Exploring

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When we visited Santa Fe last year, I bought a Dryland Wilds Sagebrush Plantwater, so I could mist my face with one of my very favorite scents on the daily. After using it a short while, I wondered what other wonders I was missing. To my great luck, the lovely Robin Moore and Cebastien Rose make much more than plantwaters. They are high desert wild crafters, sustainably foraging native and invasive flowers, leaves, and resins, and harvest plants that would otherwise be discarded to make the most exquisitely intoxicating scents of New Mexico.

It’s no surprise I became a huge fan. In addition to the sagebrush, I purchased pinon plantwater, luxurious soaps, evening primrose and copper mallow lip balms, and beauty oils infused with willow and loosestrife, sagebrush and snakeweed, rosehip and thistle. Each is evocative, efficient, and positively uplifting!

Imagine my delight upon learning they offer a perfume making class. And what great luck to have the date correspond with our anniversary! So we planned our trip to Albuquerque around a Sunday afternoon. Cebastien is a fantastic teacher, educating about the various perfume notes, and encouraging us, via scent combining exercises, to try what would normally make us run for the hills. It culminates in the exciting creation of our own scented oil.

I call mine High Desert Morning. An infusion of ruby red grapefruit, balsam fir, honey mesquite, and labdanum. Initially, it only contained the first three, as I imagined peeling a grapefruit to the rhythm of the rising sun. It was lovely but lacking. So I pondered Cebastien’s teaching and decided to go for a run-for-the-hills essential oil. I tried the labdanum, and that drop on my perfume card made it all come together, for the missing element was Greg. Labdanum is on the musky side and reminiscent of his sweet bearded cheek. Crazy fantastic!

So if you need a reason to head to Albuquerque besides fabulous food and turquoise, treat yourself to a class. If you are less adventurous, try a soap, beauty oil, or plantwater, and inhale the magic of the high desert.

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My DNA Story

 

My DNA Story. Pretty cool, right? I spit in a tube and made a map of my world. When the data came back, much of it was a surprise. Much less German than I expected. More of every bit of the United Kingdom. More Native American. And who the heck did I get the Norwegian and Swedish from? Is that you, Great Grandma Mary?

And now I wonder what it REALLY means. All I know is my life and my experience. Save the times when I have been an ass (few, I think, hope), I have never been ashamed of who I am. I feel like my life is a fine line drawing that just got a sweet watercolor wash. Vibrancy.

I am connecting dots, perhaps making sense of the mystical. I like to think my Native DNA called me to Southern Colorado, and has been calling me to New Mexico for the whole of my life. The Irish, Welsh, English, and Scottish might also explain my deep affinity for the velvet green and gunmetal skies of Portland. Then again, I don’t know.

What DO I say of it? The Native that is virtually invisible in me, that only my DNA sees. That is like the Native stories I read – the struggle to be seen and invisible at the same time. Invisibility has the perk of not being abused, ridiculed, or assumed to be, drunk, poor, or BOTH. I don’t imagine my life changing much. I will not be flying flags, participating in pow wows or St. Patrick’s Day parades.

I read somewhere that family is like a rope, each person a knot. Upon death, the knot loosens but the section of rope remains connected. Maybe my need is for the rope only. To feel it in my hands: smooth, rough, imperfect, bound. To say “Grandma.” To perhaps, imagine my Great-Great Grandfather Bill, whose occupation on the 1880 census was COWBOY, lasso-ing my family together for my eyes to see, the whole and the parts, and appreciate it for the disparity and beauty. My human story. Yes, as the tears well, I do believe that is so.

Taking it all in…

My latest artistic endeavor – this will be a bookmark and will not have the white bit at the top. So far, so good.

Amazing how wee bites of artichoke can fill a person up. Or, maybe it’s the butter…

Frost and burning fog always make for a pretty picture or two.

Yours truly

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Lighting it up in Manitou Springs. I know I have mentioned it before, but I must reiterate my delight at this tiny town. How it takes me right back to my eight-year-old self off on a jaunt with my family. A time when gift shops were filled with rock candy and honey-colored plaques and boxes of cedar construction. Names like Carlsbad and White Sands and Kansas burned onto them, sometimes with nifty pictures of their namesakes. There were also the cool Viewmaster wheels of tourist photos, often taken by some yahoo, who didn’t know squat about photography, slightly blurry or askew, but still a Viewmaster and therefore coveted. And I, with little money and no Viewmaster (sad face), would wander seriously for as long as my parents would allow, contemplating my most meaningful purchase. Usually a photo book or small piece of art in a plastic frame.

In this regard, I have changed only slightly. For this trip, I scored a delightfully small (4×12) painting of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, after perusing every other offering. How lovely it looks in our little niche shelf, posing handsomely next to the Colorado State flag. I’ll show it to you sometime.

For now, I hope you enjoy the light and wonder of this magical season…

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Shoes On

Our third snow! Hoping the trend continues, though Juniper would prefer not having to put her shoes on.

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