Taos (New Mexico) is “an art colony, a world-class ski resort and a place of convergence – of culture, of opposites, of like minds and new perspectives”, according to visittaos.org.
It’s so true. I’m reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago when we stopped by the Taos Pueblo Farmers Market. It was winter, yet fresh tomatoes and other vegetables were available. That led to a presentation more than a conversation, about the importance of natural resource smarts in this place of traditional scarcity.
The point was that all three cultures that make up the history and presence in this place – Native American, Spanish, and Anglo – all have lived by the imperative to be prudent in the use of land and water.
This is heritage convergence.
I’ve seen convergence in housing as well. What we would consider traditional (sometimes with a difference in materials – like adobe construction); Earthships, Pueblos found on Native America reservations.
A visit to Taos Pueblo a few years ago was so interesting, even in light of restrictions imposed about where we could walk and if we could take photographs.
I’ve stayed in an Earthship.
Here’s Dobson House, perched atop a mesa.
Much of the structure is built underground and power is provided by solar panels. We stayed here for a number of years. In the end it was a bit too much off the grid and one two many times of being unable to leave because of impassable roads due to snow.
We returned to more traditional lodging in an adobe casa, where we’ve stayed for at least a decade.
There’s a convergence of faith traditions. I suppose you’ll find this most anywhere, but it feels personal here.
I experienced what I call a “drum wash” several years ago. It was intense, and I have to say the extreme pain I had somewhere in my body (I can’t recall just where it was), disappeared. Perhaps I should see if I can find the drum woman again.
As my flight descends to Albuquerque, I see convergence of land-marks.
I’m soon to set off to experience this place of convergence.
So I received a water buffalo a few days ago. It’s true.
My St. James Parish bought a water buffalo through Heifer International in my honor. I had served on the Vestry of St. James Episcopal Church for three years, and as Sr. Warden of the Vestry for the past twelve months, and I received this during the Annual Parish Meeting.
Seriously, a water buffalo.
There’s such a good story about Shonavan Khutun, a participant of Heifer’s Nepal program, whose life went from utter despair to genuine prosperity after receiving a water buffalo and extensive training from Heifer.
She was living with her parents in rural Bangladesh in 2013, when she was 23. She was rarely allowed to leave her own house, and her economic prospects were bleak. But all of that changed with a gift from Heifer.
With Heifer’s support, Shonavan was able to buy a water buffalo, which she rented out to neighbors for draft power. With each new season, she built her profits and today owns four animals.
When I read her story, I hear: Tenacity. Ingenuity. Teamwork. Faith. Promise.
Anyway, our Priest in Charge, Doris+, believing there are similarities in tenacity, strength, and teamwork – and of course, faith – between Shonavan and myself, purchased the gift of a water buffalo in honor of my Sr. Warden ministry at St. James.
This feels like high praise for me. A note from Doris+ noted, “You persevered as a faithful servant with joy in pain and vision in confusion” (a reference to my car accident). I’m grateful for these words, and for this gift.
I visited the Heifer website to learn more about the gift of a water buffalo. Check this out:
The benefits of owning a water buffalo.
What this gift provides.
Increased crop yield. Milk. Nutrition. Steady, dependable income. Education and training. Community sustainability. Fertilizer. Self-reliance.
Oh. I also received a tiara.
Now I turn toward other ways to serve St. James. I have some ideas, and I expect more to be revealed. After all, I have a water buffalo and could travel.
I love coming to Houston for the ways in which I am fed.
At the top of the list is being with my best friend. There is nourishment in reunion and familiarity. In laughter and in tears. In understanding my hard walk and offering a hand.
And then there’s Tex-Mex food. Gosh I miss good Tex-Mex food. So while I’m here, that’s my food of choice.
After I arrived we drove straight to La Lucha restaurant where a great feast was enjoyed.
A short stop at home and soon it was time for church. At “my” church, at least what was my church when I left Houston. Christ Church Cathedral.
We were there for the 5pm Celtic Holy Eucharist service.
Welcome to this holy place.
Friend and stranger, saint and sinner, all who gather here.
Worship was exquisite.
Sufficient nourishment for one day. Followed by much needed rest. I thought I could soar, but found out I’m only ready for short practice flights.
The next morning it was time to begin again. We began the day at Slowpokes, a sloth and snail-themed coffee shop. Perfect for me.
