Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Build day #2 - early to rise (aka: shoulda gone to bed early)‏

After being woken up by a huge magpie at my window, we all were downstairs for breakfast by 6:30 and then headed to the build site for a 1/2 day of hard work (preparing the outside of the house for inspection so we can begin applying the stucco) followed by the Taos Pueblo corn harvest festival... And we found out that our leader, Betsy had to go to the medical clinic because of dehydration and nausea. It turns out she has a blood pressure issue that was helped with a little medication and she joined us at noon. So glad I am feeling just fine. :)

I read my inspirational message to the group today, a reading from Max Ehrmann's Desiderata - a spiritual to do list for staying calm in this crazy world. The team really seemed to enjoy it.We worked from 7am - 12 then to the Taos pueblo for a tour and the corn harvest festival. This was an amazing event! We had a 30 minute tour of the pueblo which included residential dwellings that have been there for more than 1000 years. They charge an admission fee but the native americans who live and work there work for tips. Many of the dwellings were in pretty decent shape but the weather does strip away layers of adobe which then requires the residents to apply more adobe material to the outside of the house year after year. Some of the adobe walls are 4 ft thick.!

The corn harvest dance occurs at the beginning of their corn harvest and is also connected to a patron saint (this clan practices their own native religion in underground sacred places called kivas, as well as practicing Christianity at St Jerome's church on the pueblo). The patron saint for this dance was San Juan, so any person who lived on this pueblo whose name was Juan, or Juanita or some other form of the name would have a special dance done in front of their home.As we stood on the pueblo marveling at the mountains in the distance and the natives around us, a group of elders came out and started chanting while one of them began drumming. The dancers followed: men in skirts covered with animal skins held up by native american belts, they wore feathers in their hair and moccasins on their feet. The women wore beautiful, hand made, off the shoulder dresses in brightly colored patterns. They wore short white boots and held orange flowers in their hands. As the elders chanted and drummed, the women and men danced in formation, tapping their feet, shaking miracas and waving their hands. It was beautiful to watch and made me want to sit down with my brother in law, Nat to talk shop with him! For those of you don't know him, he recently graduated with his PhD in History- focusing on Native American history.

This has been a grand birthday so far and it's only 4:00 pm! When I arrived back to the lodge, I had beautiful tulips waiting for me from my friend, Mary. Tonite - dinner on the town (my choice) with the team. Tomorrow - another full day of building!

We have lots more to do this week, finishing the drywall, and hopefully finishing the stucco on the outside... Plus more to see: the enchanted circle drive (a scenic 2.5 hour drive around the area), the solar music festival, shopping (of course) and the grand finale: hot air balloon ride on sunday!

This was a long one... I hope you are enjoying these stories! I will continue to try and send them as I have more stories to tell.

Love and miss you all...
Lisa (35!!)

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