Posted in Journal
Where rocks meet the sky.
When I finally arrived at the entrance of Ghost Ranch, located in the middle of nowhere but somewhere, the sun was setting and casting shades of rust and copper off the huge Piedras. Here sat a driveway that led you deeper into the rocks. I stopped the car, stunned by the vast natural beauty around me, taking it in. Immediately feeling at home in my heart, then I began my drive down the long and winding road that led to the ranch.
By the time I found my lodging, it was dark, and I had just missed dinner, which was served at 6:30 pm sharp. So I wandered around the property curiously with my waist light strapped on like a belt around my black linen flowing dress. The guests were already tucked away for the evening only to rise at the crack of dawn. I stumbled upon the library that night; as its window glowed among the darkness, it happens to be open 24 hours a day. Filled with books head to toe, covering art, design, travel, philosophy, gardening, architecture. Just imagine a small book store curated solely by Georgia O’Keeffe — what a treasure this place was. I flipped through books for hours, thinking about all the fingers that had crossed the very same pages I was holding over all the decades past.
I came to Ghost Ranch to take an Earth Vessels workshop in clay, which I haven’t spent any time with as an artist. It was a fundamental transformation, handling clay and learning about its ancient process and place. This journey was a two-week sabbatical from the stresses of work and life. After a week of working with clay day and night, we fired our pieces under a Full moon ceremony. The following day, we retrieved our pieces, most of which had not survived the overnight firing. Most of my clay work did survive the flames. Our teacher told me that was a good omen, and that was all I needed to hear.
After a week at Ghost Ranch and my new love for sculpting clay, I headed to an Airbnb down the road in Abiquiu to spend another week alone in the majestic desert. Georgia O’keeffe’s primary residence and a museum dedicated to her home located in Abiquiu, about 20 minutes from Ghost Ranch. Visiting Georgia O’keeffe’s home was an inspiration to see how simple she lived, that she took importance in the sense of place and being. Her eye for modernism was way before her time, a real pioneer. I also live very simply, and modernism is a considerable part of our lives in how we live. So this all felt familiar to me, and I have learned so much from her. The way she lived her daily life is like a road map to her soul — the importance of the more minor things and the intention behind these small acts. I understand now why she painted the landscapes and chose to spend her final years in this place.
I made a stop at the Adobe Lavender farm nearby. I loved this place, and its Lavender essential oil is the best. They even have a gluten-free bakery on site that has infused lavender everything. I ordered some lavender, dark chocolate cake, and it was perfect. I sat there eating it while breathing in the lavender, which was enough to keep me going for a few more days.
The quietness of the desert can be daunting and something I struggled with, especially being there alone. The wind howling all night, and the cracks of driftwood porch and scent of juniper make themselves known. The dessert in New Mexico is of ancient territory, home to native Americans steeped in ritual, weaved by history and threads from Earth. Here Earth meets the sky. It is where stillness is ordinary, mimicking the rocks that stand tall silencing in the distance. The shades of the desert are ever-changing as the sun orchestrates the hues creating a theatre of color. While the clouds dot the bright blue sky in the daylight hours, providing a new appreciation for their beauty and place. The vast open skies allow for uninterrupted stargazing at night.
Being alone with nature is like standing in front of a mirror to your soul. There is nothing there to distract you from yourself. And anything you don’t want to confront confronts you. It will make the weak strong and will bring those hardened by life to their knees.