Friday, October 20, 2006

Reflections, Retreats and Projects

After my recent sojourn, I think it is a good time to reflect on the trip. For those who have not been with me, I just completed a camping, hiking, backpacking trip through Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Arizona.

One of the things that struck me is how big and beautiful the world is. As I hiked, the wilderness seemed endless. It is amazing how much your perspective on the world changes when you are seeing it from a 2 mph pace. Suddenly there are an endless number of things to see in each mile. Things that are always there, but rarely seen. Geysers, pools, lakes, wildlife, flora, sediments, lava, unbelievable vistas…it all seems so spectacular. And yet I’ve seen only a tiny, tiny percentage of what there is to see, even in the areas I traveled through. This world really is a huge, complex place, all working together in amazing ways that we may or may not understand.

On the other hand, this world is such a small place. One of the things that struck me, is that no matter how remote the campsite seemed to be, when the quiet fell and I was in my sleeping bag, I would hear jets flying overhead. Palo Duro, Flaming Gorge, Wind River, Yellowstone, Lake Powell, El Malpais, it didn’t matter. I believe everywhere I camped, I heard jets flying overhead in the night. At first it struck me as unusual, but then I began to realize they were everpresent. The sound of jets in the night, the vapor streams in the day. This world is really such a small place, in that jets were always flying overhead despite the apparent remoteness of my location.

Speaking of location, I’m now back on my place in Temple and the interior walls phase of the retreat project is complete!!!

A bit of history…approximately 20 years ago I purchased this place in Temple. At the time it was a retirement dream, an investment diversification, insurance against catastrophe. But, some funny things happened along the way…My kids and I tried a retreat from city life on the farm. We explored the property and located a campsite on the dam of the pond. We discovered there were fish in the pond. We began to enjoy hunting with family and friends. We outgrew the tents that were our initial retreat. So, my son Jon and I began putting up a small cabin. It became not just a retreat, but a bonding and learning experience as we poured the foundations, raised the walls, added the roof, siding, electrical, plumbing, cistern and insulation over a period of several years.

As the kids left home and pursued other interests, the work stopped and visits became less frequent. The exposed insulation became a problem. A few mice moved in and a few snakes followed them ( as evidenced by the several shed skins). At first I didn’t begrudge them the home, but they were a bit too destructive, so I decided it was time to complete the interior walls. Jon helped me haul in the materials and put up the ceiling earlier this year and this week I completed the walls, while doing a bit of hunting and fishing and campfire watching along the way, of course.

With interior walls, a desk and comfy chair along with the ability to watch TV on my computer, this place is becoming a palace now!!

One last photo of my duck. He showed up on the pond one morning and spent the day fishing, right through the buzz of the Skill saw and the movement of sheeting in and out of the cabin. I've been hearing the flight of geese/ducks south for the winter, and I guess he just decided to take a little retreat from the trip.

Whoa, I didn’t intend to write a book. Enough for now. Look for my next installment as I move on next week to exploring the Texas hill country.


jonathanmmoreland said...

whoa!! i see mattresses in these pictures! i also like the rearranging that you did.

Ryan J. Mattox said...

Hey man, it looks like you are being as productive as ever! I look forward to the day when I can visit the farm and see things for myself. It looks like such a peaceful place.

I'll keep checking this blog and watch you make your way through the hill country to see Jon. I hope your travels continue to go well and that this "walk-about" yeilds great growth in your soul as we never stop growing....