The Fabric of Life
Prayer-flag project puts hopes and memories in the wind.
Downtown artists and store owners are planning a new tradition in Silver City as a part of the annual Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) festivities this fall — the hanging of "prayer flags." Based on a history that goes back thousands of years, traditional prayer flags are made from small pieces of cloth, in many colors, bearing written messages and prayers on them. The flags are then strung together and placed outside in high places where the wind and elements slowly fade and disintegrate them. It is believed that as the flags are blown by the wind, their messages and prayers will spread good will, healing and compassion.
Example of “prayer flags.”
"This is a hands-on opportunity for community members to grieve and heal," says Ginny Wolf, one of the project's organizers, "and for all of us to grow in compassion and create a more peaceful world."
Gila Regional Medical Center, through its hospice program, and the Silver City MainStreet Project will partner with downtown businesses to launch the prayer-flag project. Flags will hang from storefronts from late October through Thanksgiving.
"Participating in the making of prayer flags can be a healing and powerful process," Wolf adds. "The flags can express general messages and hopes for the entire world or for one's local community. They can also be prayers for an individual or for a very personal, specific situation or need. They can honor a deceased loved one or request healing for a family member."
Flag-making workshops will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, and Oct. 6 at A Bead or Two, 703 N. Bullard, anytime from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Example flags and free materials, while supplies last, are at The Raven's Nest on Yankie Street. Completed flags are due by Oct. 12 and may be dropped off at A Bead or Two, Raven's Nest, Seedboat Gallery or the GRMC Hospice Office on Hwy. 180 East (formerly Ridgewood Motors).
"There are no hard and fast rules about creating a prayer flag," Wolf explains. "You really can't do it ‘wrong.' What is required is love in your heart and the desire to support, honor and strengthen a loved one or create a better world."
The fabric you choose, she says, should be thin, lightweight and cotton or a cotton/poly blend. It can be any color, although dark colors won't show any writing or pictures you create. Patterned fabric is also okay as long as the pattern doesn't interfere with the message. You can use fabric paint, sewn or glued appliqué, magic markers or just about any medium. Keep in mind that your flag will be strung with many others and hung out in the elements; make sure your flag doesn't get too heavy with added materials. You can sign or initial your flag if you choose. Don't put anything of great value to you on the flag, as individual flags will not be returned to their makers.
The size of the cut fabric should be 11.5 inches by 9.5 inches. One of the 9.5-inch edges will be hemmed a quarter-inch and this will be the top of your flag, attached for hanging. All other edges should remain "raw" or unsewn.
For more information, email GCPrayerFlags@yahoo.com or call the hospice office at (575) 574-4934.
A chance to contribute to local trail planning.
The Grant County Trails Group (GCTG), which supports interconnected trails throughout Grant County and within Silver City, wants to hear from you. The group is distributing a trail use survey for the San Vicente Trail located near the downtown area in Silver City. GCTG needs your input as a trail user or interested participant, to collect information that will contribute towards improving the trail. You can complete the survey online at www.research.net/s/sanvicentetrail, or pick up a hard copy at the Gila Resources Information Project office at 304 N. Cooper St. in Silver City. Responses to the survey will be collected through November.
GCTG works closely with the town of Silver City's Community Development Department and Silver City MainStreet, among others. Interested in joining? The next meeting is Thursday, Sept. 6, from 12-1 p.m. at the Grant County Community Health Council.
The group has recently been focused on developing a "Master Plan" for a complete trail system that will join Pinos Altos, Silva and San Vicente Creeks. Community members will be invited to participate in the Master Plan's community workshop at the September meeting.
For more information, contact Claire Catlett at Gila Resources Information Project by phone at (575) 538-8078, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pat Burtan-Edie is the "dog lady" of the border
by Jim Gillespie
My last four dogs came from the pound so I have a tender spot for folks who care for unwanted, injured and abused pets. About six months ago, I was chatting up a border buddy when Gorda, a pit bull, begged in. She had a recently sewn-up 10-inch gash on her side. My buddy said the "dog lady" had taken her to the vet and returned her to the owner. I fed her my burritos and began looking for a big-hearted gringa.
Eventually, Pat Burtan-Edie — the "dog lady" — shared her story over margaritas. Pat is a Scottish-American who migrated to New York at age 21. She took care of AIDS patients and homeless folks for 22 years. She then moved to Columbus 13 years ago, becoming a first responder on the Volunteer Fire Department ambulance. Now she works more on pet rescue.
That really got going when Pat heard stories about a tick-infested a catahoula leopard/pitt mix on the border between Palomas and Columbus. She made three trips searching for that dog. Finding the dog at last, Pat sat down close and called sweetly with an Edinburgh accent. The dog, which she later named Pinta, wagged into her arms. After being petted, Pinta hopped into the car. Pat took her to Sunshine Grooming. There, the groomer removed over 300 ticks and bathed the dog with kindness for free. Pinta ended in a good home thanks to Pat, who is now the pet rescue lady of the border.