Be Quiet

detail of sculpture,ceramic,wire,wood



I have been somehow drawn to a Native American woman selling jewelry on the plaza.

She is perhaps in her 80’s, sits alone on a store’s stoop a full block away from the Palace of the Governors portal

Under which sit close to 100 Indians who have driven from far-away teensy-tiny towns 

To participate in the daily lottery which decides who can stay to sell work.  All others turn around and make the long trip home and try again another day.

It is an extremely lucrative affair as there are many regulations ensuring buyers are purchasing authentic Native American work

Not produced in China.

The old woman sitting alone captivates me for a number of reasons;  her fortitude-showing up EVERY day no matter the weather.

I began waving to her a few months ago as I passed across the street.

Sometimes she’d acknowledge me..sometimes not.

One day I saw her in Starbucks at the table next to me.

Cathy: “Hello.  There is something about you that feels special and I always enjoy seeing you as I pass by. My name is Cathy”

Lady:  “I’m Rose.  I started the whole program for Indians to sell their work under the portal but it got too political and so I left.”

Cathy:  Incredulous, I wait for her next words..

Lady:  “You know…you don’t have to wave at me every time I see you.  You can just notice I am here and OK and I can do the same.  You don’t have to wave.”

My experience with Native Americans is that their tolerance for my anglo TRYING TO CONNECT feels like wasted energy and fairly base.  Turns them off.

Following this exchange the lady and I barely connect at all; barely looking at one another and definitely no off-putting gesticulating.

To me, it feels lonely and not satisfying.

And yet…with time I am settling into the quiet recognition she is trying to teach me.

I am learning to contain my white-girl overtness and feel the sacred beneath.

I am letting myself be taught.


One Response to “Be Quiet”

  1. Alexandra Eldridge on July 16th, 2017

    Wow, not easy, but good for you to let yourself be taught! You never stop learning. Big love, A.

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