New Mexico is known as the land of enchantment. I agree.
One of the reasons why Caroline and I chose the southern route to California, via 40 West, besides wanting to avoid the likelihood of snow via the northern route of 80 West, was our desire to see and feel New Mexico and to visit Santa Fe.
After leaving Tucumcari we continued west on 40. We popped in a meditational cd, Sacred Fire, by Kelvin Mockingbird, a wonderful collection of Native American flute music. Mockingbird is a son of the Dineh/Navajo Nation and his music is imbued with such mystical power that I feel transported to a land only visited in dreams.
I’m not sure if it was the music or the land or both, but New Mexico was flowing through me like a deep, silent meditation. The land stretched out on both sides of 40 West in sheets of bleached sand dotted by evergreen desert-shrubs. Distant mountains and bluffs guarded the horizons, faithful witnesses and record-keepers of the history of this land.
As Mockingbird’s flute breezed into my hearing, faint, inarticulate howls, like calls to worship, pressed into my soul. Was this only my wishful state of wanting to feel something mysterious and sacred? Or was there depth and substance to what I felt? Not wanting to remain in my head I allowed the inquiry to pass, unforced, as I returned to receptivity.
The feeling remained.
I imagined the land as it once was, before the White Invasion, when only the sons and daughters of 500 nations roamed freely throughout the continent. In this vision I saw nations, tribes, families, peoples at one with the seasons and the earth which they governed. I heard the thundering gallop of a thousand bison and felt the tremors of the land underneath their blitzing hooves. I smelled the sweat of their young warriors on the hunt for these bison, and for elk, and I caressed the faces of their women. All around, children laughed and played under the watch-care of their mothers and elders, braced by the nurturing strength of their people and customs.
The sky overhead was a cloudless blue and it seemed as though clouds and the rain they offer were unwelcome visitors in this parched land. Here in New Mexico, only the spirits know the secret of how things grow.
When I ‘awoke’ from my waking dream I was greeted only by the silence within our vehicle and the monotonous hum of the engine. A crow, its shimmering black feathers swooping low over the scorched desert, passed near as we sped by. In my rear-view mirror I saw the crow ascending toward the sun.
Flight, it seems, is the gift of this land of enchantment.