The Smell of Green – Excerpt from Chapter 18 of Turquoise Interlude–A Counterculture Memoir of Free Love, Drugs, and Personal Growth in New Mexico 1968-1970

… Walking through the forest, the smell of green, tall trees and their branches shading me from the hot sun, I followed an overgrown old logging road “paved” with wild strawberries, and came upon a single red rose. I stopped. In my childhood mythology, a red rose had contained a destiny. In the fairy tale that had made me cry inconsolably, the heroine princess, imprisoned in an isolated but luxurious palace with no human companionship, had picked the forbidden rose and seen her whole world collapse, turning to a forlorn desert in a second. Although it would eventually lead to her growth, the princess did not know it. As a child, I was hysterical and mortified that she had disobeyed, and that now her life seemed ruined. That fairytale became a life lesson for me and the single red rose held a history of meaning –including how disobedience, going against the rules, could ultimately fuel growth.

So, on impulse, instead of picking the rose, I followed the sign and turned right where it grew, my soft-soled moccasins taking me almost straight up the side of the hill, through vines, brambles, bushes and small trees. 

After a few minutes, the dense foliage opened up to reveal a miniature, hidden, mesa meadow from where I could look down on the whole Taos valley and even into Arroyo Hondo. Behind me were trees out of a Rousseau painting. All over the ground, tiny wild strawberries and little white flowers grew like a carpet. There were also diminutive clearings in bushes and trees that could be my rooms: my bedroom and my kitchen. The wider meadow would be my living room and my cooking place, and when it didn’t rain, my sleeping area. It would be a perfect site for my tipi. I knew I wanted to live in this magical place.

I returned to the tree house so full of wonder …

©2021   Marianna Mejia

2 thoughts on “The Smell of Green – Excerpt from Chapter 18 of Turquoise Interlude–A Counterculture Memoir of Free Love, Drugs, and Personal Growth in New Mexico 1968-1970

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