Nothing of any value was done in a day. Our society is obsessed with the idea that we can have everything that we want within an instant. Often this is the justification of loans for houses or cars, and is the reason that there are predatory lenders such as the paycheck advance loans. What if we tried to go slower? What makes it impossible to enjoy the journey?
On the property here, I have a lot that will change when winter settles in. The water tanks that I’m using will have to be emptied so they do not get damaged. The vanagon will only be a slight refuge from the cold, with single paned windows and ubiquitous places for air to be exchanged with the outside. I will no longer be able to drive the vanagon to town to fill the propane, since her diesel engine doesn’t like to start in the cold, and I would also be otherwise concerned about getting her back to the top of the hill in any kind of slippery wet conditions. Pouring concrete gets more complicated, and the work day gets shorter. There is less motivation to get out of bed to step into the cold. Winter is a slowly coming crisis.
I’m not the first to enjoy this adventure. Probably many of the homesteaders who settled here in the early nineteen hundreds felt the same urgency. The natives who lived here also had to spend their autumn in preparation for winter, smoking fish, harvesting grains and squash, or otherwise securing their food sources for the winter.
Get a little done at a time, that is all you can do. I have spent much time in the winter environment, and kind of enjoy the thought of sleeping in a makeshift canvas dome complete with a wood stove. I filled the propane tank which a heater is mounted, cut up the tent I found on the side of the road to create a patchwork on the dome, bought a carbon monoxide detector, and staged my tools and generator to start making cuts once the connectors arrive(sometime between the 15th and 22nd). I spent a small portion of the week digging holes and peeling the bark off of the logs I retrieved from the forest. I started to get in a good pattern writing, but the weekend tends to interrupt it. Writing in long isolated stints seems to help me get lost in the story, much like when you sit for days on end and read a good novel (my September). I read once that introverts can often see others as a distraction; the longer I am here, the more I see the truth in that. I do not have cell phone service here, so even if someone wanted to get a hold of me it would be impossible, unless of course they just showed up.
This weekend I will be seeking out distraction: I’m headed again to shelf road. For the foreseeable future, I will be trying to get out there and climb every weekend. There is nothing like climbing to push you into the moment. Sunday I’ll load my truck down with construction materials (concrete bags, 2x4s, cinder blocks) and isolate myself again for another week in this beautiful place. I can see the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo’s off in the background, and the snow that fell there last week is fading to white couloirs and crevices. There is at least one spot that I am curious about the possibility of Ice climbing. Later this month I’ll probably make the three mile trek to see if the early freeze thaw cycles were enough to create something up there at 12,500 feet. The warm temperatures this weekend, and the disappearing snow, give me some hope.