Rambling

What is inner; what outer? How can I convey the utter timelessness of this place & what this conveys to me? The nourishment to my soul; the expansion of my heart as I try to encompass the environment too large for li’l ole me to assimilate…how can I relay these feelings?

I move in a kind of concert with the ground, my eyes roving over the rolling landscape. I can understand why being on horseback is the way to really see this land – the height increase, even of a few feet, lifts one over the low-growing shrubs & permits a wider angle of view of a territory so vast it can only be appreciated in increments. Much as my eyes would love to take this all in, I see it in layers & slices: I perceive a tree, a cloud train looking for all the world like an ephemera of mountains, white shadows of the peaks below so solidly holding up the horizon. I long to be walking all over it while knowing there are slants & dips & lifts & hollows which would swallow me indifferently as a leaf blown from a tree. Nothing is as important as this gravity of gravel & grit; I don’t even register as an afterthought to this landscape, after all.

Here & there the risings of land are slashed open. What seems like a small crevice is wide enough to pull a car through. The distance shrinks the measure. Close up, I revise any thoughts I had on, “That’s not so big, is it?” Indeed it is. What caused this separation in the land? Is this how whole continents pulled apart in division later magnified by water? And where is the water here? How did it figure in…or did the land simply pull itself apart, divided by time & climate?

And after I see the dizzying enormity of it all, I realize I hear nothing. At all. I feel my ears expanding into satellite dishes on either side of my head as they attempt to hear the silence. I am so unused to absence of sound. No rustling of trees, no lapping waters, no traffic noise. I will have to become accustomed to this by retraining other senses.

I will never know the answers fully for how I respond to this environment. But that won’t stop the questions either.

Hillsboro

This is my reality now: sun-filled days, whirring wings, the strange, coaxing cries of ring-neck pigeons. A tan-white cat with arctic eyes who visits, meowing, for a pet & a pat. A bedroom in pale green; a bed with a hard mattress I settle into carefully at night. Three deep sinks & water that heats up just as I’m finishing the dishes.

The ocean is above in the sky now, endlessly blue with irregular white waves of cloud. My life is organized as I want it to be, with no commitments other than what I make, no activities other than what I put myself forward to do.

I am rounder here without the regularity of the gym to help. I need a bigger commitment & heavier weights to trim off & I have not yet committed to these. One day soon, though, I will do so.

Here I am not concerned about my age anymore. I don’t fetch up four times a day telling myself I’m a septuagenarian. I don’t feel it here: the light has made me lighter of thought.

I notice things more or I notice more things. It is easier to be kind. I enjoy dressing nicely each day & I really enjoy having nice clothes to dress in. I find myself watching much that goes by, cars, people, animals. The stars seem to wink on when the sky goes black – some celestial switch is flipped. The moon carries proudly into the morning & remains visible most of the day; you just have to look for it. Today is the first day I have thought about seagulls.

History is harsh here, dusty & drowned in risen rivers. In its beginnings as a mining town, there was little enough law (and strangely, this still seems to be of minimal presence as drivers fly through at all speeds except that cited on the limit signs.) There were no rescue groups to distribute blankets & water when tragedy struck. There were raiding Apaches versus “decent” households – huts built on stolen land where the warriors did not want habitation by whites to root or grow. To them, we were the pests with our domestications & demands upon the land, with our claims to scarce water & women dressed in layers & men in hot collars & coats, the children like children everywhere, wild-eyed but brought up to obey, so conflicted (as perhaps even today) by reality & what was passing for civilization. The East imported to the West was an unfitted overlay. Adaptation to local habits was “going native” with all the negative connotations thereto. We are a mixed-match, a blended heritage, a small, tightly-knit community where everyone knows something else about who you are.

I could vacuum everyday so I learn to live with tiny leaves shaped like small dimes carried in on my sandals. Flip-flops pick up grit in the toes – a startling pain – unless I’m staying on the map-cracked sidewalk, I wear closed-toe shoes.

Perhaps the history impacts more here since I grew up at the seashore & so know that with my blood. There is a taut ethic called into survival by realism: cactus, snakes, endless & unmarked space in all directions. Yet I love it & there is a westernized me indwelling, caught up in every breeze & flicker of light dancing among the leaves.

Here I can live as though I belong. Here I can make choices not based on need, but based on a personal truth. Here I can notice what does not belong to me & set that much more aside for recycle.

I have all I need.