Taos Habitat for Humanity Build – Reflections Part 1

20141027_090419Oh Taos, New Mexico.  I whined about traveling to your sunny, high desert mountain land.  After enduring the brutal Idaho heat, I get protective about where I want to spend my vacation time which is to scurry to the ocean mist and cool off.  Finally, I committed to join my favorite Habitat for Humanity team for the second week of the build.   I should learn by now that when I drag my feet going somewhere, the trip will be super extraordinary.

Two weeks after returning home, I huddled under blankets on the couch after six inches of snow dumped on Boise, Idaho. The temperature hovered around 10 degrees, and I confess  that I missed the warmth of the Taos sun and fresh mountain air.  I played a CD purchased from the charming guitar playing singer that entertained the Sunday market crowd in Santa Fe.  What a beautiful voice, loving personality, and he blossomed as his hippie chicks gathered around to groove on his songs.

The autograph of Canta Chris Abeyta on my CD highlights his charming, compassionate heart.  “To Susan E.  Music is our spirit, it never dies.”

Taos was a hauntingly beautiful trip from beginning to end.  First I reunited with my Habitat family, minus dear Terese, Kate, Pat, Mara, and Maria, but delighted to meet two new additions, Brian and Bev.  After a weekend of relaxing in Santa Fe with the team visiting art galleries, examining gorgeous jewelry, devouring chili rellenos and key lime pie, we headed to Taos.1280 (1)

The road that Rick drove from Santa Fe to Taos illuminated one glorious fall colored view after another.  High desert straight roads grew curvy as we ascended to high elevation mountains with little towns nestled along the way.   Oddly, the terrain seemed familiar and resembled mountain driving in Idaho. Then I saw the sign  to Espanola – a town my grandparents lived in when I was a girl growing up in Boulder, Colorado.

My family had traveled the road from Boulder through Taos and on to Espanola many times.Old memories wove their way to the surface, and I experienced sentimental feelings of coming home.

20141027_072509My teammates gave me a tour of my home.  We stayed in an old convent, mattresses on the floor, two or three to the room with a couple of bathrooms to share.  A walk across the parking lot took us to the kitchen where we consumed excellent cuisine planned and prepared by Susan Latham.


Work site of the The Mares Home Taos Habitat for Humanity

Monday morning I stumbled out of my bed early for morning coffee.  When I stepped outside I could smell a skunk and spotted a pair of bushy black and white tails frolicking in the front yard of the church office.  I reported my wildlife experience to the group, but the skunks had disappeared by the time Nancy went looking for them.  I thought the charming creatures a good omen, and felt excited to experience my week with Taos Habitat for Humanity.



Oh Ireland and American Pie!

Dingle Harbor

Dingle Harbor

Miss Molly had a swollen face after a long overdue visit to the dentist to fill three cavities.  She asked me to stop and bring her a smoothie after I got off of work.  I went to the nearest smoothie-making place for a protein enriched berry mix delight to drop off at her apartment.   While waiting in line, a familiar and beloved song began to play on the store radio. 

American Pie by Don McLean filled up the cafe.  Always happy to hear the tune as it is a favorite for myself and many folks.   Furthermore, the song now instantly sparks a cherished memory from my recent trip to Ireland; a lovely and uniquely humorous Irish moment.

One of the weekend trips involved a trip to Dingle for a stay in the Dingle Harbour Lodge.   Dingle came highly recommended for its incredible coastline, beaches, and authentic Irish music. SAM_2413 A visit to a local music shop provided an itinerary that kept us busy attending several authentic Irish music concerts and recommendations to pubs to hear incredible musicians.

Ireland never fails to deliver ones deepest desire and hope.   Dingle staged a folk concert in St. James, an old church with outstanding musicians.  The guitar player was brilliant and came out singing, She Moves Through the Fair.  A haunting song performed in a clear voice after he told us how he had spent a great deal of time working with the song to get it to unfold and deliver according to his musical vision.   I struggle to find words how exquisite a moment that was.  The rest of the music group joined in after that tune and included a brilliant Uilleann pipe musician.SAM_2371

One evening I discovered that the music did not necessarily stay confined to the pubs or concert venues.   Saturday night, or rather early Sunday morning, a flurry of laughing and loud voices treated all the hotel guests  to a lovely crack of dawn concert provided by a group of Irish lads fresh from a bachelor party.Among their numerous, amazing repertoire of songs performed under our windows, they delivered an excellent, lively, sparkly rendition of America Pie.

Groggy with sleep and admittedly at first feeling a hint of crankiness, I quickly experienced a lightening of heart and spirit.   Even now the memory brings a smile to my face and in hindsight, I wish I had stuck my head out the window and requested them to sing Danny Boy for me!


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