The little town of Laguna, New Mexico sits on the north side of I-40, midway between Albuquerque and the Arizona line. A church sits at the top of a hillock, surrounded by adobe houses all resembling the red dirt on which they sit.
If you blink or look too long at your dashboard you’ll miss this wisp of a town. More like a village, there’s no polluting industry or neon lights to blind the stars. It’s monochrome, except for the white church sitting at its summit. On this day Pepsi trucks lined the lined the tight little streets. They were there to film a new soft drink commercial and looked totally out-of-place.
Amid all the foreign trucks and cars, hand painted signs declared “Indian Pottery Sold Here.” Arrows pointed the way that ended at a screen door of a tiny house. “Come in,” a voice sounded. Evelyn and Lee Ann sat inside the house’s kitchen working with Native American pottery in various stages of completion.
The rust-colored town and the screen-doored house were home to the woman credited with the rebirth of Laguna pottery. Her works are found in the museums and private collections of folks who know beauty when they see it. Surprising to find such a treasure in a town you can miss at 75 miles per hour.
Evelyn is dead now. She will throw no more of her classic Laguna pots, but those who discovered her surely felt pleasure in knowing that such a poor, unamazing town could contain something as wonderful as Laguna pottery. Beauty coming from the dirt.
The writer of Genesis described creation as God fashioning mud into a human and then breathing life into it. It seems fitting that the apostle Paul told Corinthian Christians that they were like common clay pots carrying the immense beauty of the Good News.
Sorta like Evelyn Cheromiah taking New Mexican soil and spinning it into vessels that carry admiration and pleasure to the people who collect them.