Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Story of Santuario de Chimaya

The day before we went to Ghost Ranch, our group went to Chimayo to have lunch at their famous restaurant and to visit the Sanctuary. I was strolling through the church and the "annex" with Carol DuChamp, our group leader. We came to a tiny room off the sanctuary which had a small, shallow pit (called "el posito," or Little Healing Well) in the center of the room.

The sancuary is called the Lourdes of America. Like that French shrine, the Santuario has become known as a place of healing. Legend has it that because the church was expressly built on land where a crucifix mysteriously appeared nearly 200 years ago, its dirt is sacred. Ever since, people have believed that touching this dirt, rubbing it on a wound or an affliction, could bring about a cure.

I'm not very religious, but I felt I needed to rub some of the dirt on me. I couldn't bend down so Carol gathered up a handful of dirt for me. I rubbed the dirt on my jeans and rubbed my hands together. I started to tell Carol my story about falling. It seems that when I take a fall, I relax and just go with it. It may be my experience as a skier that has taught me not to tense up when I fall. Because I instinctively relax, I've never broken a bone. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I have a high bone density.

When I took my "leap" off the path to the petroglyphs, I know I didn't stiffen up. I just rolled down the embankment clutching my camera and my sketch book. I landed with them still in my grip. I believe to this day that the "dirt" from the Santuario de Chimayo kept me safe from serious injury.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Santuario de Chimayo

Watch this post for more info about what happened to me at the Santuary of Chimayo. It's the prequel to my fall.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Fall - How I Got the Name, Freeflyinglady

In September of 2006, I went to Santa Fe for a Watercolor Self Expression workshop. On the third day we visited Ghost Ranch where Georgia O'Keefe had done many of her paintings. We painted the surrounding landscape, sat though a thunder storm, and then left for the day. On the way home it was suggested that we take a detour to see some petroglyphs. It was necessay to climb a steep trail to see the carvings. On the way up, I stepped a little to the left to avoid a large cactus. The soil was soft from the rain. When I place my foot down, the earth gave way, and I went tumbling down the 200 foot embankment. I rolled over and over and just before I landed in a drainage ditch, my back landed on a huge rock. As I lay in the wet ditch, I was sure I had broken my back. I just lay there face down trying to catch my breath. Several of the ladies in our group rushed over to me. I just lay still, but after awhile I was able to get myself to a sitting position. My shoulder was killing me as well as my lower rib cage. My instuctor and my friend, Sue, drove me to the ER in Santa Fe. After x-rays were taken, the doctor determined that nothing was broken - just painful contusions. He gave me a prescription for a pain killer and a mild sleeping pill.

There's more to the story which I will relate at another time. The next morning at breakfast, we all decided that Freeflyinglady would be my new nickname. Oh, the painting is my emotional interpretation to my fall.

Petroglyphs Sketched by Carol Duchamp

My copies of Carol Duchamp's sketches.


Sketches of some of the petroglyphs Carol Duchamp climbed a steep hill to see.