On a trip up north with Diedre on Wednesday, we spent much of the day running around town getting the things we can't easily get down in SpringTowne. As we drove and foraged, we talked about our life and ways.
The days was hot and somewhat sticky, and the 'Runner afforded not much but a stiff breeze and shade to its occupants. I often wonder what my goal is in riding around in my old steed, an '86 Toyota, and at those times, I usually formulate a slightly different philosophy.
Yesterday, I ran across a thin volume of journal entries and photos by a long-gone desert man named Jack Watson. He worked the country out west of Delta, Utah, running sheep and cattle up and down the mountains and desert in that area. Some of the places are familiar to me, and most of the emotions he expressed are, too.
The photos of him, his visitors and family often include now horses and ancient vehicles with their owners outside of his buildings and homes. Those animals and autos were extensions of their arms and legs, enabling them to do more and go further than otherwise possible. The faces in the photos beam with pride or some sort of self-affirming knowledge, and though whatever they were thinking at the time is forever lost to the viewer, the wisdom of those people is still available to us through their writing, their stories, and to the extent that we attempt to live a good life, in our own minds and hearts.
My old 4Runner is my horse and tool; she takes me far and wide and enables me to see much more of the world than I'd be able to otherwise. But as I speed down and contemplate the possibility of not being able to go to Yellowstone or Notch Peak as often, or even not at all, I feel different emotions. I relish the opportunity to know my own land and family better, but I still fear the change that might wrest me from my long-standing moorings.
Jack's kin still returns to the places he knew from time to time, though they aren't able to or don't want to live as he did. I hope to continue to do so, too. All told, I'm glad to have the old 'Runner with no air conditioning, no payments and that gives reasonable mileage, enabling me to head out from time to time from where I live. I'll keep ruminating about why I do all this and how much good it does, for sure, but I'll also try to refrain from taking myself so seriously that I forget to just enjoy life.
That's the really hard part, at times. That refraining.