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Too Much Fun?

Hiking westward upslope toward Gascon Point reveals unobstructed views to the east over Morphy Lake and an exposed laccolith dome called the Turkey Mountains marking the far horizon. Beyond that, rolling plains and mesa lands stretch toward canyons of the Canadian River, and beyond that, more rolling grasslands across the Texas panhandle into Oklahoma. Sweeping my gaze from right to left, memories of all the places I've lived out there from Oklahoma to the Texas and Louisiana gulf coasts, then to west Texas and the southern end of the Great Lakes, flying around the globe to live near the Caspian Sea for a while and returning to eventually spend a year on the front range of the Rockies before finally landing here fill my mind's eye. A hell of a journey evoking memories of lesser journeys nearby.

Hitchhiking across the expanse eastward from Oklahoma several decades ago, a rancher picked me up near the Turkey Mountains. Driving west toward these mountains I now live near, we talked and he spoke of the insanity that drove him to leave a career in the city for life on the grasslands. I asked him why he considered it insane to make the move. He gave me a funny look then shook his head and grinned, saying "Because I enjoy it too much."

That statement puzzled me until I finally moved out here and began living apart from the maddening cacophony and toxicity of city life, and unreasonable expectations foisted upon us all by society. I knew immediately this was where I wanted to live out my days and die. But memory of the ride with the rancher triggered a small voice in my mind insistently whispering "Careful. You're going to enjoy it too much," and I worried at first about doing exactly that.

Now, two decades after purchasing this patch of land at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness and fifteen years living on it full time without enjoyment diminishing one little bit, I no longer worry about it being too much fun, which leads me to suspect society's cruel conditioning to avoid enjoyment of life at all cost is wearing off at last.

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