I had to go down to Espanola yesterday, which is about 25 minutes down the mountain. Truchas and Espanola are within Rio Arriba County. Rio Arriba is a very poor county—in terms of money that is. Isabro Ortega, who grew up in Truchas, (see previous post Isabro Ortega, Master Carver), says that although his family was very poor, he and his brother and sister grew up as “millionaires in love.” And I think that describes at least one aspect of these poor villages I have come to live in. Love and family tradition are rich here and the communities are wealthy, in some ways, because of it.
I was reminded of that by something I passed by in the car on my way down the mountain. I caught only a glimpse of it but, as I drove back home, I kept my eyes peeled hoping to see it again. It was easy to miss, though, in part because traffic on that road is thick and it moves very fast. So I went by it once more, only catching a quick sight in passing.
But this time I turned around as soon as I could, parking my car on the side of the road and walking back. There, standing amidst old junker cars, in front of a dilapidated adobe and a trailer that had seen better years, stood this snowman, easily eight feet tall, its twig arms spread wide in hopes of a hug.
It was such an expression of creativity, of joy, that it took my breath away and brought a smile to my lips.
Then, when I arrived home, there was a Christmas card waiting for me from my mom. This snowman, created by seven-year-old Shyla Hunt, a member of the Umpqua Valley Boys and Girls Club of Roseburg, Oregon, was on the cover.
I think Spirit really wanted me to get this message that day: that, no matter our circumstance, we can create and be a part of beauty whenever we choose. Our hearts can be filled by the abundance of this life. All we have to do is make ourselves available to it. And, when we can do that, it can be Christmas every day of the year.
Love to you all,