are we willing to leave behind?  For at some point, something has to be left behind.

Here and now. The compromises to be here.  Extremes, so many extremes, from the elements to the tourists to the lack of air.  Shortness of breath as a way of breathing.  Wool hats and down jackets year round.  The endless chore of firewood, bucking, splitting, hauling, burning. Thirty days frost free and leaves on the trees for but four months. Complications with altitude that kills innocent colts unexpectedly.  The inability to fatten a pig or find a way to keep a small herd of cattle or flock of sheep year round.  Parched lips and bloody noses.  Sunburn and wrinkles.  In-laws, oh those few dreaded in-laws, who choose conflict and control, meanness and manipulation as a way of life. And the void of a sense of community, which became more bittersweet a compromise to be without after having spent the winter a part of such a wonderful one.

And what do I have?  Silence.  Solitude. Wilds.  Brilliant sunshine and radiant views.  Endless miles and mountains to wander.  Peace and love for the land like I have never felt before. Connection.  Admiration.  Adoration.  Of mountain, sky, river and air.

Why here, I wonder?  Perchance like falling in love.

Why we are such reflective beasts, when all other creatures are content focusing on a good rest, sex, survival and the next meal.  Ha, you say, we do that too.  Yes, that and more.  So much more. Too much at times.  How complicated our lives are due to thought alone.

So the best I can do on days like this is put down my shovel or my fencing tool, be still, take a deep breath, and look up at the sky with the ever changing clouds more brilliant than a painting could ever capture, cradling me and my wild world, and become lost in the roar of the spring river echoing like a distant orchestra from the cliffs above the mighty Rio, and count my blessings as a flock of blackbirds swirls around me in a joyous cacophony.