Archive for July, 2014

Live Your Dream Now

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Fritz and Hannah making a circus out of their work!

Fritz and Hannah making a circus out of their work!

Live Your Dream Now:
Setting An Example of Striving Instead of Resigning

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Admittedly, it can prove unhealthy to stake one’s enjoyment and satisfaction on getting exactly what we want in life.  Extreme examples of this could include finding no pleasure in a meal just because it didn’t come out perfect or lacked a coveted ingredient, if we’re miserable because we can’t be a famous singer even though we can’t hold a tune, or if we go decades without a loving partner simply because none meet some glorified image we’ve turned into an unattainable standard.  It could cost us the food on our plates, to quit a boring but paying job to seek out a way to do what we love.

Far more prevalent and more insidious, however, is the human tendency to let a powerful dream die that might that have otherwise been realized… shortchanging a goal that might have been possible if only we believed sufficiently in its meaning and value, in ourselves, in the power of courageous impassioned effort and personal persistence, and in the magical alignment of circumstances that can result in the highly unlikely sometimes coming true.  Far too often, we may find our greatest and longest lived dreams being dismissed by others as frivolous, impractical or out of reach.  Judging by some of the reactions we get, you’d think that we’re supposed to be satisfied living lives that we neither dreamed of nor planned for, obeying rather than discerning and initiating, conforming in order to function as part of a machine, rationalizing our dissatisfaction, suppressing our wild desires and settling for less of what we need and desire most.

I can’t help but ache to this day, thinking about my own mother’s relentless desire to be an interior decorator, but never having the self confidence to act on it.  I hurt, sensing the longing of all those who dearly wish they were someplace else, dreaming of opportunities in New York while failing to notice the pleasurable aspects of a Springfield or Tucson, or dreaming of settling in Alaska or Hawaii instead while thinking they’re settling for the state where they’re at.  I am disquieted… by the quiet desperation of anyone who grew up hungering to be a writer or an artist, a dancer or a rodeo star and then opted for a safe career that actually holds no meaning for them.  It’s sad when the impoverished fantasize about having electricity, so they can see at night to read.  But it’s just as terrible when a person grows up wanting to live a life close to the land whether as field botanist or straw-hatted vegetable farmer, then ends up spending his or her adulthood commuting in a car, shuffling papers in an office or teaching plant curricula under a university’s flickering fluorescent lights.

What matters, is that whatever your most precious and significant dreams are, you keep them alive, doing all you can to bring them to fruition, feeding them, growing them, and most importantly living them!  And this is true whether your dream is being a teacher or a researcher, a helpful healer or world changing revolutionary, a birth-tending midwife or family-tending housewife.  Whether it involves soothing stillness or stimulating motion, traveling the wide world or leaning how to become a responsible native in a single special place.  Remaking society, or devoted to making the most wondrous meals.  It’s stultifying to slip into default mode, unquestioningly repeating old habits and patterns, meeting outside expectations without responding to inner wants, or an inner calling reflective of a larger purpose.  There is more damage is done to one’s self and kids by resentful or unenthusiastic mothering than by turning children over for adoption, and every relationship we give to is improved as a result of our making sure our dreams are acted on instead of relegated or sacrificed for their sake.  Little that’s inspired can be expected from jobs we stick with only because we were once trained for them.  Yet at the same time, even the most uninspiring source of income can be devoted to enabling and funding our desires and dreams… if only we make it so!

It’s up to each generation to help the children to identify, define, develop, and then fully live their most meaningful dreams – those that define, excite and motivate them the most.  We may not always share their hopes and aspirations, but we need to support their pursuit nonetheless.  Some youngsters may want to finish college so they can qualify for a certain enticing career, others may end up leaving the university or the high paying job because they hunger for a simpler life back on the farm or ranch.  Maybe their most fervent wish is to raise horses, work with the handicapped, or design gliders that soar effortlessly through the sky.  But whatever it is they’re reaching out for, what helps most is to see the parents and adults around them stretching at the same time.  We’re the best example for others not always when we’re doing the convenient or practical thing, but when we’re demonstrating the kind of determination it takes to really pursue a vision.  We probably all wish the young’ns we know will be able to make their dreams come true… and one of  the best ways we can help with that, is to show them that we’re fully given to our dreams, too.

