Aug 27, 2014 | Random

There’s no real point to this post.

No product promotion. No security strategies; no anti-hacker rant. No philosophical prose. Something happened today, and I just want to write about it.

It is as simple as that.

Over 100 years ago, our founder, James Polk Stone, began opening several banks across eastern New Mexico. He always wanted to open a bank in Eunice, and on September 17, 2012, his grandsons and great-grandchildren will make that dream a reality.

Banking today is a substantially different enterprise (in practice, not in principle…for our bank, at least) than it was in the early years of the 20th century. I often wonder what JP Stone would think about how his bank looks and runs now. I think he would be proud of what we do and amazed at how we do it. We are all utterly reliant on technology for the execution of sound banking.

Enter me on the afternoon of August 27th. We had a problem with one of the systems at our Roswell North branch that could not be fixed remotely, so I decided to take the opportunity and get our Eunice systems online. If you’re not familiar with eastern New Mexico, Roswell is not exactly on the way to Eunice. Not even close. But, since I needed to be in Roswell anyway, I could visit our Hagerman branch on the way to Eunice: Three birds with one stone…sort of. Nothing’s easy.

The drive from Hagerman to Eunice is…how I shall put this…let’s just say there’s not a lot between the two.

Growing up in this part of the country…frankly, I hated it. Hated the yucca, the mesquite, the sage, and the sand. I couldn’t wait to leave. I was George Bailey, and this was Bedford Falls! As a teenager, I wanted to leave so badly it literally hurt. I like green grass, beaches, water, and palm trees.

We have the beach out here, just no ocean.

I was taught in grade school that Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado wrote that what is now New Mexico was “an enchanted land”. I later read that he actually used the word “bewitched” to describe it. I don’t know if either is true, but during the sand storms of my youth, I strongly suspected the latter.

That being said, I have grown to love eastern New Mexico. I love the yucca, the mesquite, the sage (still working on the love of non-beach sand…not there yet) the drive I once would have hated is now among my favorite to make.

About 30 miles or so out of Hagerman, there’s a caprock, and I am not sure why, but I decided today to stop at the top and look around. There was a small road (and I use the term loosely…it was more of two tire paths with native plants growing in between), and I took it, driving for about a mile or so, leaving the main road behind. I got out and started walking towards the precipice, gazing intently as the desert floor spread ever wider with each step. The plants gave way to stones, the stones to solid rock. I got as close to the edge as I dared, and I noticed there was a little cut in the rock where I could move down about 10 feet and get an even better view. I did so.

And that’s when it happened.

As I looked at the caprock above, behind, and beside, and at the desert floor hundreds of feet below, everything became perfectly silent and perfectly still. My phone didn’t ring. There was no warble announcing the arrival of a text message or soft chime informing me of an incoming email. I couldn’t even hear myself breathing. For a few seconds, the only thing I could hear was a slight ringing in my ears, as if they felt the need to compensate for the sudden silence. Then that, too, faded.

And all was still.

I was not thinking, I was not feeling.

I just


I heard a slight rasping and glanced around to see what caused it. I saw nothing. I heard it again, right in front of me. And then I realized: I was hearing my cigarillo burning.

The words of the psalmist came to me, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It could not have lasted more than two or three minutes, but in that moment, all was still.

In that moment, there was perfect peace.

A gentle breeze began to blow, and with it, the moment fled. I made my way back to the vehicle, and in a few minutes, the phone was ringing, texts and emails coming in, and the day resumed its normal trek…and I did not lament.

I am not going to “go hippie”, stop showering, and move to Walden Pond. I love what I do, I love where I live, and I love where I am. I am convinced that, in all of human history, this is the greatest time in which to live. We should count ourselves privileged to be a part of it!

As I said at the beginning, there’s no real reason for this post.

Perhaps that, dear reader, is the beauty of it.

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