This Journal has a number of accumulated links with much information for the reader who wishes to explore details about the unique community of Crestone. I have written this Journal as a future reference point for those who are curious about Crestone, and also for those who may be planning to come for a visit.
It is a blustery April day in Crestone. This afternoon brings overcast and stormy skies, very cool thermometer readings, and the promise of an evening fire to warm the house. A shower of snow grains passed through earlier, leaving a misting trail of welcome drizzle which is now turning into an evening snow of rapidly falling broad and heavy snowflakes.
Temperatures outside are just above freezing on this lazy Sunday. A mug of bone broth is warming, pleasing, and nourishing. The logs are split out and stacked, and soon the chill in the house will be replaced by the warmth from the hearth.
At an altitude of 8000 feet, with an average of 300+ sunny days in a year, the night skies usually offer unimpeded views of the Milky Way and constellations. On this night the moon will be over half full, but, like the mountain tops and the stars, it will be hidden from view by the overcast conditions. The nearby mountain tops are presently shrouded in a dense blanket of clouds, indicating that the 14,000 foot peaks are immersed in a heavy fall of snow which will extend throughout the night.
As our local mix of winter and spring weather conditions push and pull through the last days of April, the leaves are just beginning their spring show, and garden preparations are in progress. When warm days arrive, the mountain snow pack will begin to fade from the mountain tops. The elk will migrate from lowland herd sites of 7500-8000 feet, and move back into the cooler summer climes of the mountain’s higher altitudes.
A once feral cat that came out of this same wild to live with us, now rests peacefully in her whiskered sphinx-like repose of meditative stillness. The wind gong outside responds to the air, and registers its movement. A distant coyote calls into the advancing dusk which is falling in a luminous white.
My former years of living in the compression of big city energy seem long ago, and rather far away now. Life at the end of our long county road has washed over me like waves at the seaside. My boyhood association with the rhythms of nature has returned to smooth out what remains of a once overly busy life. As memories of my former metropolitan life style fade away, a spiritual repose presides more naturally in my inner world.
In moving here from upper crust, new age, compressed, and somewhat noisy Boulder in 2007, I created an opportunity to expand into new and fresh experiences. As a result, over these past 8 years I have found myself falling more effortlessly into a quieter center. By moving to this outlying edge community, I was able to let go of some superficial aspects of my life which I may have been trying to hold on to, and defend. Somewhere in the journey, one must become aware of one’s own identity crisis and entanglements, and be willing to release things which impede inner recognition. For me, this began to happen almost unconsciously when I moved to Crestone, and I have appreciated this effect more over time.
In such a powerful and beautiful natural setting as Crestone, a community of 1000 people spread out along 6 miles of mountain slopes, it is easy to let nature (Divinity) in. It is hard to hold it out, especially since it is already who we are.
Our city is in the county of Saguache in south central Colorado, a county which has the land mass more than twice the size of Rhode Island (3200 square miles vs. 1500 square miles). There are 2 blinking stop lights on all of the roadsides in the whole county; just to slow down and caution the fast moving types. There still isn’t a full-on stop light serving this county of less than 7000 people.
Life in Crestone enables one’s natural spiritual life force to hold sway more freely. One only has to relinquish oneself into an immersion of such. The boat rows more gently down the stream of life here. My study and progress of healing and spirit are less encumbered by distractions which predominated in earlier days.
It has been said by many that the veil between the dimensions is thin here in Crestone. Sometimes as I gaze into the light from our skies, mountains, and double rainbows, I become overtaken by such a knowing, and a greater presence of spirit. Divinity’s presence is inclusive here. To deny it would take a conditioned and a conscious effort. Healing is facilitated by the natural energies which abound in this sacred location.
Recently, a nice 3 minute news brief was aired on a Denver television channel about our fair town, highlighting its emergence as “the spiritual center of Colorado.” Please have a viewing of this pleasant bit of broadcasting. Our own Matthew Crowley is the well chosen spokesperson to share the narrative about some of Crestone’s charm and unique spiritual draw.
Aside from Crestone’s many and varied spiritual centers, there are a couple of other very special spiritually oriented offerings and movements which I have written about in previous Journal entries. I wish to summarize and list some of these writings all in one place.
Crestone End of Life Project
The most unique spiritual ritual of Crestone is probably the offering of open air cremation as a choice for celebrating end of life. Crestone is the only community in the United States where this kind of end of life ceremony occurs. This service is conducted by the Crestone End of Life Project. I wrote about my immersion and experience at one of these ceremonies in this Journal entry.
Camino de Crestone
Another nice service has been developed for those who want to come to Crestone and experience a walking tour of ashrams, zendos, stupas, retreats, labyrinths, temples, tekkes, medicine wheels, sweat lodges, and sanctuaries. As the world’s first interfaith pilgrimage, this tour is arranged to last 7 days.
Such is the Camino de Crestone, organized by William and Barbara Howell, and is offered during selected weeks of June through September; our months of mild and lovely weather. This is a life-affirming and life-transforming type of walk-about; encompassing some of the local spiritual establishments of our community, and includes all meals, lodging, and presentations. I have also written about the Camino de Crestone in this past Journal entry.
To further whet your appetite for past journalistic efforts to describe the spiritually oriented features of this community, I invite you to read some of the articles which are linked in this Journal. This compilation includes recent reports from US News and World Report, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as other informative articles published in other writings.
Finally, I tried to encapsulate a few more ordinary and everyday features about life in Crestone in an earlier Journal which was written in May, 2010, “About Crestone, Colorado.”
We hope you will come and see.
The land all about is now white, the wind is still, and the fire is warm. The whiskered cat is now on her usual nocturnal patrol in the great outdoors. Tomorrow the snow will melt down into the ground on a new sunny day.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond.