Joined at the Heart · Mouths of Babes · Writers Write

Spiritual Home

We took the girls and their cousin, Rascal, to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. Rascal was sure it was pronounced “O’Keeffie.” We harassed her into the correct pronunciation. This summer’s exhibition was a comparative exhibit of O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Many of the same scenes were displayed side-by-side, Adams silver gelatin prints juxtaposed with O’Keefe’s view in oil. They captured the soul of the land with brush and lens.

The girls were precocious, asking appropriate questions and choosing their favorites in each hall. They were the only children in the museum, and it was fun to watch adult arrogance wither with the girls’ observations. At the end of the visit, we watched a short documentary of O’Keeffe’s life. I’d seen the film before and warned the girls about the nude Steglich photos of O’Keeffe in the presentation. After the first one, Coco sidled up to me, “Is that it Mama? The naked one?” As if it was in doubt.

It’s funny. I remembered the naked pictures, but I’d forgotten what O’Keeffe said. Since I didn’t write down the words, I’ll paraphrase.

New Mexico is my spiritual home. It’s the place I feel comfortable in my own skin.

That’s how I feel about Holy Ghost. It’s my spiritual home. What is it about water slapping against rocks in the creek or aspen leaves shimmering in the wind that makes me comfortable? I’m writing this on Bacon’s old laptop in the front seat of the minivan. A cold rain is imminent. Without the internet or email to check, I haven’t read a newspaper in a week or watched television. Why is it necessary to live in this narrow canyon for two weeks a year?

I just know that it is.

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