Embraced by earth,
dug into the gentle hillside,
flooded with sunlight from south-facing windows,
indoor gardens lined with fuschia geraniums,
rosemary blooming sky blue
against dark green aromatic leaves,
lettuces cheerfully emerging in empty spaces
while a sage brush mesa stretches wide all around.
The pulse of earthly rhythms echoes in my soul. I have never lived in such harmony before.
There is no lock on our door. The desert clomps in on our boots, mingles with sage brush kindling debris, and is swept back out in our ‘cleaning spells’, but mostly reminds us we are in the earth, of the earth, made of earth itself. The line between our selves and earth is thin and ever vanishing. Sage swells with our gray water in the old arroyo, and offers kindling for our winter fires in return. We rise and set with the sun, follow its call out into its mid-day winter heat to pace across the wide swells of the mesa in its glory. Inside, the earth tucks us in her bosom. Her slow and quiet heartbeat murmurs next to ours. Our minds grow still and peaceful like layers of rock and soil slowly shifting over time, burrowed in contemplation.
An earthship is a style of dwellings designed by Mike Reynolds which feature earthen walls, huge south-facing windows, passive solar heat, and a plethora of ‘green’ construction and energy techniques. Built thirty years ago by our spritely landlady, Jenny Bird, on the Taos Plateau, our chocolate and sienna colored home is lined with blue, teal, and clear glass bottle walls that sparkle continuously through the day as the sun arcs in its low winter path overhead. In the summer, when the earth tilts, the sun brushes the angled roofline, dropping the entire house into indirect light that keeps the brunt of the desert heat off the dwelling. Gray stone floors and thick adobe walls built into the hill absorb warmth and re-radiate warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer.
This Earthship Home is our Teacher.
When we travel, touring our theater shows across the country, we puzzle over other constructions buffeted by winds, hammered on three sides by snow and sleet, leaking heat in all directions, windows shunning sun for ‘views’, oriented against their natural hillsides. Conventional houses now seem strange, disjointed, disoriented. We wonder what our world would look like if all houses were tucked into the earth and opened to the sun. And what would people be like if we lived between earth and sun, part of nature, not above it, embracing life’s forces, not resisting?
Learn more about these Earthship Houses. Visit them. Build them. Live in them. You will not regret NOR FORGET the adventure. (It may change your entire lives.)