Monday, March 20, 2017

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Cardigan: Secondhand, Steal | Splurge
Ring: Vintage (see story below), Inspired
Location: Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, NV

I just got back from a mini-roadtrip with my boyfriend through the West, and I'm so in love with the desert now. Sometimes, I think all we need is a quick getaway to clear our heads and make some sense of things we so often unconsciously carry on our shoulders. I feel lighter, just in time for Spring. And in my standard fashion, it was a fulfilling, yet extremely frugal adventure, as we loaded the car with pre-made meals and slept on layers of blankets in the back. Ahh, to be a broke grad student... :)

Henry and I stopped at all kinds of beautiful, random, unique places, like the Seven Magic Mountains art installation above. But I have to say, of all the magical and divine moments on my trip, the one surrounding my new turquoise ring had to be the most special: 

We pulled up to a tiny antique shop in the sparse town of Morristown, Arizona called Trading Co - 123. A petite woman named Catherine greeted us at the door and as I browsed the antique Native American rings, she spoke to me about how she had acquired the business, and how, after the death of her husband (who was more of the expert), she was now really diving in deep with learning more about the predominately Native American pieces in her shop. Most of the rings didn't fit, nor could I really afford them, so I wandered around and spotted some antique Navajo baskets, which I've been looking to find for quite some time. After a quick haggling sesh, I walked away feeling like I had scored a 3-for-1 special (which I guess I technically did). I expressed my gratitude for her generosity, and we chatted for a little while longer about my schooling and the future of acupuncture and then said our goodbyes. 

But just as we were about to climb into the car, she came out of the shop to stop us and said she had some "Apache tears" for us.

"Hold our your hands, but don't look yet," she said as she filled our palms with two small objects. Then she proceeded to explain how the Apache Indians believed black obsidian was a stone of protection and that it warns the wearer of evil. She wished us a safe journey and then said, "Ok, you can open your hands now." 

In my right palm was a tiny black obsidian and a 1898 Indian head penny. I assumed Henry had the same. We were extremely touched, and gave her one last bear hug before leaving.

Once in the car, Henry turned on the ignition and then stopped and turned towards me. 

"Hold out your hand," he asked, and as I did, he slipped a turquoise and sterling silver ring on my index finger -- the only ring I had tried on in the shop that had actually fit.

"WHAT?? How did you know that one was the only one that fit? ... When did you even buy it? You were with me the whole time!" I was genuinely surprised and confused and yet, utterly elated. 

While Catherine had given me an Indian head penny with my gemstone (which I then immediately gifted to Henry!), she had filled his hand with the ring, knowing he'd know what to do with it. 

Not only was it an exceptionally thoughtful and generous act provided by a woman we only came to know for an entire 10 minutes, but she afforded us the opportunity to share a magical, sweet bonding moment that we'll remember forever.

Acts of kindness, guys. That's the theme of this all. A little selflessness really does go a long way, and it has a ripple effect. I'll never forget Catherine and her sweet spirit, and I hope to have that same effect on many lives around me. 

Don't forget to ask yourself on a daily basis: What simple thing can I do today make someone's day brighter? 

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