Give yourself to that important cause that needs your dedication.  Don’t let any obstacles stand in the way,  push forward and watch for every opening.  If you get fired from work, it could be the opportunity to create that innovative business you always wanted to.  If they cut your hours, it’s more time to do the things you’ve so long been missing.  It can require a failed relationship, for us to insist on a more healthy one the next time.  Deep unhappiness with any aspect of our existence, can be our chance and our inspiration to change them.  Being burdened with challenge, is our opportunity to insist and continue, persevere and prevail, exceed and excel.  And it is the very difficulty and improbability of fulfilling our dreams that makes the our efforts in that direction so commendable, our results so prominent, and our satisfaction so profound.

Climb that mountain that you said you would one day.  Pick up that musical instrument you hanker for, even if it might take years to get good at it.  Move to that city you can’t stop thinking about.  Go broke if you have to, buying and sailing that dream boat.  Give your all to the difficult but purposeful task.  Do what’s required to pay for and facilitate the projects and causes you most care about.  Sign up for the important correspondence course that you’ve been afraid you don’t have enough time or talent for.  Start that business or practice, organize that demonstration, stand up against that clear and grievous wrong.  If you find yourself alone, hold out for a supportive mate.  And however you envision your purpose – and whatever you imagine might bring you contentment – remember that it’s never too late.

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A young Jesse Wolf Hardin drawn by his friend Oberon Zell Ravenheart

A young Jesse Wolf Hardin drawn by his friend Oberon Zell Ravenheart

Interview with Jesse Wolf Hardin – New Mexico Author

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Intro: For the release of my partner Wolf Hardin’s newest book, Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle, I asked our friend Becca if she would interview him about it and its creation.  The following first appeared in the locally loved Glenwood Gazette, and is excerpted  for you here.  Both this book and others of interest to rural folks, history lovers, outdoorsmen and women, can be found on the new website I made for him.  –Kiva Rose

Wolf with Sombrero-72dpi

with Catron County Author
Jesse Wolf Hardin

Interviewed by Becca McTrauchle


Q) You write about events in this area in your book about the people and the firearms of the historic West, called Old Guns & Whispering Ghosts.  Your novel The Medicine Bear takes place in Arizona’s White Mountains, the Gila forest, and Columbus, New Mexico in the early 1900s.  Now we have your collection of short stories set in this area, Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle.  You may be the most prolific writer hanging a hat in this area since Zane Grey.  What inspires this obsession?

A) The region of Southwest New Mexico and Southeast Arizona has a unique flavor all of its own.  When a person is likeably odd, standing out from the generic crowds of the day, and interesting in an exaggerated way, we might call them a “character”… well, this land here is not just the stage and backdrop to our mortal play, it is itself a character in a very similar way.  It may look like other parts of the planet, but it feels different… with a rough edged authenticity, an almost magical or spiritual ambiance, and enough hardships and inconveniences to attract only the hard headed and self-reliant.  It’s mix of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cowboy culture provides an increasingly rare example of the libertarian thinking, community spirit, and backwoods values that once characterized all the so-called Wild West.  On the other hand, this area is emblematic of rural America in general, from the love of nature and wide open spaces to the determination to do things one’s own way.  In Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle, I write about a countrified sensibility that family farmers in Maine and swamp-rooted Cajuns in Louisiana can relate to.  And for my many city dwelling readers, the Western ethos in this book can be inspiration to live a more authentic, adventurous, enjoyable, honorable, purpose-driven, and even heroic life.


Q) What caused you to settle here, and how long ago?

A) I moved here from Taos in 1979.  It’s been nearly 4 decades now, since I was vehicle-less and having to walk the 10 miles to Jakes’s Grocery for supplies.  That’s over two-thirds of my life, enough time to be tempered, and tested, and time for the place to help sculpt me into what I am today.  I arrived with a passionate love for the land, and over the decades I came to find many of the same qualities in its people.  Whenever I celebrate wild animals, un-dammed rivers or western history, I am also celebrating every man or woman today who dares to be different, refuses to be bottled up and controlled, and stands up for what they believe is right.

Nothing I Can Do-72dpi

Q) You write for a lot of different audiences it seems.

