I don’t mean to brag, but *looks around to make sure everyone is listening because I’m actually totally bragging* I’m kind of great at being an adult sometimes.
I got up at 6:45 (the one in the morning) yesterday to meet a friend for breakfast. 6:45!!
‘Member Santa Fe Chris from yesterday’s post? He introduced me to Iconik Coffee Roasters, where we met yesterday morning for an 8 a.m. breakfast. Lemme just tell you: That place makes a mean cuppa joe. I ordered a cappuccino to go with my toast (dripping with butter om-nom-nom) and eggs and dang, friends – super tasty.
After Chris left for work I stayed to internet for a bit and ordered another cup, this time of their El Salvador roast (with notes of “cocoa, toasted marshmallow, and almond”). I’m not great at being the kind of adult that can taste notes of toasted marshmallow, however, so while I can say it was good, I can’t say if it actually tasted like campfire s’mores or not.
After doing some work-work (yay free wifi!), I ultimately decided four hours in one coffee shop was long enough, and left to wander around the area for a bit. Since getting into town I kept passing shops with all these amazing colors and textures just kind of exploding out of them, so I chose the biggest one I could find and went in. A place called Jackelope on Cerillos. It’s basically a flea market for art, jewelry, rugs, home decor, etc.
I must’ve ambled my way through that place for a good two hours before all was said and done. The colors in that place were just – wow, man. Brilliant. Larger than life. Everything demanded to be seen. And the textures! Everything needed to be touched. Weathered wooden shelves; bowl after bowl of clay figures and crosses and charms; strings of beads in turquoise and gold and brown and white and red of all sizes, shapes, and weights; feathers and hides; glass and stone and bone…
The last space I visited was filled with rugs. Not the giant furniture room (for those who know the place), but the smaller tent-like area near the front of the property. I asked the man in the tent about one of the larger pieces on display – a coarse brown and white striped area rug – and he told me it’s woven from the hair of desert sheep in Afghanistan. It’s better than the softer sheep if you live somewhere where it gets very cold, he told me. If I ever raise desert sheep I guess now I’ll know another use for them.
He said that’s where all his rugs come from – Afghanistan – which lead us into a half hour of sitting on rugs and chatting about the importance of seeing clearly from the deepest parts of ourselves so we will not miss the beauty in the shapes and patterns all around us.
Because what else would one talk about in a rug shop?
He walked me through the story behind one particular rug from Kunduz, which I didn’t ask the price of because I knew I couldn’t afford it but that I’d want to buy it anyway. He said it it was woven by a 15 year old girl who designed the picture herself and was very proud of it. He said he asked her to tell him the story behind her design so he would know how beautiful it was instead of just how nice it was.
“People buy rugs from me because they are tired of buying, ah, plastic. You know what this means? They want something real. Not so much plastic all the time. These,” he spread his arms to encompass the room. “They are made with people’s hands. You know. Shhk-shhk-shhk. Looms.” He mimed throwing shuttlecocks. “No machines. No plastic. I am tired of plastic too.”
He unrolled the girl’s rug on the floor between us, and we straightened out the edges, finding patterns to trace with our fingers as he began sharing his understanding of the story the girl had woven into it.
“I don’t know if you believe in God,” he began. “Maybe you are Christian? Maybe Muslim? Maybe you are not any of these things? Maybe you believe in nothing at all. But still this is a good rug for prayer, and to sleep on, and to dream on. I will show you why.”
“This,” he pointed at a square at the bottom of the rug, “is a house with a door, you see?”
I nodded. I saw the door.
“And you see how the top of the house is like an arrow that points up up up to the sky? And here on all sides there are these squares that represent deserts. You don’t know these deserts,” he dismissed those squares with a wave of his hand, “but you know this one. You see how there are pyramids here?”
I nodded. I saw the deserts. I saw the pyramids.
“And as we go through new doors like this one under the arrow of the roof, we are moving the way we are supposed to move. We are moving forward. We are going up. And there are deserts all around. So many deserts. But you see this arrow at the top of the rug? This arrow that points to the blue and the green of the sky?”
I nodded. I saw the sky.
“This is where we must always look. Always look at where we are going, not at the deserts. We must keep our eyes open to see clearly the doors and the deserts. To see when things are beautiful. Our eyes,” he pointed to his face and patted his heart. “Our eyes must be opened to see clearly what is truly beautiful so we will see where the doors are. Where the arrows are pointing us.”
He didn’t ask if I wanted to buy it, only for my name. He shared his – Mohammed – and thanked me for listening to the story. I thanked him for sharing it, for his time, for the philosophy lesson. He invited me back. “You do not need to come here to shop. If you come, we will sit. Talk. Other people will buy the rugs!” he laughed.
I wish I had gone back. I didn’t plan well enough for it. Not returning will be a regret for this trip.
As for the rug, I didn’t take a picture of it. But you don’t need one. And really neither do I. Whatever your brain is supplying, whatever your deserts and doors look like, draw it for yourself. It will be enough.