Monday, September 05, 2011


THE DAY IS BARELY HALF OVER----and already our adventure cup is about full---

When in the middle of nowhere we see this imposing building---apparantly abandoned---of course we want the story----and cross some barriers to get here.

Obviously a structure of style and elegance--this was the central room.
And the walls call forth the artistic impulses of a graffitist.

Lucas stares in puzzlement at the wreckage---as do we.

This was instructive: That is a pile of bat manure---- droppings from that crack up top.  I guess bats are always looking for new homes.

We conclude this was a resort lodge---Stone Lake Resort---with lots of large guest rooms----and this is the view of Stone Lake.  We later learned that it has a prominent place in Indian Mythology.  From out of this lake---the story goes---emerged the Jimez tribe.  I wondered if the tribe tells  the story to the young as a myth or as the truth.  I'm suddenly curious how Indian tribes in general present their mythology to the kids---do they really grow up believing all that stuff about humanity emerging from a hole in the ground or a lake etc---about coyote as a  trickster and about Hopi Kachinas being able to make it rain and so forth.  I once asked some Hopi kids if they believed that Kachinas really lived in the San Francisco peaks near Flagstaff.  They said yes---of course! My mother and community "laid a myth" on me and I was 27 before I was able to shake it.  

But I digress----continuing on I saw about a hundred of these curious structures scattered across a huge meadow.  I just gotta know why.

Saw this guy working on one----stopped and asked---aaahh what a story---prepare yourself.

Meet Mr. Wainright, a very friendly and informed Jacarilla Apache Indian. The thing he is building is a family shelter and dining place for an upcoming celebration called Harvest feast. All Jacarillas will come to this meadow on September 15th ---and cluster in family groups AND in CLANS.  There are two Jacarilla clans--the RED----descendents of a mountain tribe  and the WHITE---descendents of a plains tribe.  They all gather on this day primarily to say thanks to the creator for the plants and animals that sustain them AND to engage in a ceremonial foot race.  Afterwards, they paint themselves and gather in a grand council to pray and bond and recount their history.

I quiz him further--taking notes:  There are about 3,600 Jacarilla total---most live in the City of Dulce.
Their reservation is huge---about 50 miles by 25 miles (perhaps overgenerous as reservations go) Larger tribes have much smaller areas) He explained that the Stone Lake Lodge was a gift from the OEO (office of economic opportunity) and that when it failed, their shaman investigated and determined that it was because it was built on rattlesnake ground.  
We moved on to the city of Dulce---Walked around.

Has a GREAT super market---a spectacular mural covers three walls.

Then we left the reservation---driving back to Chama---been a great day!
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  This is what I did with my freedom---on this day.  What would you do with yours?  I hope to illustrate for my readers that deep freedom is possible and to share with them my particular slant on filling time. (generating meaning) I'm open to suggestions on WHAT---REALLY---IS WORTH DOING.


Tesaje said...


I love the way you interact with strangers to get interesting stories. Do you think you have more freedom and safety in doing that being male? As opposed to the females you travel with and know who also have an adventurous spirit? I find myself not asking questions of strangers because of the potential (and far too many times) of misinterpreting my human interest for sexual interest.

Randy said...

Tesaje: I suspect that there is an up and downside being a female inquirer. You would almost always be welcomed by males---and they would be eager to answer your questions. Extracting yourself when you are ready to go is an art as surely as moving into someone else's world. I'm confident you would evolve a unique and effective technique. Getting in is the most important part and my strategy is to approach with a friendy smile and interesting questions---and being impressed and appreciative of their answers.

Avid Camper said...

Hey Randy, as always an inspiring read. You might want to check out this article as it relates to jobs being no longer necessary. You're ahead of the curve my friend:

1 More Mile! said...

"the artistic impulses of a graffitist"?

How about if they practice on the side of your trailer?