A) I want to reach and affect as many kinds of people as possible, and one does that by relating to folks through the ways that we share in common, and in the ways that each best understands.  Important concepts like awareness, critical thinking, healthy wildness, our liberty, and taking personal responsibility can all be expressed in the language of gardening or in terms of balanced ecosystems, in the metaphors of attentive down-home cooking or using the example of riding a rodeo bull, good parenting or resisting a government’s injustices.  For another thing, I am a complex person, and I’m not fairly represented unless I express my loving father, sensitive cook, and inner wrangler sides… as well as my commitments to land conservation, and my determined resistance to onerous government regulations and invasion of our privacy in the name of security

Of everything I’ve ever written, Pancho’s comes closest to me talking off the cuff, showing all sides of myself and all sides of the issues, uncensored, unguarded, and unrestrained.  This is the “Straight Shot,” to quote the title of my first Catron County newspaper column.  It hopefully features enough focus on sentiment, beauty and enchantment to make some crusty ol’ boys squirm, while equally discomforting any “politically correct” readers by my making fun of a trippy New Age visitor and extolling the logic of the .50 caliber rifle.  Many of my friends and fellow residents consider this a simple case of telling it like it is, while my detractors at least have to concede that I am an equal opportunity offender!

Agree or not, we always look each other in the eye and speak our minds out here in the country.

Agree or not, we always look each other in the eye and speak our minds out here in the country.

Q) There’s 107 stories in Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle, about everything from the democratic system to Elfego Baca’s shootout, the wisdom of onetime local character Sammy Giron, and heirloom treadle sewing machines and the important mending of our lives and our communities.  That’s quite a range of topics.  So tell us how you decided on the title you did.  Pancho really had a motorcycle?

A) The cover photograph shows Villa admiring a bike that he was being shown for the first time.  While most comfortable astride a spirited horse, this famous revolutionary and ex-bandit was quick to accept the offer to take it for a spin.  History does not tell us if he dumped it or not, though he certainly fell hard when he was ambushed and assassinated in his touring car not very many years later.  Curiously enough, it was an Indian brand motorcycle, an interesting fact given Pancho’s Native American ancestry, and his raiders use of bows and arrows against the machine guns of the U.S. army when, in 1916, he ordered the first military invasion of this country since the War of 1812.

Pancho Villa's Motorcycle Front Cover-72dpi

I think that this iconic cover photo evokes the twists in this region’s poignant history, the clash between technology and land-based lifestyles, between modernity and the old ways, between the fear and lies of our age and an ageless, honest, free, courageous, and plumb-enjoyable way of being.

As a personal aside, I can tell you that I owned some kind of motorcycle from the time I was 12 and riding a Tote-Gote mini-bike, including Harleys and a 1946 Indian Chief during my biker outlaw phase… symbols and tools of my independence.  And yet I gladly sold my final motorcycle, a classic Triumph Bonneville 650, to my friend Tuffy Jones who co-managed Uncle Bill’s Bar in the village of Reserve… anything in order to make the semi-annual payments and hold on to my treasured home.

Q) What else is on the plate for you?

A) I have two more books coming out in the next year, first The Healing Terrain about sense of place, the importance of home, connecting to the land, gardening medicinal herbs, gathering wild foods and so on.  And the second being Lawmen of The Old West Unmasked, exposing the real lives of some famous badge wearers like Billy The Kid’s murderer Pat Garrett, and Wyatt Earp, the con artist known in his day as the “fighting pimp.”… while bringing to light the deeds of some lesser known but truly admirable and heroic lawdogs including local characters Arizona’s Bucky O’Neil and Ranger Burt Mossman, and Reserve’s own icon of oversized huevos, Elfego Baca.  Then maybe a book on the traveling Medicine Shows that provided health care and entertainment to the rural people of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  And I’ll continue coediting Plant Healer Magazine, providing information on healthy herbs of all kinds and breaking our dependence on federal health care and often harmful pharmaceuticals.  Herbalists have a few things in common with the finest of frontier men and women, in keeping tradition alive, and in taking risks to do good.

Q) Last question: I see that the illustrations for Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle include some of your drawings, photographs of old time Western movie actors, images of the region’s varied landscapes, and even a photo of the Men’s Room door of Uncle Bill’s Bar with its wonderful painting of a cowboy and his horse stopping to relieve themselves at the edge of the trail.  Is there maybe some consistent theme that you planned?

A) You gotta be kidding! (smiles)

Q) OK, good enough! Thank you much!

Pancho Villa's Motorcycle by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle by Jesse Wolf Hardin


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Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle:  Wild West Sentiment, Backwoods Humor, & Outlaw Wisdom For a World Gone Astray

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