Category Archives: Small town

Releasing the Old, Welcoming the New

Hello friends,

Those of you who know me know I love living in this wonderful small Colorado community in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  So perhaps you will be surprised to hear that I’ve been getting guidance that I am supposed to move.

At first I wasn’t clear whether I was  supposed to simply move out of the home where I’d been living or whether I was supposed to leave Crestone.  So I made plans to do the first while endeavoring to get clear on the latter.  Soon the guidance got very clear.  I am being strongly called to move to Mt. Shasta.

Mt. Shasta is in northern California and it’s another relatively small town.  It, too, is known for its sacred mountain.  It, too, is a highly spiritual place of great beauty.

I am learning to trust that when I’m guided somewhere it’s usually because I have something to learn, people to meet, and gifts to offer.  I am sensing that this upcoming phase of my life will be exceedingly rich.  It feels like really good stuff is on the horizon.

So, right now I’m in that interesting place of preparing for what’s ahead while beginning to say goodbye to the place and people I have come to love and simultaneously trying to stay as present in the moment as possible.

I don’t yet know the exact timeline for this move.  I’ve been getting direction saying “Go now!”  I’ve been telling the Universe that I have a few more commitments to honor here first but that if a place to live and some work can be lined up, I am ready and willing to go.

So, to all my Crestonian friends, I send you love.  It has been a great blessing getting to know you all.  I’ll be around for at least another month and a half to revel in the magic that is Crestone.

Meanwhile, if any of you all have good friends or contacts in Mt. Shasta, I’d be grateful if you could pass them along to me.

The adventure continues….

 

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Finding Home

Two years ago, exhausted from a cross-country car trip of 2,000 miles, I finally turned east on T Road and headed toward the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, toward what was to become my new home.  Two mountains lay ahead of me and they guided me like beacons.  I couldn’t stop staring at them.  I kept taking pictures of those magnificent mountains through the windshield of my old Plymouth.

February 2013 347

I was heading toward a new home, one I had never seen except for in a couple of pictures sent via phone.  I was to be the nighttime caregiver of a delightful 92-year-old woman I had yet to meet.  I had been given the opportunity to be of service to this lovely woman in exchange for rent.

Fourteen years earlier, a psychic had told me I didn’t belong on the East Coast.  She said it was too dense energetically, too materialistic, and too close to my family, who held me back.  She told me there were other places on the planet that would be better suited for my spirit.  The first place she mentioned was this tiny mountain community known for its spiritual centers.  And lo and behold, without ever intending it to happen, through grace and synchronicity, I found my way here.

Ria was right.  This place fills my soul with joy.

What do I love about this place?  Let me count the ways.

  1.  I love the beauty that greets me every day as I gaze out my windows, walk out my door, drive into town.  Tall, majestic mountains to the east, distant mountains to the north and west, and between them a vast and beautiful valley.  I love the way the evening sun often glows on the mountaintops.  October 2013 450
  2.  I love the enormous sky vaulted overhead, the brilliant blues, its resplendent sunrises and sunsets, the way I can watch rain fall in several parts of the valley at once, the incredible canopy of stars at night.  I love how many rainbows are seen here.  May 2014 383
  3.  I love the deer that greeted me that first day and who every day calmly walk among the trees, along the creeks and across the road knowing that here they are safe.
  4.  I love the coyotes that sing in the mornings and evenings.  I love now and then catching sight of their wild spirits as they trot through the desert grasslands.
  5.  I love the birds that sing in the mornings.  I love the jays, the magpies, the crows, the songbirds, the bluebirds. I love the owls.
  6.  I love that there are elk and bear and pronghorns roaming these mountains, this valley.  I love the scampering chipmunks and the prairie dogs that poke their heads up along the road.  I love that people sometimes catch sight of bobcats and porcupines.
  7.  I love the fresh mountain air and how snow which falls can still look clean and white a week or two or three later.
  8.  I love our springs and beautiful, clear creeks.  I love how good our water tastes.  I love that there are healing hot springs just a short drive away.
  9.  I love that we are blessed with sunlight most days.  I love that even on a winter’s afternoon, when the sun shines, a sweater or light jacket is often enough to keep me warm.  Colorado May '13 085
  10.  I love how blessedly quiet it is at night or on still, snowy mornings.
  11.  I love that there are few lights to mar the sacred darkness of night.
  12.  I love that there are no traffic lights.  I love that people can stop in the middle of the road in town and talk to a neighbor.  I love that people lift a hand or a couple fingers in greeting as they pass one another on the road.
  13.  I love how this community cares about one another.  I love that we have organizations and systems in place to help one another when someone has an accident or gets Stage IV cancer or even simply needs someone to pick up a prescription or help watch a toddler.
  14.  I love how we stay in touch with one another on Facebook groups. I love how even though we are fewer than 1,000 people, there is still always something to do:  a yoga class, an open mic, a hike, a benefit, a band at one of the local eateries, a workshop, a retreat,  a full moon fire, a knitting circle, kirtan, a talking circle, a forum about death.
  15.  I love that we are a spiritually eclectic yet inclusive group of people.  I love that I can often find the same folks at a Hindu fire ceremony, a Lakota-based sweat lodge, an Easter sunrise service, or meditating at a Buddhist retreat center. I love imagining all the chants, prayers and mantras that are being sung, repeated, and prayed throughout this sweet place.  I love seeing prayer flags hanging everywhere.  I love that all paths are accepted here as long as they are based in love and respect.
  16.  I love that this is an educated and visionary community.  I love how many solar panels I see, how many straw bale homes there are, how many woodstoves, how many greenhouses.  I love how so many people are committed to a better world and to “thinking globally, acting locally.”
  17.  I love that, though we are small, we have sufficient amenities:  a grocery store, a hardware store, organic produce and health food, a post office, a bank, a library, a laundromat, and a liquor store.
  18.  I love that there are many who make soap, candles, sage bundles, herbal extracts, scarves and sweaters, gluten-free baked goods, soups and tamales.  I love how many artists and musicians and healers live here.  I love how many people build their own homes.  We are a talented group and relatively self-sufficient.
  19.  I love that on any given day one can see fabulous dreadlocks on both younger and older people, Buddhist monks in crimson robes, healthy gray-haired retirees,  high school students companionably walking together along the road, parents with a barefoot toddler or two in tow, beautiful yoginis, hikers with backpacks, dogs, someone playing a guitar or riding a horse.
  20.  I love how people greet one another and talk to one another in the lines at the bank and post office.  I love that the impatience so often found in cities is not so rampant here.  I love how many people hug here.  I love the smiles.

