Taos - What a GORGEous Gorge

We started off our day dark and early at 5:45 a.m. to attend Catholic mass at Taos Pueblo, a Native American community outside of Taos. The cold air outside contrasted with the church's adobe interior that was warm in multiple ways — a khaki-scolding heater and a heart-warming sermon. After all, adobe is good insulation. Though choked by incense and baffled by when to kneel and chant, we left the church with a variety of new perspectives.

Whole local artisan bread had to wait until later in the week as we fulfilled our single-time need for scrumptious,  McDonald's biscuits.

Next, we visited a Hindu Ashram and walked around the temple grounds. A majestic peacock displayed his attempts at courting. We will never know if he was successful because we walked off to see the inside of the temple. As we were standing outside of it, Clint happened to mention how much he liked chai tea. By some happy coincidence, a man came out and offered us chai tea. It felt like something out of a movie. The tea was warm going down our throats, rich with spices. While exploring the Temple we drank the tea, and learned more about Hinduism. In short, the visit to the temple filled us with chai tea, hospitali-tea, and a peacock par-tea. 

After we saw some prairie dogs, we walked through the muddy field to Not Forgotten Outreach, a veteran's therapeutic center and farm. We held ducks and baby chicks, fed the Taos mayor's pure bred Hampshire pig, and learned how much friendlier goats are than alpacas and llamas. Beyond our animal interactions, we got to know those of Not Forgotten Outreach and the admirable work they are doing.

After quite the exciting morning of activities it was time for a much-needed a nap. Everything downstairs was quiet,  dark and peaceful until BAM! We were ambushed by Clint and Michael armed with Nerf guns that the pastor provided. It awoke us from our slumber and made us crave revenge, but not so hungry to overcome our bodies' needs for lunch.

After chowing down on some PB&Js, we visited the Rio Grande Gorge. Resemblant of the Grand Canyon, it cut into the earth, jagged and coalescing into a creek that ran through the landscape. It was very selfie-worthy and breathtaking view until Clint almost did a handstand over the railing. In total you could say, "it was gorge-ous."

Immediately after, we cruised down the highway to check out the Earthships. It is a community built with aluminum cans and beer bottles that are fused together in a mud matrix. We climbed up on the roof of one of the houses and were able to look at the beautiful land around us. We could see many more Earthships scattered all around the area, at the foot of the mountains and reminiscent of hobbit holes. As Michael put it, "I've never been in a place as unique as Taos."

Later in the grocery store, tensions were running high. We were divided over buying 5 lbs or 2 lbs of beef. Our bickering was brought back into perspective with an unexpected encounter with our habitat family. We met Augustine, his wife and three children as they were shopping for food to prepare Tuesday's lunch for us. 

Seeing them while we were arguing really shone a new light onto our situation as to why we are here. Our service is bigger than ourselves and this serendipitous meeting felt like fate. The relationships we will form with our group, Habitat family, and members of the Taos community are greater than we currently realize, and showed us how there is more meaning to our trip than beef tacos. 

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