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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reflections on a long weekend

It has been a couple days since the long labor day weekend has come to a close and I am still feeling a little sad that the weekend is gone and past. Jamie's parents flew to Albuquerque from Washington D.C. on Friday evening and they visited our house for the first time. They brought gifts from Jamie's grandfather: a handmade table made of cherrywood that Jamie's grandfather cut on his land in upstate New York. The table is beautiful and it really reminded me how much beauty and utility humans are able to produce if they just make the effort. Then we were off to the casita we rented in Santa Fe. Despite living in Albuquerque for a little over a year, I really haven't spent much time in Santa Fe; most of the time I have spent in the area were Salam Academy field trips! So, together as a family, we set out to discover Santa Fe as tourists.

On Saturday morning we slept in a little bit and then walked to the Santa Fe farmer's market and craft fair. The farmers market was huge! I could not believe how many small organic farms were in attendance. I was particularly interested in a Montessori school that had adapted farming and selling produce and other products into their curriculum. The students learn to grow plants and do all the labor involved in producing food. They harvest the food and bring it to market and use the money they make to buy seeds, plants, and materials for the next year. The students learn biology, botany, horticulture, finance, budgeting, carpentry, mathematics, and the value of hard work while living healthy and spending time outside. It is a model for schools that is growing in popularity and I think could really improve the educational system as it currently exists. Learning about this school made me miss teaching and look forward to my next teaching opportunity!

On Sunday, Jamie, his dad, and I went with a guide to the Pecos River to learn how to fly fish. The guide used thin colored string and wound it around very small hooks in such a way that they perfectly resembled different species of flies and their larvae. There is one fly that floats and one that sinks at the end of each fishing line. The line is cast out about 20 ft and the floating "fly" floats by with the current of the river. The caster carefully watches the floating fly and if it jerks and is pulled underwater, the fisher pulls the rod up and back to "hook" the fish. At first, I could not jerk the rod back quick enough and while Jamie was catching lots of fish, I was not. But, eventually, with lots of coaching, I was able to catch many fish. We caught rainbow trout and brown trout. The brown trout are usually smaller and are a brownish gold color with pink spots. The rainbow trout are an iridescent pink and green. The fish are truly beautiful and are smarter than you would expect. They watch the flies go by and often observe the fly and choose not to eat it. When they do eat it, they instantly spit it out when they taste the metal, which is why it is so important to pull the rod quickly, or you will lose the fish. We released all the fish that we caught and there were not any fatalities, just a fun day trying to take advantage of evolution and use our faculties to trick another species while enjoying the great outdoors. And, great are the outdoors near Santa Fe. It was beyond lovely to be up to my knees in cool rushing river water. I often found myself neglecting the fishing and simply observing the fish and the water, the trees and the rocks. The air is cooler and crisper there and I couldn't help but sit and smile in the warm sunshine.

Monday was the end of our little vacation and upon waking we needed to pack up the car and move out of our casita. But first, Jamie and I walked to the N.Y. Deli and they actually had bagels that brought back the sweet taste of home. Bagels and coffee were a great way to start the day, but the day only got better from there. We drove with a very full car, lots of bags, 4 people, Gnasher, and his crate, to the Santa Fe ski basin and hiked a trail named Aspen Vista. It was a lot cooler at that altitude and the ecosystem was completely different. Grasses, low shrubs, and Aspen trees dominated. Aspens are all interconnected by their root systems and some people believe that large Aspen groves are actually the largest living organism. The trail was a bit steep and Jamie's parents were not used to the altitude so we took t nice and slow. Gnasher does not take things slow and he found another dog to spring up and down the mountain with. He exhausted himself and slept like a baby while we drove from Santa Fe up the back of the Sandias on the Turquoise Trail. We hiked to the spot Jamie and I got married last year and had some snacks and watched the sunset to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary.

Tuesday brought me back to the farm fields, but I did teach yoga on Tuesday night at Nishtha Yoga where I earned my teacher certification. I am now teaching at the studio every Tuesday evening! It is challenging and rewarding at the same time. At the beginning of class, I am always nervous and excited at the same time and at the end I know I am one class better at teaching. Every class is an adventure!

How was your long weekend? What have you learned this week?