Yes, even the bathroom carried the theme.
Next up were spa pedicures. So many choices!
Then off to see Knives Out. It was enormously entertaining – all the while reclining on heated stadium chairs.
Then off for more Tex-Mex dining at Superica.
Oh my, it was fabulous!
A bit of shopping in a favorite store, and I was done in all over again.
Happily exhausted once again.
Today it was back to Slowpokes.
and then to The Color Factory.
This was a hands-on color adventure and activity, audience participation, and goody-filled fun!
This afternoon an attempt was made to figure out how to light the gas-fired fireplace in the living room. We watched YouTube how-to over and over. And over and over we heard “if you smell gas get out of the house. Don’t use your telephones. Get outside and ask someone to call the fire department.” Yikes!
I was the most spooked, but remained nearby offering frequent suggestions of whom we might call
In the end, clearer heads prevailed and we went outside to have a gas-free, wood-burning fire, in the fire pit. A lot more soothing and safer.
Tonight – Texas tradition – black eyed peas for luck. And ribs because we love ribs!! So good!
Today I’m at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. I’m experiencing another milestone as I travel wheelchair-assist free!
Evan helped me navigate bag drop-off in order to check my bag. From there I was on my own.
Pulling my small onboard bag, I walked off into wheelchair-free travel.
I was soon aware of the need for me to be vigilant. Super vigilant. No one is paying heed to me, to my tenuous uprightness. I find freezing in place with arms ready to flail and vocal chords at the ready to give a shout-out is good preparedness.
I navigated one elevator, then switched to escalators and trains. And walking. Lots of steps today.
I’m so aware of my new ability. My new reality this day.
It felt unfamiliar to walk and ride, moving about as I wished. However it soon became familiar.
I’m so grateful. I have prayed for healing. I know others have prayed on my behalf. I know there is still healing to be had. But right now is right now.
I’m in my chair; soon to be my chair in the sky.
A big part of my growing-up years was fly fishing. When my sister, brother and I reached grade school age, we were schooled in fishing by our parents.
At first we used a worm on a hook, strung on a fancy bamboo fishing rod. This was a relatively easy way to learn to fish. It was exciting to catch a fish. and it brought a certain amount of satisfaction, along with praise from our parents who both had a passion for fishing. Fly fishing to be exact.
This is my dad.
The goal, of course, was for the kids to move on from being “wormers” – yes, that is a real term, to becoming polished fly fishing persons. If you ever reverted to fishing with a worm, it was a moment of real shame. The reverse was pride in one’s self and membership in the elite family of fly fishing.
Well yes, this was a long time ago.
There was real joy in this pastime. It required skill, which often brought success. It was solitary, as the protocol for fly fishing was to go solo. At the end of the day it was great fun to gather and show off the “catch”. And then fry them up for dinner!
While I don’t fish anymore, part of my identity remains that of a fly fishing woman. I became quite adept at doing battle with the wily adversary. My fishing vest – complete with flies still attached to the sheepskin – still hangs in my closet.
A few years ago, a new vanity license plate that supports the organization Trout Unlimited was issued. I got myself to the DMV soon after. To add a bit of sweetness to this act, it turned out the license design was done by a local artist. I drove straight from the DMV to Broderick Crawford’s gallery in town. He was thrilled to walk outside to take a look because he had yet to see his artwork displayed on any car.
For a number of reasons the placing of this license plate on my new car was significant. For one thing it had been pretty mangled in my Miata accident. Fortunately Evan was able to straighten it out enough to pass DMV inspection in order to install the plate on Sarton. Now a piece of the old is affixed to the new.
It’s me placing my identity on this car. As I re-define parts of my identity, I retain much of the old, while establishing the new.
Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher and theologian, said Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
So with a glance back to explain the import of my recent action, I’ll now turn to the road ahead. I’ve many miles to go.
So I bought a new car. I didn’t really want to buy a new car, but I was forced into needing a new car because of the accident I had six months ago which totaled my beloved Miata. Almost totaled me and a friend who was with me as well.
I had to make some changes with this purchase. Automatic transmission was one.
I’ve only ever driven manual transmission cars, with a fair amount of pride in doing so. These days I need to be kind to my knees. I was surprised to make this transition so quickly. By the time I drove home from the dealership in Atlanta I was all in for automatic!
