She taught me about the way of things and about the gifts that lay all around us.
Her lessons were taught in the old way, through stories and songs.
I learned the most in the winter months when the deserts clay colored floor was draped in thick high desert snow.
She burned Hickory and Birch logs in her old cast iron stove and filled the small cottage with the scents of the earth.
I learned many things beside the warmth of that old stove. She would sit in her straight backed wooden chair and talk for hours while chain smoking her thin,long, brown wrapped menthol Mores. Running her earth toned hand up and down her mean cats arching back.
I remember the way she would pause and stare at me before breaking out into a smile full of tobacco stained crooked teeth. How she would laugh and call me Big City while smoking menthol's and drinking sweet coffee.
I waited out mean winter storms and sat through the angriest of monsoons while listening and learning within the thin drafty walls of her tiny cottage.
She showed me where God lived. And assured me that my path would always lead me back to here.
I learned how to carve the soft roots of the cotton tree. She taught me my first Peyote stitch.
But most of all she taught me the history of who I was, who we were.
Her lessons have proved more useful than any of the lies I was made to remember in public school.
The teachings by firelight,wrapped in a home spun blanket while drinking scorching hot chocolate made with mint leaves and love.
Her voice I still hear as clear as the sirens that pass outside my window.
The voice that lives inside my head is her voice still teaching me in the old way. The only real way there is to know.