Good Moooorrrrrning, Viet Nam!!!! It’s the sage of the brush, comin’ at ya with
another barrage of bombastic buffoonery, designed to wrap your brain around your
computer about 3 times and send you spinning out of the house and into the great
outdoors where we all should be in the first place!!
Yes, a most necessary sabbatical has taken place, done its good and healing work
and now it’s time to begin considering, once again, life, art and the great outdoors.
We here at the Sagebrush Chronicles (B & I) have lost B’s sister, Karen; a dear friend in
Atlanta, Tom Wells; watched and waited while another dear friend, jtb, fought prostate
cancer and survived two unrelated surgeries and is now on the mend and in fine spirits.
So has this winter of our discontent sharpened our awareness of our mortality?
Oh yeah. And have we once again discovered the importance of living, and appreciating,
our every day here?? Sure. It’s a fairly natural result of difficulty and loss. And for those
of us who are slipping into our 70’s, or are slipping precariously close to them, it
becomes easier, every day, to appreciate wherever we are in this life, whatever our
condition may be… it becomes a pretty sweet old life after all, when one considers the alternative.
Remembering to taste and enjoy each of our moments is easy for a time, but then we
once again begin taking our daily lives for granted and slip back into our old patterns
of deserving happiness, having to create fun things, and dreading the doing of the little
irritating but necessary chores that keep our daily lives moving. And that’s why some
people meditate. It re-focuses them on what’s really important, every single day. It
reminds them to appreciate what they have, rather than to grouse around about what
they don’t have and what they wish they had. When we need to remember, re-focus and
appreciate how very sweet most of our lives are, meditation is a great tool. ‘Course we could do what the cave people did for millions of years… hit each other up ‘side the head and grunt something like, “Hey! Appreciate me!! Don’t be takin’ me (or life) for granted or I’ll hit ya one harder than that… and you know that I can…”
I confess that it’s difficult to take daily life for granted in SW Montana. Up here in the
sage and pine, life seems brighter, bolder, more real, more in-your-face. The proximity
to basic survival holds a good portion of that. The stark power and beauty of this
particular part of the earth also holds a good portion. And of course the more subtle
features do their part… like the seemingly simple event of a little afternoon rainstorm.
First a breeze comes up, the air cools noticeably and we hear thunder in the distance. We can see the rain and lightning usually at least 30 minutes before it actually hits. And whether it rains five minutes or an hour, as soon as the rain blows over it begins clearing, and soon warming again.And the best of all,.. the smell of the air after the rain, a delicious bouquet of wet pine, sage, wild grasses and wild flowers. Oh, it’s heavenly… would that I could bottle it.
And there’s more up here… more than I can tell… about the crackle of a warming
fire of a winter’s eve, those crisp, clear blue-sky days when the snow sparkles in the air
and you can see your breath 5 feet above your head…. hmm. After a long winter, that visual doesn’t really do it for me right now. Anyway, warm Spring mornings when the Meadow Lark’s song floats through the open front door… ahh, that’s more like it… and the spirit once again yearns to wander the hills and the creek beds above. It’s hard not to feel really alive here, to taste and appreciate every day. And, every day, to awake and enjoy coffee with a loved one… now that, perhaps above all things, is enough to send me into total appreciation mode for at least the morning. I usually let Montana take care of the rest of the day. And, up ’til now, it has served me well.
Guess I’d have to say that if you like where you live, and you like whom you love, and you haven’t lost a loved one lately and are taking your daily life for granted… then do what I do. Do I mean meditate? Nah. Hit yourself one up ‘side the head and grunt, “Hey! Appreciate me!!” Don’t do it in public, though. Folks tend to stare….