If you guessed my stuff would be in New Mexico today, I’m happy to say you were wrong! There were two surprises when I woke up: my gear was all still here, and there was an inch of snow on the ground. The night was alternately blustery and calm. And cold. The day remained cool and cloudy, overcast giving way to white fluffies, and then in the mid afternoon the sky cleared, and it was a lovely calm afternoon and evening.
Mostly today I worked on a proofreading job, in the back of the truck, which is surprisingly comfortable to do. Between chapters I took a break to dig a fertility hole (which is where I also pee and poop!) and a cooking hole (bean hole). In both places, I found about six inches of dry loam and then hard red clay. This red clay infiltrates very slowly. Good to know. I also walked the land again, this time looking for and photographing the plants and animals. This grass is everywhere. The heads are like little white sets of eyelashes.
And this is everywhere, too. I haven’t identified it yet.
Here’s a representative yucca – there are only a few:
And a cactus – staghorn cholla? I saw one with yellow fruit.
They don’t look very happy, do they? But there’s this, which is fairly common and seems to be healthy. It appears to be leguminous. Only a few were flowering.
And there’s this scattered all over:
It looks like lichen! Similarly, scattered all over, are small, polished stones like these – all different kinds of stone. It’s as if a treasure chest had been spilled.
Among them is petrified wood (I’m located a little ways east of the Petrified Forest):
As for fauna … not much in evidence. I saw a hawk, with white wings, early in the day. The only living thing I saw was this butterfly or moth, which seemed to like the fertility hole:
There was a bug, but it was dead.
And I heard coyotes and a crow, but they were far away. There are even these ant circles, but no ants!
When the proofreading was done for the day, I made a bunyip! I’ll post photos soon. When I siphoned the green water into the tube (60 feet worth) – it made me giggle. It was like those loop-the-loop straws we had when we were kids. Only bigger. Got started flagging contours. Here is the orchard – can you see it?
It will be easier to make out in a few years. The trees are so small now, the whole orchard fits inside my head. Then it was sunset, time to make supper, tidy my house, and reflect on the day. Good night, sun.
Since I’ve been here (about 30 hours now), I’ve been so giddy and busy, and probably in some fear about what this all means and whether I’m up to it, and some guilt about leaving my previous situation, that I’ve hardly stopped to absorb what’s happening and to do what I really came here to do – to feel and pray and grow closer to God. I feel I have been doing one aspect of these spiritual purposes already – learning about myself. When I am with people, I’m constantly in a state of wanting to please and get along, set myself aside, agree, not make waves, get along, win praise and approval.
Here, alone, I don’t feel any of that. Here, I feel like a better person – truthful, playful, clearer. I have a lot to learn. I hope that by being alone here and learning what it’s like to be this way, when I go into society I will take this selfhood with me. This evening between sunset and going-in time, I sat on my sitting rock and just felt what I’ve been feeling since I left Reevis: relieved and restful and confident. This is the most beautiful place in the world to me. My prayer is that my time here will bring me closer to God, that my work here will serve somehow. As always, I pray that I will be led toward God’s Truth and Love and that I will be humble enough to follow.