Stone and Adobe Houses: Mora and San Miguel County, northern New Mexico
Marriage, death, hardship, crop failure or disease. It was not natural disaster. Drought possibly. They could have moved on, further west or even gone someplace back east. Maybe it was an opportunity to travel and pursue economic fortune or the promise of an easy life. Then there are those that simply moved to town and traded independence for the convenience of eggs and milk that they could purchase at the store…and schools and sidewalks and a bank account instead of chores.
These home made houses built of mud and stone, raw materials scratched and wrestled from the ground, with sweat and muscle rose to stand, provided shelter wife and man.
The children’s laughter, barking dogs and clucking hens are heard no more, the only sound a lonely one of wind, whistling round the door.
Who was the last to leave and walk away, the son, a tenant or hired hand? Did they turn and pause as they left the land? Where do the grandchildren live, of this last man?
Slowly these homes dissolve and fall, where grass and trees soon cover all. Family names and stories buried, under ground and only history books remember that men once built their homes of mud and stone.
Mora and San Miguel are poor counties to be sure, some of the poorest in the country but the air is clean, the water pure and quality of life is not always based on money.
The question then is sustainable. Is a global economy really sound? With climate change approaching where will you stake your ground? What place to raise the children where they are safe and sound. Who remembers how to build a house with materials mostly found?
One can only hope that now these folks have a better life than they did back at the farm. That life is easier for them and they found happiness. I wonder though what bird sings outside their window, are there flowers by the door. Is the water sweet and pure? Do neighbors still come calling to help them with the chores?