Posted by: highmountainmuse | April 13, 2009

Brown waters

Brown waters rushing down the hillsides of the mountain

Brown waters rushing down the hillsides of the mountain

Yesterday the waters ran brown. Rushing, churning, flowing, cutting down the hillsides.  Taking the winter down the mountain with the violent rush.  Leaving the mountain exposed, open, fresh, and free. The mountain was brown, and it was beautiful, soft and gentle, warm and moist, pregnant with life.


My seed order had come in the mail this week and I was longing to plant. Foolish, I know, for we are still months away from our last frost date. If there ever really is one. But still, I spread the little packages out before me, like an eager child with a sack full of Halloween loot: Lettuce, chard, carrots, beets… how many of you have started these already?


I do this every year. I do this every season. So excited for the change to come.  Terribly un-zen. It’s hard to remain in the here and now when what coming right around the corner is so exciting.


Anticipation.  I’m not sure if it’s that I have had enough of winter, or if I’m just really hungering for some of those things that dry ground can bring. Like digging in the garden beds.  And riding.  With the trails still a ways to go before the snow, ice and mud clear, at least I found myself with a small arena-sized-area of dry ground around the horse corrals, and I was planning on working with Flying Crow. You can tell when a horse is excited too for learning, for getting work done, for having a job to do. I don’t doubt some horses are inherently lazy, as are some humans. Others live to accomplish, to achieve, to please.  This little stallion was looking for tricks to get my attention and prove he’s the type ready to get to work. The winter is long for the horses.

Icicles dripping off the Little Cabin above the Rio Grande

Icicles dripping off the Little Cabin above the Rio Grande

Today the heavy wet snows have returned. The garden is hidden back under its blanket of white.  I wonder if I really did see all that brown yesterday.  Or was it just a dream? The hopes of riding and playing in the dirt have been washed away for now.


Four geese flew by the window in the middle of the heaviest of the snows. And then when I was out feeding the horses, I could hear the big lot of them, far off in the unseen distance, down on the delta of the reservoir. They come here this time every year, and have their babies on the muddy flats where the coyotes can’t get them. There, they raise their families and move on all before the tourist season begins. 


We sat at the kitchen table finishing lunch in the pale light, in the muted illumination from the veil of the heavy falling snow, its pastel powder coating of soft white on everything about the mountain.  It appeared as winter all over again. We looked for little things only we would notice, that proved it was really spring, despite the wintery appearance.  Small signs to give us hope. We walked down to the river and found the greatest sign of all. The big river, the mighty Rio, open and roaring in her early spring rage.

Looking down at the open waters of the Rio Grande

Looking down at the open waters of the Rio Grande



  1. first time visit . . . your words are like poetry! i can smell the freshness of the mountain air and even feel the velvet of the horse’s nose. very zen to me.

  2. Ok Gin, you did it. I have to make my self known.
    I have kept up on your writings all winter long. Why? Because I can’t be there, every time I read one of your recipes I taste and feel the hot fire from the wood stove, wet clothes that need dryed, eyes that say I lived this day the best I could with everythng I had at hand that day and time. Life can move us all and the challenge is Stand the River. Do we jump in and go down or stand our ground. Quit or I can’t is not a word it my house and I know it is not in yours.
    O and by the way send the boys down this weekend for test and tune. Never know
    Bob might get to drive a race car.
    # 33 marv

  3. Marv, I’m really glad you wrote, that means a lot to me, thank you. I didn’t know you could write – and you write well. I agree with you, as you probably know.
    However… the idea of sending the boys off the mountain and giving Bob a chance to drive your race car? I think I might find something to keep them busy on the ranch this weekend… Geez, I’d worry! But I know I have to get over it – they’d enjoy being there.

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