Sunday, November 25, 2012

Slowing Down: Thanksgiving at Freedom Ridge


I blinked, and Thanksgiving has come and gone, special baking done, leftovers packed and sent back to school with the Catron Kid, and quiet has now descended on Freedom Ridge Ranch.

Last I looked, it was September, and the High Holy Days just finished. We were looking forward to Sukkot, and suddenly we are on Standard Time, the leaves have fallen, the Sukkah is long down and the days are alarmingly short. How did the fall days get away from me?

The election, that’s how. From the day after Yom Kippur until election day, I was caught up by the needs of the Gary Johnson Campaign. As the New Mexico State Director for Gary Johnson 2012, I felt as if I was swept away for the month of October, with the High Holidays serving as the deep breath before the final lap. The rest of the week of the election was spent in Albuquerque, too, doing the post-mortem on the campaign with senior campaign officials, and the Libertarian Party of New Mexico, along with spending time with my new primary dissertation advisor, getting myself primed for The Next Big Thing.

I intend to write about the last weeks of the campaign—I really do!—but I need to let it all settle. It was exciting, maddening and exhausting. I learned so much, and I need to let it all settle before I decide which lessons are lasting.

I arrive home on Veteran’s Day, and by the following Thursday—Rosh Chodesh Kislev, for I seem to have missed Cheshvan entirely!—we were in Show Low, the Engineering Geek and I, shopping for Thanksgiving. On Friday morning, I began my baking, and then after a weekend adjusting to not needing to be glued to the computer, it was Elisheva’s All Kitchen, All the Time Station right up through Thursday. After several months of neglecting my family in order to be mom to various and sundry Gary Johnson volunteers, I felt the need to s-l-o-w down and bake and cook, and bake  and cook some more. We also deserved some time to talk, to study, to do a slow dance in the kitchen to a Hank William’s Jr. tune, and read to one another in bed in the morning until the sun comes over the mesa. So I cooked for five days of leftovers, and made everything from scratch: from crescent rolls to pumpkin pie. (I made my own filling for those from the pie pumpkins we grew in the garden).

The weather has been wonderful. Short, late fall days of sunshine with those heartbreaker turquoise blue New Mexican skies, that fade into deep blue as the sun goes behind the mesas by four in the afternoon. Afternoons at 60 degrees are followed by cold, star-filled nights that cry out for a fire.

Since he had a late class on Wednesday in Albuquerque, the Catron Kid had driven down early on Thursday morning, and rode El Chapo in the early afternoon, when I chased everyone out of the kitchen—everyone, including dogs and cats.We ate our Thanksgiving dinner as the sun slipped behind Power Line Mesa, slowly and with great attention to the goodness of our fortunes. Elections, war, and scandal notwithstanding, our little family is truly blessed and we know it.

After dinner, we settled down to watch Monumental, Kirk Cameron’s film about the Pilgrims. We were reminded that  this election and the challenges it will bring to our freedom are grave difficulties, the door seemed to be slammed repeatedly on the Pilgrims, they did not give up, cry foul or fall into despair. They persisted in believing in their 500 year plan. And since we have a bit more than 100 years to go on that, we should be strong and resolute as were they.

Friday, the Engineering Geek and I took an afternoon’s lazy drive up into the mountains behind the Little Colorado over in Arizona. We worked our way up into the caldera that holds Crescent Lake, and then descended again along a Forest Service Road into Greer, enjoying the bikers and trail riders of that mountain resort town, while we talked of the future plans for Freedom Ridge and hopes and dreams and half-baked ideas that may shape the days to come.

Yesterday, we took a Shabbat walk with the dogs and our walking sticks in hand, we climbed to the top of Freedom Ridge, our mesa to the east and marveled at the view of the Red Hill and its attendant volcanics, and the San Francisco Mountains to the southeast.

And today, Sunday, I ironed shirts for the EG and the Catron Kid; I packed him up some quart-sized zipper bags of turkey and the trimmings and holiday eggnog to take back with him to his little apartment in Albuquerque. I watched as he drove away, straining to see the movement of the white car against the dark volcanic pressure ridge extending from the Red Hill as he turned onto the county road two miles away. Thanksgiving 2012 is a wrap, but in two weeks he will be home again for the long winter break, just in time for Hanukkah.

I have some work to do to get my Comprehensive Exams back on track because of all the changes in my committee since EN, my original advisor, retired. We have chores to complete while the weather holds, here at Freedom Ridge Ranch. And our renters at the Los Pecos House decided to relocate to warmer climes, and so we have our contract with them to conclude and the house is on the market once again—for sale or rent. There’s lots to do, as always. But nothing that requires the kind of immediate response and dedicated time that managing even a small campaign team requires.

DSC01090 Although it does look like I am being tapped as an alternate for the Libertarian National Committee . . . but more on that after we watch the sun drop down behind Power Line Mesa, and after we feed the animals and gather any eggs laid since this morning by our fine-feathered hens and after we feed the dogs, enjoy a turkey dinner and a glass of wine together, here on Freedom Ridge Ranch. Where the mountains are high and the tumult is far away . . .