I have had amazing teachers from all over the world, but my favorite teachers are the everyday people who teach just by being who they are. I think of Ronnie, our Navaho guide for out vision quests in Canyon de Chelly. Ronnie died last year. But I cherish the memory of finding her and her partner Eleanor in my driveway one night after work a couple of years ago. I live 3 miles up a dirt road about 25 miles from Santa Fe. They did not have my address. They were five hours away from Chinle, their home. I asked how on earth they had found me! Ronnie replied, with a smile, "The Indian way. Can we have some lemonade?"
Over lemonade I learned about "the Indian way". " First, we went to the gas station down by Pecos," Ronnie told me. I replied that I don't do business there. "Yeah, they told me" Ronnie said. "so then I went to the post office, only it was closed". "Then what?" I asked. "Well", she answered, "we looked at a phone book at the store and found out you live on La Cueva Road."
By now, I was starting to wonder why she didn't just call me on her cell phone. "That's three miles of dirt road with twenty houses on it". I said. "Yup" Ronnie said. "So we remembered you had a green Isuzu." I replied sarcastically, "Oh sure, you drove into every driveway till you found my green Isuzu".
"Yup" said Ronnie. "That's how we found you. The Indian way". She and Eleanor both found this story...and my disbelief....hilarious. As they drove away to a family reunion in Oklahoma, I stood in the driveway (next to the green Isuzu) feeling stunned and grateful....that they had bothered to visit me, that they had taken the time to find me "the Indian way". That night I dreamed for hours of beautiful multicolored Navaho sand paintings...