Sunday, June 12, 2011
"The hallmark of the wild nature is that it goes on. It perseveres." Dr. Estes "Women (and men) Who Run With The Wolves"
I drove down from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in April 2005, crossing from El Paso, Texas, into Ciudad Juarez, down into Chihuahua (stopping for the night)...to Gomez Palacio, the night...Aguascaliente, the night. The journey took me five days of driving, into San Miguel- I wouldn't drive that journey today with all the drug cartel violence, with my New Mexico license plates. I couldn't find the International Crossing from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez and while lost I saw an older man in a wheel chair trying to bump himself up a curb, gave up, stood up, and lifted the wheel chair to the sidewalk, continued on his way. A teen spitting fire in the middle of morning traffic, almost every one waiting for the light to change gave him money. The foot bridge from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso packed with morning workers, and I thought of the hundreds of women violated, murdered in Juarez, which made me want to give up and turn back to my own country, the USA. Where the 'code alert spectrum' was in full swing in honor of our president's 'shock and awe' show in Iraq, creating millions of new terrorists daily...but my country needed that oil (as we've been bombing Libya for the same reason in May/June 2011...the true/real reason). So my nightly dreams were filled with people being bombed, children dying, mothers/fathers weeping...I had to leave. My country. The one I was born into, grew up in, and love the SPIRIT, and the land, of. And it was time to bring my grandmother's spirit home, a full blood Yaqui from Sonora, who raised me with the daily training of 'dreaming,' in the spirit of her eagle.
My passenger Toyota was packed with the 'essence of my life,' literally, not one teeny tiny space left...I'd given everything away to the Goodwill truck, 'good karma' I thought if I ever return. It was my Give Away to the spirit of the journey, the ancient trade routes the people of this continent traveled for CENTURIES, from the tip of South America to the Arctic. This Turtle Island, all Turtle Islands once connected. I told myself, 'I don't need no stinkin' badges,' until I couldn't find the International Crossing. Then I began to worry that Customs would dismantle my entire car before I could cross- nothing illegal, just the essence of my entire life. The Goodwill guys arrived to haul away my beautiful black leather couch, TV, CD player, speakers, nice coffee table, dining room stuff, all the gathered kitchen ware of my life (having raised four children), my year old, so comfy mattress, carved headboard with the rising sun, YES EVERY DAMN THING I OWNED...the great Give Away.
The Guatemalan with a big family: "Do you mind if I take this couch, my family could sure use it, senora." (In Spanish)
"Man, you'd better start talking the English, dude, or they will definitely haul your ass away back to the old country," the Canadian Cree laughs. "Me, I crossed with that 'undying treaty,' you know the one that will last as long as the sun shines and all that shit. Hey, do you mind if I take your CD player, like why aren't you takin' it, you goin' on a vision quest to old Mexico or something?"
"Kind of," I laugh with him. "Hauling all this stuff down there would cost me around $20,000. and putting it in storage for even a few years, I could buy it all again, but it's still hard as these are also, you know, memories." I decide to be honest, hey they're Indians. "And I'm taking my grandmother's spirit home, you know, to her Mexico lindo y querido. It's about time and I'm driving down with the MoFo essence of mi vida."
I watch them load my stuff, keeping what they're taking in the front. They turn once, wave, the Guatemalan giving me a joyous grito, beautiful smile. It makes me happy to know the Guatemalan is taking my couch, mattress, bedding, and the Cree my CD player, TV, big pillows. The Goodwill really charges too much for their stuff, it truly should ALL be free...the great Give Away.
When I finally find the International Crossing, with the help of a laughing cop...I tell him where I'm going. "My people are from Guanajuato, bien viaje! Say hello to the beauty for me." After I pay for the crossing, I wait for Customs to approve the car's contents. A young guy approaches the car, I smile cautiously...he looks at my visa. "Alma Luz Villanueva, with a name like that, go on ahead!" To my shock, laughter, I do. A sign: REVISION, which means 'check point,' but I think it's RE-VISION and it looks brand new as though some heyokas (sacred clowns) had just run out and placed it there for me. To remember. To look. As though for the first time.
On the drive through the great Sonoran desert, miles and miles (and miles) of white-ness, desert. Little dark whirlwinds in the distance, I keep an eye on them. Suddenly they're right next to me, as I'm going around 80 miles an hour trying to make time to Chihuahua...and I'm not kidding, two dark whirlwinds to each side of my car, my body responds in prickles of fear. Yet I also recognize magic when I see it, so I keep going...and the car is LIFTED for a second. I hear the whirlwinds singing, warning me, "Slow down slow down the beauty all around you slow down human..." And I do, slow down, and the little dark whirlwinds travel with me, two to a side, for miles.
I come to the top of a grade overlooking desert, sun, desert, sun, to the horizon...there's nothing out here (humanly) and I'm HOT even with the air conditioner on low, afraid to over-heat my engine on this expanse. A very old man, dressed entirely in white, appears...his face to the sun, smiling, ecstatically. He never looks my way, as I actually slow down to see if he needs a ride...he continues on, that smile.
As I near my first town, greenery begins to appear, farms...a farmer with a horse driven plow...my dark whirlwinds leave me, my guardians. Of this journey, initiation. I begin to cry and I'm thirsty and hungry all at once. A man in a wheel chair sits by a 'tope,' a speed bump, that serves as the traffic light/cop...he's young, handsome, his hand holds a cup. This is his tope, where he sits waiting for the occasional driver. I give him 100 pesos and his smile rivals the old man's in the desert sun.
**To be continued...