It is my understanding that many Native Americans place their homes so that the opening is to the east. This is so that the morning sun will wake them, warm them, and bring good things into their lives that day. My house has two doors. One that faces west and one that faces east. The one facing west is the front door according to the builder. I can’t really say we have a back yard and a front yard as it is more or less all one yard. But I am glad that the so-called back door faces east. It is the door I always look out first thing every morning. Of course that is where I let the dogs out as soon as I get up, so of course I look out it. It opens up onto a small yard where I have a desert garden of sorts. Behind the little garden is about 2 areas of true desert, made up of mostly sagebrush and tumbleweeds. So far the owner of those 2 areas has never shown his face around here that I know of and I hope he/she never does. It would just really ruin my view if a house were ever built there. From there I can look across a few more areas of desert, across a large arroyo, more desert that has a gradual rise to it, and then far in the distance I see the Sandia Mountains that are to the east of Albuquerque. Do to that little desert ridge I get to miss seeing a big residential area to the west of Albuquerque.
Every morning I watch the sun rise over the north end of the Sandia Mountains. Many times there is a yellow, and orange sunrise just as that big ball of fire tips its way over the mountain. On summer days it shines down onto the desert foretelling the shearing dry heat of another day. Other times, after a rain, the sun lights up each drop of water that still sits on the sage and cactus, or hangs off the my wire fence as if it were a sparkling diamond. On winter days after a snow I watch as the sun first spotlights the white expanse of desert and then gradually melts the white stuff into a life-giving but muddy mess.
Every morning I do as the Native Americans do and give a simple thank you that the sun did come up and that I am still alive to appreciate it. I listen to the singing of a curved bill thrush that is building a nest in a nearby cactus. I marvel at the beauty of the new leaves on the trees that I planted last year, and laugh at the antics of my one-year-old Border Collie, Tuffee. I let the cats out and watch as Murphy, our black tomcat climbs up a fence post, and sits there looking off to the east, as if he, too, is watching the sun come up and saying thanks to it. Who knows, maybe he really is.