Thursday, January 20, 2011

At Home in My One Room Schoolhouse

Yesterday, I decorated my room. No, that's not it. Not exactly. I'll get to that.

This past Sunday night I stayed with my friends, Anne and Paxton, at their home west of Taos. En route, while crossing the Great Divide, I gave some thought to the notion that we would have a good visit, then I would pack up the stuff I had stored there when I left Santa Fe, and head back to Minnesota.

Just before passing through a tiny little town called Chromo I stopped to take some photographs of an abandoned, one-room schoolhouse at the edge of town. I love these little bits of history, what they represent.

After arriving in the late afternoon, while Anne and I visited, we packed my car. Then we ate some pizza and stayed up talking late into the night.

In the middle of the night I woke up and was lying there waiting for I knew not what. Until I did. The almost-full moon was now over the house and was shining in the window. I was not going home to Minnesota yet. I was leaving Anne's house and that's all I knew. And not because she wanted me out, although I suppose that is a possibility, but I knew I should leave and listen for guidance.

In the morning, while driving the Rim Road, I felt I was supposed to go into Taos and look for a room. I pulled over at the first intersection before heading into town, briefly disagreed, and played with the notion of heading down to Sedona. I even called Anne, who makes regular visits, to ask how long it took to get there. Maybe I was supposed to be there, an idea that didn't feel altogether disagreeable. I wavered. And then I sat and listened. Whether I liked it or not, for now at least, I was going into Taos. Not an altogether disagreeable option, either.

When I drove by a certain motel I knew that was where I should be. Not the spiffiest joint in town, but it offers those things I need right now - off the road with a certain sense of privacy and quiet, a courtyard with pinon trees as well as trees outside almost every room, coyote fencing, and ristras hanging from the vigas - lots of southwestern ambiance, something I've been missing, and it's cozy to boot (I think that's a fairly decent pun, but I might be prejudiced). It also just so happens to be the first motel I ever checked into in New Mexico many years ago.

The cool thing is, I have two of my favorite paintings and a favorite framed print in my car. Well, I did have. They are now gracing my humble abode. Had I waited to pack up my stuff, I would not have them now for my room.

I think one of the things I may be learning is that, yes, it's good to have a permanent home to always return to, and I'm very grateful for Lonewolf, for all it offers me, and I will be equally grateful to return there, but it's also good to feel at home wherever I happen to be.

Having spent most of my life, since a teenager really, in one relationship or another, I became used to navigating through life with someone there to share the ups and downs, the day to day exigencies that can complicate or relieve our human experience, sort of a built-in support system that creates a sense of security. And even though I've spent the better part of the last five years sans a relationship, I find I am still learning to appreciate and honor a solo life. Learning to feel at home wherever I am means learning to feel at home with myself. And that, as they say, is big.

So, I did a little decorating, leaning my artwork against the walls, bought some groceries at the store down the road, asked for and received a small refrigerator, and took a walk around the courtyard in the evening light. It's feeling kinda homey.

I almost forgot to tell you: when I crossed over into New Mexico from Utah on Sunday, in less than a quarter of a mile there were two crows and a coyote. The crows were standing over their dinner in the ditch, whoever the poor critter had been, and the coyote was trotting away from them, down in a hollow, across a snow-covered field. He had decided it wasn't worth it or they had shared before I came over the hill. That second scenario isn't likely but one never knows what goes on when we're not there to insert our conditioned human thinking. Either way, they made a fine welcoming committee.

Then, the morning after I arrived here, a lone crow cawed right outside my door, announcing my arrival. This is where I Am. Another day of learning in my own little one-room schoolhouse. And I don't intend to abandon it. I will be carrying it with me.


  1. I love it that you live in your own little schoolhouse..and carry it with you. I have been on my own for nearly seven years now and I love the alone times. It feels like a gift at my time of life.

  2. I envy your spirit of independence.

  3. This is such a great post, Teresa. So glad that you had a wonderful visit with Anne and loved that you decided to stay on the road awhile. I'd have done that, too.

    You know, I shouldn't even admit this but I envy the freedom you have to enjoy your spirit of independence (as Linda says). I'm not ungrateful for my's a very good life and I'm a lucky person.

    But I must have some gypsy in me (my Irish ancestors must have been gypsies) because I'm most content when I'm on the road to somewhere. Since that's not always possible, I'm just going to follow you around and drink in the sights through your eyes. Many thanks.

  4. Joan, I am learning more and more to appreciate my alone time, to understand its intrinsic value. Wonderful things can happen when we spend time in solitude.

