Priscilla's World | A Week at Ghost Ranch
A Week at Ghost Ranch

Last week my friend, Kaze and I gloried in the glow of changing light on the multi-colored pillars of stone outside our door. This is a week set aside to work on the book we are writing.

It became so much more. A kaleidoscope of emotions visits us before our time at Ghost Ranch (northwest corner of New Mexico) is over.

We observe the one-year anniversary of my husband, Rodney’s death with ritual, candles, pictures and prayer. Then during the week we learn of the death of two beloved colleagues, Robert Shropshire and Frank Hilliard.

We read many tributes to these two men as they arrive by email. Then we tell stories of our memories of them.

We take two breaks from our writing during the week to give our brains a fresh perspective. First, we drive to Taos Pueblo. I purchase a ring to commemorate a year of living alone. The shop is called, Ancient Alive. The stone is spiny oyster … which I had never heard of. They tell us that is being used now since we are destroying the coral in the sea.

Our second break is a drive over a scenic dead-end road to the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert. We buy their latest CD, blessings, peace and harmony which we are told is at the top of the music charts. That is the charts of chants. It is peaceful to listen to while we are writing.

As we prepare to leave New Mexico, Kaze for Arizona and me for Kansas, we receive word that Sheldon Hill’s life on this earth is finished. Closer than a brother to both Rodney and me…the pain of this loss is deep and yet tempered by the fact that Sheldon no longer suffers.

As to our writing, Kaze says it best, “We are writing about when God has touched our lives. We are writing about those particular times where the air thinned between heaven and earth and we are transported to a different plane of existence, we are jolted out of our presuppositions, the foundations shake, the world stops and we are so twirled around that we move in a different direction. Our lives become defined by that event and afterwards we wear a different set of lens to see the world. It is not only that we see the world bathed in holiness in that moment, we glimpse something fundamentally true, something eternal, something profound and we are never quite the same.

An abortion challenges my arrogance. Ducks call forth my protectiveness. A woman’s pain draws me into compassion, a bird watch reveals my relatedness to all creation, and laughter brings healing to a death.

Each story opens the veil and reveals another aspect of standing on holy ground, of being visited by an angel, of being touched by the Holy. We are never the same after one of these visitations although others may look at us carefully; they only know that we have somehow been altered.”