Service Corps

If you had told me that I’d actually enjoy tearing out old cabinets and measuring counter tops, learning to use the power drill and sander (or actually sanding at all), I’d have said, No that doesn’t sound like me.

I’ve never been particularly good at or interested in house projects and repair, but here I am loving our tearing apart and putting together work, loving being part of our little service corps team at Ghost Ranch.  

Yesterday we took apart a bookshelf. Today, moving dinosaur bones and pulling out a dusty rug. Tomorrow, blue taping the walls and preparing to put on a coat of fresh paint and add some new life to this little room.  

I’ve scurried up scaffolding and popped out rivets, plastered holes in the wall and sanded them smooth, learned how to measure the space between two walls. 

For sure, its the gift of our wonderful foreman, Art, who patiently shows us how to do such things.  Yes, wonderful teammates, Mark and Eric. 

Yes, good work that gets me out of my head spinning and into the slow presence of now. Slowed to the specificity of tape measures and pencil markings, slowed to the careful blue taping of the edges of walls and rinsing paint brushes. Slow enough to be present.

The agreement is to serve 25 hours a week for such things as painting and plastering, and then for a nominal fee, receive the gift of room and board and Ghost Ranch.

Every morning I’m up in the dark following the beam of my headlamp down the dirt road to the highway or out past Georgia O’Keefe’s house. Back for morning yoga, a bowl of hot oatmeal, eggs and green salsa and back to work. 

Days marked tracking the orange sunrise and sunset, the slow moonrise and changing light on the mesa, red and tan, now dark purple and gold. In between, good company, good work, great joy.

Over the next two weeks I’ll hike all the trails, get caked with slippery ruddy mud that sticks like plaster to my pants and boots (and still’s here on my boots weeks later), leaving a fine trace of red dust and Ghost Ranch wherever I go. All the while, the snow, slowly melting, the moon quietly growing.  

Sometimes I’m surprised by remembering something from years ago, like that silent watcher in stone that towers above the path to Box Canyon.  

Early one morning, I stop on the trail. Hear, Receive.

I look up, open my hands. I do, I am. Receive it all.

Am I the one “serving” or is this place serving me?

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