It’s been a VERY hectic couple of weeks for BossDad. Our largest clients at the shop have been sending in mass orders, one after another, keeping me on my toes and constantly jumping from one job to the next. Then mix in the interruptions and stresses with aligning the stars so this new building purchase can be a successful transaction; and you’ve got one wore out dude on your hands.
Not only have my weeks been filled with 10-14 hour work days, but throw in Saturdays and just the pure mental exertion involved and I feel like by the time I get home my brain has turned into mush!
Then there are moments when I am just so dang tired of making decisions!!! My wife, the sweetheart that she is, began cleaning off my desk at work the other day while I was finishing up my lunch in an attempt to help me with my tasks. I protested and asked her not to. She insisted that having a clean desk would help me get more organized and focused by working in a clean and tidy space. While I agreed, I explained I just needed a few moments of making no decisions. She responded, “I’ll ask all the questions of where things need to go, you just have to respond yes or no.” As simple as that may seem, I was at the end of my rope and the simple act of trying to process what was there and what was next would be the final straw that broke this camel’s head!!! (I know the correct saying is back, but my back was fine….it was my head that was verging on failure).
So yesterday when the orders I planned on doing got put on hold by the customer, then a plan “B” supply run fell through because the supplies weren’t ready for pickup yet, and finally plan “C” couldn’t be implemented because the supplies I needed for it weren’t ready; the mental exhaustion got the best of me and I ran away. I decided that the other jobs could wait for the morning when I would have a clear mind and a motivational recharge. This was my chance to run to the hills, reboot, relax, recharge, and renew my focus. I wasn’t able to go far. I only had about an hours’ worth of daylight left. So I hopped in Sami, my Samurai, and went for a drive up in the hills behind my home.
I’ve covered these trails many times over the last 13 years. Driving or walking, they’ve worked out my emotions in a way no trained therapist could. They have seen many stages of my life from flirtatious rides with my wife back when we were dating, to the emotional pangs and hurt from loosing a beautiful daughter only 45 minutes after she was born.
We have a good three-mile stretch of open land between our home and the tall red mesas that sit behind us. It is pretty desolate really, just sagebrush and cactus dotted with a few sparse juniper trees. But in the middle of it all is a shallow wash that cuts across the land creating a defined path that stands out among it all.
Not only have I used this many times as a destination to walk along before I head for home, I have found it to be a highway for wildlife. I’ve seen golden eagles, plenty of jack rabbits and cottontail bunnies, coyotes, deer, and, while they still allude me, I’ve seen the sign of bobcat in that wash as well.
On my way back from my drive up against the mesas I decided to stop at this wash and go for a quick walk along it. This time of year the buck mule deer are dropping their antlers and this wash has often been a good place to find those. So I hopped out, threw my back pack on my shoulders, and headed off on foot just as the mist of a rain began falling down.
As I trudged along, the wet dirt starting to pack to the bottoms of my shoes, I continued to think about all the mess I was up to my chin in. The stresses at work, the building purchase, trying to be a more present father, better husband, oh, and Sami needs the front suspension worked on as well. Then I saw it. It was a 30 foot wide clear swath that had been blazed across the land leading just up to the edge of the wash.
It took me by surprise as I stood there staring at the scar on the land. For 13 years I had spent hours and hours out here walking, exploring, and working out my issues on my own. Not another soul had I ever met out here, to the extent that it had become my land. How dare someone come out here with a tractor and cut this swath right at the edge of my wash!?!?
Then my eyes focused in on a bright orange stake that had fallen over and was laying on it’s side right at the edge of the wash. A wave of sorrow settled into my stomach as I realized that while I have enjoyed this land for 13 years…..it wasn’t mine. We only own about 5 acres right on the edge and we had been made aware that about a year ago plans to divide and sell the space behind us had been put in motion. This swath was dividing parcels of land where homes would be built and my wash would soon be someone’s back yard.
My feet fell a little harder as I tried to envision this huge open expanse dotted with homes and yards. No longer would I be able to walk and drive freely back there. No longer would I be able to look out to the mesas without homes contaminating the view. These paths that the wildlife have trod for, centuries possibly, would soon be blocked by fences and garages.
