Bryan Lindenberger

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Seeking the Land of Enchantment

Sundays are a good day for weekly rumination and prayer, even when not particularly religious.
So I was 24 and up at Fenton Lake, NM in February. My girlfriend - very smart and quite ambitious - lived in El Paso, TX. This was my day off from that sort of long distance relationship, and I went hiking alone.
Recorded some bird calls, listened to snow fall from the pines, and quickly filled my boots with slush trying to walk across the frozen lake. My feet were cold, I laughed that I might lose a toe.
I got back to my little sports car just as snow began to fall at dusk. Rock back and forth as I might, that car wasn't going to move anywhere - digging in deeper.
Purely, inarguably, stuck.
With the smell of burning oil and rubber around me, I decided to stay the night. And the night got cold. Fast. Cold and fast as a slap across the face.
Remember thinking that there were worse places to freeze. I'd heard - sweaty as I was from shoveling - that hypothermia wasn't the worst way to go. In fact, the last thing you'd feel was sort of warmth. I liked that. I'd either see morning or experience that warmth. Foolish or not, that seemed the choice.
While I still had some battery left, I put a song on the casette tape deck. I slept for a bit, and the night fell black as pitch outside.
I woke, and simply pulled out of the space.
It must have been a Sunday.
"Someone or something watched out for me today," I thought.
Too giddy, I got lost along the drive home and didn't care. A 90 minute drive turned into hours taking weird turns around Los Alamos. There, the hum in the air puts Taos to shame.
Made it to Jemez. Chatted with an Indian at a convenience store around midnight while devouring the Lays chips he sold me. So hungry, I couldn't shovel them into my face fast enough.
Drove home to Albuquerque, got there after two, and didn't call that gal I knew in El Paso even though I'd promised, didn't listen to the messages she'd left for me. The bed was too warm, and I floated into it surprised at how hard it was to sleep.
Next thing I knew, it was late morning.
So why could I suddenly pull away from a place where I was stuck? Why had I settled into just staying in the comfort of a bad situation when exit was so simple? What was the purpose? There probably was none.
Probably just easily quantifiable and basic bullshit at work here, slush freezing to ice on the tires to take hold for that one lucky moment. Why blame God on a Sunday for physics?
But if there ever was a purpose to not freezing there, to not finding that warmth of never having to wake again, suffering fools and asking permission to turn sideways at a mundane job for which you are not suited just to keep public stock options safe most likely isn't it.
Why safe?
Who does it benefit?
What is a better way to spend your night?
Here is an image of Fenton Lake in summer.

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