Today a tin cup sky hangs heavy over the mountain, leaden and weighty and every shade of grey, pouring forth its burden of rain and hail. In the high country, I imagine this would be snow. But me, I am safe and warm. I sit by the woodstove, with my husband at my side and dog by my feet. I am home.
Sometimes, just sometimes, we make rash decisions… and they prove to be good ones.
Yesterday afternoon I sat by the camp I had just set up, with my horses grazing on lush tall grass nearby. It was a camp I had been to many times, only a few hours into the Wilderness from home. The adventure was over. The challenge, the newness, the unexpected was over. It was, almost, comfortable.
The panniers were unloaded, tent set up, firewood gathered. I sat on a log by the little fire pit and was getting ready to start a small flame. It was early still, about a quarter to four. This is the time I had arrived at a camp site the past two evenings after a long day on the trail, still awaiting the work of tending the horses and setting camp in a new location, a new home for the night for me and my two four legged companions. Ah… so now I had a long evening of free time ahead of me. Vacation? That’s not why I was there. Adventure. A challenge. To prove to myself I could do it. To push myself and find what matters most to me.
Free time is not what matters most.
My husband? Yes. A partner who allows and supports one to bloom and grow and at times fly free only to welcome your return with open arms.
My son? Oh yes! And Forrest was to be heading out to hunting camp before my scheduled return. A last minute decision, a chance to work for a friend and outfitter, Forrest was pleased with the opportunity, but displeased with the timing that he’d have to head out without a chance to see me first… This complication meant that with my planned Thursday return home, Friday I’d have saddle up and ride horseback another five hours out to hunting camp and back just for a brief occasion to see my son. Of course I would do it, but there’s work to do on the ranch… another day off?
So what is important to me? My boys. My animals. Nature. Wild things. My independence. And finding the balance that works best to juggle it all. Making compromises at times and being willing to push myself beyond my comfort level at other times in order to best achieve this precarious balance. It doesn’t always work. But I have to try. And so… this leads me to that part about rash decisions…
As I sat there staring far away into the still unlit fire, I decided to pack it all up and hit the trail home. If I took down camp, packed back up, resaddled, rode fast enough along the nine miles of Wilderness trail, and if all actually went well, I’d be home before it was pitch black.
And so it was. With just a little light left in the sky, me and my horses crossed the mighty Rio Grande, climbed back up the bluff on our ranch and returned home.
My boys were reminded of how important they are to me. My dog was relieved to have me back by his side (May I add here that, for me, camping without a canine companion is just not right!). My horses were grateful to be back on their home turf with their herd. And me, well, I had my adventure. I learned what I needed to learn. I saw such beauty (I can’t wait to share a part of that with you next). And I got the feeling, or perhaps the reminder, that we really can do almost anything we want. We are strong in body and mind. We learn to move ourselves forward with whatever we have, what ever our strengths and overcome weaknesses may be. We may get tired and sore, but we can push ourselves and get there. Where ever “there” may be. Even if its home…
Most important, I suppose, in this short but rather special solo journey, I reminded myself of something that’s always been essential to me: I don’t want a list. I want a life.