Sure looks like a manual transmission, but not so. Just shiny pedals and a foot rest.
I also gave up having a rag top. This new car comes as a hardtop. I’d driven ragtops since 1983. Car manufacturers had ceased making convertibles in the mid 70’s. In 1983 Toyota sensed interest in convertibles once again and responded by sending 1983 Toyota Celicas to Florida to be converted from hardtops to convertibles. I couldn’t order one fast enough!
In 1989 Mazda Miatas were introduced. I bought the first Miata in north Houston.
For the next twenty-seven years I drove nothing but Miatas. Five of them. Amadeus. Gabrielle. Clara. Scarlatti. And Chapin. The run of Miattas ended with the accident. I thought for sure I would buy another Miata. It wasn’t to be as a Miata and I are literally no longer a fit.
I’m now getting used to owning a Subaru BRZ.
In Lectionary study today, we studied a portion of Haggai. It details the story of the rebuilding of the Second Temple, a rebuild of the Temple. The question asked was if the rebuilt temple was seen to be the same as – sufficient as – the first temple. Would it be like it was before?
Our priest asked us about our own identities and if we had ever felt we had lost our identity. I was first to answer. I said I felt when I lost my car in the accident, I lost my identity, and with the purchase of my new car I had begun to reclaim it. But, she asked, would this identity I associate with my new car be like it was before?
I’m so thoughtful about this.
Any assumption I might have had about my identity, I’m beginning to see will not be the same as before. It’s wishful thinking to think otherwise. As I settle into my new car identity, I’ll surely consider how it’s different from what it was before. And what it means today.
not to be passed up.
Because of a chance to see my oldest two grandchildren together, I made a quick two-day trip to Texas. I could not pass up time to spend with these amazing young people.
It appears I’ve got the travel bug!
So once again I embarked on wheeled travel. With each travel segment, I find I have increased ability to navigate my way through an airport. I do need help with distance to the gate, but after that I’m more and more able to move about the gate area. And that gate area continues to expand.
While my time in Texas was short, it never felt like it. Lots can be accomplished when motivated!
My son picked me up and soon enough we were at the pumpkin farm. I find that more and more grocery stores have farm sections.
Ten CHOICE pumpkins picked later…
Always a stop at Starbucks on the way home. I was reminded of all the times my grandson and I sat in Starbucks in “our” comfy chairs.
Flowers for me as I arrived.
Now that the two grandchildren have moved out, I enjoyed conversation with their parents. They are the age I was when my children had left home. I heard their words of change and of wonder. And of quiet. Sometimes too much quiet.
That ended with the arrival of grandkids/grand young adults the next day!
The day was a gift beyond measure. A chorus of family stories, updates, and cheering for the big game – in this case the alma mater of my granddaughter vs the Dawgs.
A feast followed..
And, birthday cake!!
A wonderful end to this remarkable day. Abundant blessings.
There’s a new resident in this home. With the recent losses of two long-time pets, this new one has begun to fill the void.
This Sabbath my beautiful daughter-in-law and I had lovely worship at their church where this family has belonged for close to two decades. There’s change here with the leaving of their rector and an interim in place.
Then just like that, it was time to return home. My heart is full. I’m so grateful for the quick gift of love, of time, of hugs, of laughter, of talks – from each of these four precious pieces of my heart.
I absolutely loved being in town for the birthday party.
It was a joyous evening with remarkable women. Rich and hilarious conversations. It was an evening of celebrating and being celebrated.
I’ve loved being in town to see large, beautiful buildings. Many new, sitting next to vintage and historic structures.
Houses of worship.
Christ Church Cathedral, where I worshipped before I left town.
Iskan Hindu Temple.
I love the neighborhood and surrounding area where my friend lives.
As we drove home yesterday she described this part of town as having texture.
Yes, that’s exactly the way to describe it. There is a wonderful variety in people and dwellings in this part of town. Texture in voices and colors, in food and shelter, in opportunity and in struggle.
Of course I loved all the meals I enjoyed.
I’ll return for more big city life.
Today, though, I am going home to small town life.
Now airborne for my flight to Atlanta, I’m aware this second return to traveling is much easier than the first. I’ve got spunk, which was required for my wheeled travel at the Houston airport today. And once again I turned my chair into a walker and I walked at will.