Somtimes it takes a few days to digest one really great day. Saturday morning Jon From The Office invited me to go to his brothers farm. "Dress dirty" he said. After I retrieved my mind from the gutter, I threw on a pair of old jeans and my fifty cent flea market sweater.
The drive east of Las Vegas never fails to amaze me. Jon, his two super-cute little girls, and I piled into the range rover and cruised out along the flat, empty mesa-top for fifteen or so minutes, turned onto a paved county road for a while longer. Red tail and Harris hawks wheeled overhead and perched in the pinon trees. Suddenly the terrain dropped in front of us. We wove along the side of a deep canyon. Amara, Jon's five year old, told me all about the dinosaurs that lived down there, and pointed out a boat on the canyon floor. All those years of racing up and down the I-25 corridor, trying to get to Denver before lunchtime and I had no idea this lay on the other side of the road.
Two or three ranch gates down the road and we were at Mark and Amy's place. It's a sixty acre island in a gigantic ranch. The Gallinas river (the little river that flows past my place) cuts through the middle of their land. When Mark bought the property, the house was four stone walls, more or less intact, and half a roof. He and his wife, family and freinds rebuilt the roof, stuccoed the outside, plastered the inside walls a cool sherbert green, installed plumbing and gas. Their electricity is solar with a back up generator. They have a few horses, a pack of silly dogs, and the clear blue sky overhead. That perfect, tourquois, endless, New Mexican sky.
Amy and Alisha (hope I spelled that right), Jon and Mark's mom, made bisquits and gravy. Jon gave me a tour of the greenhouse and showed me the edge of the mesa over the Gallinas edged with cottonwood trees and. We found a few arrowheads to add to my collection. It always surprises me to find these bits of work. So many pieces of someone's time, laying around for us to pick up as we will.
After stuffing ourselves on a good, old fashioned breakfast, we laid assault to the walls of the new section of the house. This was the reason I needed to "dress dirty"; we would be laying adobe bricks. Jon and Mark's parents mixed the mud morter, Amara and I were in charge of plopping the morter on the last course of bricks, and the boys laid and leveled the next course of bricks. Amy is in her first trimester with their first child. She sat under the portal and peeled the skins off the garlic bulbs they were preparing to plant. Amara and I had a system. I scooped up the mud and placed it on the bricks and Amara did a belly flop onto the mud to squash it into place. When we started, her coat was off-white. By the time she finally said "Uncle" she was stained the same red as the cliffs.
It was a wonderful lesson in staying present. Normally, I would have been all business. We have a goal and that goal must be reached, no matter what. No monkey business. Its some hold over from my german anscestors, most likely. Amara showed me that it wasn't an urgent situation. Her family had a nice snug stone house and this was an expansion of their love. I took a deep breath and we fell into a rhythm of scoop and squish, scoop and squish. A while later, Mark and Jon got out their guitars and played while the little ones napped.
I wanted to stay there, in that gorgeous afternoon, for as long as possible.