As I neared the fence line that marked where the wash flattened out and pretty well ends, the two old abandoned cars that sit there came into view. Rusted, broken, and strewn with bullet holes; those cars have been there for who knows how long. They too have been a destination for me and have often acted as a land mark as I’ve made an afternoon loop hike. And, yes, a few of the bullet holes are mine.
My face softened a bit as I viewed them fondly. Then a sudden desperation came over me as I considered what the new owners of that land might do with them. I needed to save them! They would be yanked from their homes and hauled off as if they were some sort of pest that needed to be exterminated.
To me they were unique and, well, beautiful. They added a character to the area. Not only am I a sucker for that 40’s and 50’s era vehicles, but the patina and age just fight right into the countryside.
And then there is the mystery behind them. I knelt down and pulled my camera out hoping to save them at least in an image. My mind wandered as I framed the shots: Where did they come from? What lives had they lived before they landed here? Who put the first bullet hole in them and who has added their mark since? The storms they have seen, visitors they have had both two legged and four legged, and the changes they have witnessed over their lifetimes.
It was nearing time for dinner as the landscape was darkening quickly now. My shoulders and head were wet from the rain and my shoes were heavy from the compacted wet dirt that had doubled the thickness of my tread.
As I trod along, still scanning the sides of the wash and the surrounding landscape for antler sheds, my thoughts came to rest on that last statement; change. What I was battling, not only with this land but with my life’s challenges as well, was change.
In years past January and, in particular, February have been our slowest months at work. But suddenly I am up to my eyeballs in jobs. Then there is the prospect of this new building being thrown into play and the new challenges I am facing with it. My wife and I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old taking our lives from lone souls, to friends, to lovers, to partners, and then to parents and our home that had wide open spaces around it is working towards suddenly being the entrance to a community.
There’s no way around it. Change is hard and often uncomfortable. And as I thought about it further, I realized that it doesn’t matter if it is good change or bad change; either way it requires effort. Maybe that is why we fear and fight it. The simplest path is to stay the same. But as soon as you veer to the left or to the right, there has to be some effort involved. The only difference between good change and bad change is your perspective through it all. Your perspective will effect your motivation and either ease the burden of change, or weight it.
I soon arrived back at the house and as I rolled into the drive way I spotted my beautiful little girl running towards the driveway with a coat and boots on. I opened the door of Sami and peered down at her. Her eyes were bright and her face was pure and void from any stress or concern. I asked if she wanted to go for a quick ride and she responded that she did. I hauled her up and over my lap into the passenger seat and I began to feel my stresses and concern over change start to melt away.
We headed for the “up and downs,” a small track that we have carved into our back yard with some small hills and whoops for the four wheelers to go around. Luckily Sami is skinny enough to go around the track as well.
With my left hand on the wheel and my right arm stretched across her lap, bracing her into her seat, we headed up and down, over and around the track, me emphasizing each hill with a “whao!”. I continued to glance over to her making a mock-nervous face to build the anticipation of a hill and her giving the same face back but with more of a smile.
On about the fourth lap she informed me that the real reason she came out was because Momma had asked her to come tell me that dinner was ready. So I headed back for home so we didn’t hold up dinner for too long.
By this time it was pretty much dark outside. We took off our coats and removed our shoes. J5 beat me to the table and was already in her seat as I stepped into the living room. That’s when I saw one of the most beautiful sights my eyes could behold.
The rest of the room was dark and of course the windows were dark as well. That just put more focus on the lit up dinner table with my daughter, son, and stunning wife sitting there waiting for daddy to come join them. It was beautiful to behold and I paused for a moment trying to engrave that image in my mind.
In that moment, all the changes I was experience were OK. They are signs of what the future will be. I don’t know what that future is and I think that’s what generates so much of my stress; fear of the unknown. But like I mentioned before, this family I was sitting and eating with represented change in my life. Not only change, but also a future.
20 years ago I never would have dreamed that this would be my life. That I would be here, in this town, with this career, and this family. That I would be living this lifestyle, enjoying these comforts, and building these relationships. But here I am, in the future, and I’ve gotta say that I am a blessed man.
I look around and realize that all of this is a result of change. Changes that have taken place over the past several years. Some changes I had control of and some I didn’t. But they came, they played out, and the result is before me.
Maybe change isn’t something to be feared and stressed over, but to be welcomed and accomodated.