I could go on and on.  But you get the idea.

There are wonderful places to live on this planet.  And I am so grateful to have found one of them.

Happy two-year anniversary to me!!!

Finding Home

I have lived in Pennsylvania for 49 of my 54 years.  When I was a little girl, my neck of the woods was rural (as evidenced, most likely, by my use of the term “neck of the woods!”)  Many of my young friends lived on farms.  I and my family lived next door to one.  My cousins, aunt and uncle were our next-door neighbors.  They had cows, pigs, chickens.  They grew hay which we helped to bale on hot sticky summer days.

As I grew older, the landscape around me began changing.  As I grew from a teenager to a young adult, I despaired at the housing developments spreading like a cancer across the land.  Fields and woods were everywhere turning into shopping centers and parking lots.  Corners sprouted banks and gas stations.  My home was changing.  It was growing too fast.  It was becoming noisy and commercial and filled with traffic.

I used to write frequent letters to the editor bemoaning some of these changes, which I saw as ugly affronts to a more peaceful way of life.  Fast forward a couple decades and I realized that I still yearned for that more peaceful life.  And that it was increasingly harder to find it in the place where I had grown up.

My soul yearned to return to the Southwest, the place where I had lived for just two and a half years.  I loved the wide open spaces, the great expanses of land and sky.  I loved the mountains.  I loved feeling the Presence of Nature that dominated in a landscape with many fewer human residents around to mess up the beauty.

It’s beauty of a very different kind, I grant you that.  Some people can’t abide the southwest.  They miss the green.  They miss the grass and the pervasive presence of trees.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love trees.  I love green, growing things.  I love gurgling brooks and I love Pennsylvania farms.  But something about the southwest feels like home to me.  My spirit soars when I look over the vast landscape, when I see the mountain ranges, when I watch the sunsets or gaze in adoration at the canopy of stars at night.

There is a peace here that a part of me has been craving a very long time.  I am not a hustle and bustle person.  I abhor traffic and noise.  I detest rushing around.  I dislike rudeness.

I am an avid reader – of both fiction and nonfiction.  I have read many a book in which the story unfolds in a small town, often in the South, in which everyone knows everyone’s name.  I know, of course, that this kind of environment can be stifling as well.  It’s harder to be different in a place like that.  Everyone knows your business.  Everyone has expectations of who you are, who you come from, how you should be.  But nevertheless I found myself occasionally having daydreams of perhaps having a little café in a small town somewhere.  I loved the idea that I would be able to greet most of the people I knew by name.  I loved the hominess of it.

And now I live in that kind of a place.  It took me a while to give myself permission to return to this part of the country.  I had come back East to help take care of my parents.  I love my parents and my family and the community of friends I have southeastern PA.  And, at the same time, I could not deny that the still small voice inside me was getting increasingly loud, increasingly insistent.  It was saying, I want to go home!

Home to where my heart sings.  Home to where I open the door and look out and feel inexorable peace and joy.

I am blessed to live in a small home nestled among pinon and juniper trees at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  I find myself frequently going to the front door and opening it just so I can gaze out at the trees and the western sky laid out before me like this huge cinematic screen.  I never tire of looking at this sky.  Sometimes it’s a piercing blue.  Sometimes it’s full of distant clouds.  Sometimes the sunsets are filled with glorious color.  Sometimes the view looks black and white because the clouds are dark and the silhouetted trees are dark and the sky behind the clouds looks white or pale gray.

There is silence here.  When I step out of the house at night, it is absolutely, almost astonishingly quiet.  But it’s not an eerie silence.  I know that behind that silence there is a lot of Life.  I know there are deer who will be grazing when the sun comes up.  I know that there are magpies and ravens and other birds who will murmur, croak, and twitter. I know that in the evening, the coyotes will sing.

And yet the part of me that needs human companionship is happy here as well.   Just three miles away is a tiny town not unlike the ones in the novels I’ve read.  With one important distinction.  The people here are generally open-minded and welcoming.  They don’t judge you if you’re a little different than the average American.  Chances are, they are, too.  And, like in the novels that lift my heart, they say hi when you pass by on the street.  They greet you at the post office.  If there’s a line at the bank, they don’t get frazzled.  They aren’t in a hurry.  When they drive by in their car, many of them lift a hand or a finger in a gesture of greeting.

I have found my little town.  I have found Home.