An Awareness of the Seasons, Being Connected to the Land
I remember whole years during my corporate life when I would go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. Seasons were meaningless to me then. Now I live intimately within them, my days affected by their changing. I wake with the sun and often curl into a quiet night with its setting. So my days are shorter in winter and longer in summer. I feel somehow more a part of the land because of this, more connected, even, to my fellow man.
Right now fall is giving way to winter. I am doing wood chores and enjoying snow days. I have fallen in love with my wood heater again, amazed that when nighttime temps drop to 17, my home stays snug and warm. Winter birds have replaced the others and our gardens are lying fallow, covered with thick heaps of protective compost.
There is something particularly beautiful about the night sky in winter. Always diamond-studded, in this late season, it is somehow even more dazzling, crisper, clearer. Perhaps I am more aware of the earth spinning on its axis, its slight tilt away from the sun. Like ancient man, before there was fire, I am intensely aware of the change of seasons.
I step out onto my land in the still darkness of night, snow crunching under my boots, the only sound. My breath freezes in frigid air and I FEEL the altitude up here on this high range. In these moments I am embraced by something ancient. I stand as the Spanish colonists did before me, and the old ones before them. And I marvel at this life I am privileged to live, a life that graces me with an awareness of the seasons—and the time to appreciate them.
I’m hoping the elk will return this winter. When the snow gets too deep, high on the mountain where they usually live, they come down and visit me, here on my land. They took my breath away that first winter: dark silhouettes against moonlit snow—equally so when there was no moon at all, under cover of darkness, only the sound of their hoofs breaking through crusted snow giving them away.
I live this country life because I am no longer tied to a corporate job, doing the kind of work that would hold me to a city. I am a working artist and I can create anywhere, especially here in the mountains of northern New Mexico that suit me so well. Perhaps it is my own version of coming back to the land, although I’m no farmer, that has me so keenly aware of the seasons. And it is this same land, and the life I live upon it, that informs my work.
Love to you all,