Driving north to the Sanctuario is beautiful. The air is crisp, the trees are pewter and the land asleep. I am going there for the famous holy dirt and to buy a medal of St. Francis and have it blessed at the altar of the old church. There is a priest at the church that no longer serves and now ninety-seven and I rarely see him but think about his good heart. As we drive Lupine takes in the vast open space and the snow on Truchas peak which is meager at this time. Her senses are keen. The parking lot at the church is filled with birds in the bare trees and I walk up the path to the church where stick crosses are woven into the chain link fence. There are photos of people and animals in need of prayer like a runway of hopeful miracles. As I get closer to the place behind the church where it is said the cross of Christ is buried in the land and is holy dirt I see the old priest. There has been a small service and he is walking out with two young women talking to him and he is blessing them and I stand close to gain from that blessing.

When I walk to the tiny shop that sells Milagros,medals and Chimayo chile I am greeted by a woman that asks me how I am and I tell her about my dog. She tells me she had a dog that was part white wolf and is not aware of Lupine having a mother that was arctic wold, and she hands me a medal that is a paw with a prayer by St. Francis on it. I take the medal to the church and the priest is gone but I go up to the altar and place it below the carved cross of Christ and pray quietly. I ask for simple things for Lupine and for our journey and leave the church.

As I wander through the grounds I see crosses pressed into the large trees, roses, and photos. Looking out into the landscape there is a large black and white bull resting in the field. I shoot pictures. I let Lupine smell around the grounds and then we head for home.


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