    Linda, There are pros and cons to everything... :)

    Cheryl, We do seem to share that gypsy spirit. It has it's lonely moments and there's much to be said for the solidity of Home. But for now, I'm doing what I'm doing and it feels right...most of the time. I'm glad to be sharing it with you.

    With all of you.

  5. Wonderful post, school house traveler. I can see your motel in my minds eye, from seeing it when in town. Can't think of a better location than Taos for resting your nest. Magical things happen to us every time we visit. An energizing peace flows through the air and land. A good place to be, for as long as you wish, or don't. Breath in a bit of the sage for me.

  6. It is nice to have a permanent home and just as nice to be able to travel I find myself wanting to travel again and yet wanting the permanence of my home, a home. your descriptions of the places you are traveling has me yearning for the southwest again. enjoy your schoolhouse, I never would have thought to put my own paintings in a motel room what a great idea. It's been years since I've been to Taos.

  7. Chris, It is a good place to be. It feels very right. For Now. :)

    Linda, Taos is home to many artists. It has a really good vibe. I hope you make it back here someday soon.

  8. I had a friend who lived in an old schoolhouse and had many visitors who had went to school in it.You are in a lovely area.

  9. What a great and timely post! I have always needed "alone" time, but it wasn't until after my husband passed, that I truely learned about being by myself. To be comfortable/content. We are taught, at an early age, to be around others, but aren't taught to be with self. I really believe this balances us. Takes us back in time to some primordial place and this puts us in touch with our true nature.

  10. I really admire the way you trust your own instincts! That, and the great insights you gain from it make you a truly great writer.

  11. Steve, I always thought actually living in a schoolhouse would be grand! Yes, this is a nice place.

    Lynn, I'm finding it to be a sometimes difficult, but always interesting place to be and process to be going through. It also seems essential to the rest of my journey.

    Ms. Sparrow! How nice to hear from you! Thank you so very much for your kind and encouraging words.

  12. so you are in NM again. I've been thinking of you. You probably have gathered that I've been studying reincarnation most of my life and Edgar Cayce is my hero. I've recently been devouring his readings on Atlantis. His readings say there have been humans in that neck of the woods for more than ten million years. The scientists had disagreed when he make this reading in 1925 but now with modern tools, I think they are agreeing.
    Here's a small quote from one of his readings,

    "in the land now known as Utah or Nevada, when the first peoples were separated into groups as families..... The entity developed much and gave much to the people who were to succeed in that land and in the ruins as are found in the mounds and caves in the northwestern portion of New Mexico may be seen some of the drawings the entity then made, some ten million years ago." (1925)

    What did they use to have drawings last that long? You have taken a number of pictures around that area and I'm thinking perhaps you have taken pictures of the very spot.

    I have a lot of unread books waitng for me. Can't seem to read as fast as I'd like .

    Have fun decorating.

    Have a grand weekend.
    Manzanita xo xo xo

  13. It seems many new discoveries are challenging our long-held beliefs, which is good. Perhaps it will make us question others that need to be re-examined.

    I've seen and photographed many panels of "rock art" over the years, but it's a big place... Besides Chaco and Mesa Verde, there are so many canyons with ruins, petroglyphs and pictographs in SE Utah. A fascinating place.

    You know the saying, "So many books. So little time."

    Have a great weekend, Manzi! xo

  14. Teresa, may I republish this blog post on my blog for an award for you? Thanks, Jack.

  15. I would be honored, Jack. I will send you an email, also.

  16. Being blessed to feel at home wherever you are is true freedom! Don't you just love crows?! :)

    1. Rita! I do love crows. I feel such a kinship with them. Thank you for reading this post!

  17. Teresa: I'm happy to see you had some recent Taos time. I hope you were able to visit Taos Cow while you were there.

    I love that you showed a photograph of the old school house in Chromo. I am in love with Chromo and the surrounding area. It is one of the highlights of my trips to Durango. Thanks for the reminder that it has been too long since I've seen it in person. Martie

    1. It was a year ago, but still fresh in my mind. And, yes, I did. Francesca's too. :)

      That road has some great scenery and so peaceful. Thanks for visiting this post, Martie.

  18. "...learning to feel at home with myself." Bang.On.
    Wonderful post .. more of your crystalized gleanings - I take them all to heart.
    Crows talk, of course and coyotes speak as well.. and too, it seems, one-room schoolhouses.
    Meaningful words, Teresa :)

    1. It's taken me all my life but I think I finally arrived at that place of feeling at home with myself ... a good place to be.

      Thanks so much, Ray.