Day 7: Elements of the Earth Workshop (Day 3)

 Greetings Family and Friends,

Digging Clay in El Rito, NM:

Our journey begins with a drive to Carson National Forest in El Rito, NM.  According to the sign at the Ranger Station the Fire Danger is “Low.”  Whew, what a relief.  The entire trip from the Poeh Center is about 75 miles to Petaca and then 7 miles on a dirt road up to the site where we could start digging.  As we got closer to the site, Clarence slowed the car down.  He searched for natural signs within the soil and rock that would hopefully lead us to the correct consistency of clay.  After about thirty minutes of searching, we found a pocket a clay to extract. 

As an offering to the earth, before we start digging, we spread blue cornmeal on the ground.  A prayer is said, giving thanks to the earth for the clay we are about to take.  The digging began with a pickaxe, which Clarence wielded.  The pickaxe easily pierced the tough surface of the clay and broke it into manageable pieces.  These pieces were gathered into five gallon buckets.  We filled 4 five gallon buckets with clay. 

Once we finished collecting the clay, we said another prayer to the earth and spread blue cornmeal as an offering.  Clarence says, “we must do this in order to help heal the wound that we created.”  We moved the extra soil and debris back over the hole we made, trying our best to leave the area as it was.  Clarence pointed out spots before we arrived that were clearly not treated in the same manner.  “Respect must be given to the earth, because the earth sustains us. It is our mother.”

Streets Paved in Glitter:

Mica, which I know to be in some potting soil brands, has a shiny flaky surface.  Mica in Latin means “to glitter.”  So imagine this flaky substance in your hands.  You notice it is reflective, it shines in the sunlight and it flakes very easily into paper thin sheets.  Now image this.  This material covering the ground, blinding in the sunlight, like gold and diamonds.  Large hunks of mica were placed in my hand.  I rubbed it gently and little tiny sheets coated my skin.  The sheets of mica were everywhere and it was other wordly. (see video, doesn’t show up too well, but trust me, glitter was everywhere)

A Lunch in the Forest:

Cecilia was worried sick about her poor Peach Cobbler, which, of course, turned out incredible.  This was but one of the delicious things we had for lunch.  Cecilia and Kim made a friend in the shape of a blue beetle.  Since I am an amateur entomologist, I had to look it up.  Apparently, it is referred to as a Pleasing Fungus Beetle(see picture) and according to Cecilia and Kim, it didn’t like cherries.  After we ate and talked, it started to rain and we had to leave.  The clay and mica elements in the soil make it very slippery when wet, so we had to leave in a hurry or else risk being stuck out in the wilderness.

Los Alamos, Maybe?:

Close Encounter’s of the Third Kind was one of the first movies I remember watching as a kid and so, would have a tremendous impact on my life later on.  I am very interested in the unknown and therefore, want to believe.  X-files only seemed to compound my interest in Science Fiction and the unknown.  Los Alamos is pretty close and I am thinking…hmmm?  Could we possibly take a swing out to the base there and possibly catch some UFO encounters?  A resounding silence is all I got.  So among all the footage I will collect on this trip none, I am sorry to say, will capture a UFO, but you never know.

Return to Poeh Center and Breaking Down the Clay:

Cecilia and Kim were asleep from the after effects of an apparent tryptophan laced Peach Cobbler.  Clarence and I almost succumbed to its effects, so we had to stop off for some caffeine.  We made it back to the Poeh Center and unloaded our clay goods.  The second part of clay processing is its introduction to water, assisting in the breaking down of clay particles.  The clay was divided into 8 buckets and water was introduced, saturating the materials.  Pebbles, rocks, roots, and insects will later be separated out when the clay is completely broken down.  This process usually takes 1-2 days.

Video of the Day:

Watch as we: drive to Carson National Forest, look for and collect the clay, drive through the rain, and finally enjoy the silence as Cecilia and Kim sleep gently.

Pictures of the Day:


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