On Christmas Day a winter storm warning went up for the high country outside Santa Fe, one territory of my dreaming. It cautioned that feet of snow could fall in the mountains. Here, the jungle-squish of this dreadful, cloud drenched landscape, its unnatural fogs and muck, the dense air, the certainty of gooze — after these wounded twelve months, a time of the despicable-stupid and the murderous, this weather only pushes the disgust deeper as if the wretched air were a last expression of the year. It is hard to see clearly. War and the rumors of war are thick, and Matthew’s advice aside, I am troubled, as are many. The clean burn of snow and cold to clear the skies might have given respite to something deep inside myself too — the ticking, subdued anger, the uneasiness. Yet, by stubborn habit, New Year’s Day is a good time to push back upon the past.
Santa Fe Snow
Anymore, weighty philosophy feels out of place. It seems essential to keep moving ahead toward durable effects — those which can be measured with eye, hand, ear, heart, and strong legs — to walk into the future, always that direction, and to look outward to others and nature: what is going on? what surprises rose up today?
Simple reminders continue to be best: keep thankful for family, friends, children (those best couriers of hope), birds, dogs, books, work, my understanding wife. Auden knew that we cannot resist looking after our own, luminous, strange beloved:
Now north and south and east and west
Those I love lie down to rest;
The moon looks on them all,
The healers and the brilliant talkers,
The eccentrics and the silent walkers,
The dumpy and the tall.
In spite of all the hideous news of 2015, this world is the best place. I know too that I was born lucky to have lived in this uncommon era of history when my neighbors and I did not have to think about invaders approaching with fire to burn us out, nor has the most grotesque evil triumphed. We are all pretty screwed up, but for many of us the morning still arrives with coffee and hot food and a light promised to us at the end of the day. Not bad.
Our road runs east to west, and from its high point three ridges run off to the north. Each succeeds the next, sliding into place so that one can see all of them at once. They appear blue or drift out of mist, but have been perfect points of beckoning for as long as we have lived here. I have looked at those ridges in all the buffeting weathers, in every season, at every hour. I never tire of them. The dogs will sit patiently for a minute but no more. They look at me and I say ok and they tug. They want to move. They have places to go. The air is filled with scent. It is all in flux. Who knows what might happen?