Cloud Girl’s Legacy – Excerpt from Chapter 12 of Turquoise Interlude – A Counterculture Memoir of Free Love, Drugs, and Personal Growth in New Mexico 1968-1970

 Cloud Girl was my soul sister, pulled from my child’s storybook, she became part of my being. Her winter home was a hogan in Arizona near the border of New Mexico. In the summers they camped with the sheep where the forest smelled fresh, its piñon trees shining after a summer rain. I identified with her and yearned to be Navajo. On that trip my parents bought me a velvet-clothed Navajo doll. Her turquoise skirt and brown shirt were belted by a silver conch, her black hair tied back with yarn. I treasured that doll, imagining that she could have been Cloud Girl’s mother, or Cloud Girl grown up, or me in another life. 

Seventeen years later, finally drawn back to New Mexico, I was alone and searching, finding my way in the high, thin air among the rocks and relics, wet, warm earth, and dry sun. Living near the Taos Indian Pueblo, the most Northern of the pueblos strung like a belt of unpolished diamonds across New Mexico, that strong Native American presence drew me in again. I felt called to be there and things were easy for me. New Mexico opened her doors and kept welcoming me. I was in heaven. The seeds sprouted and became ready to bloom. 

©2021 Marianna Mejia

Maria – Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

… In my upstairs bedroom in Arroyo Seco, Maria, born and raised in Taos, teaches me how to move my body in this lifetime, and later I practice smoothing my rough, apprentice movements. Over and over, carried by the music, I repeat and repeat, trying to emulate the exotic and fluid Maria. 

Her tall shapely body sways to the music, undulating and rippling with a sensual beauty –her dancing like the river flowing. “You must surrender in your dancing, and you must dance with your heart as well as your body. Dance your soul,” Maria whispers sagely. 

Here in New Mexico, Maria had touched something primal and ancient, asleep and buried inside of me. From her I learned the importance of letting go, receiving and giving, of strength, and that the dance had come from the ancient Egyptian temple priestesses. …

©2021 Marianna Mejia

Past Life – Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

Up the Nile I float, the water lapping the sides of the banks. Whirling, it takes me to past lives, past stone temples of Hathor, Horus, Nuut and Osiris, where sacred prostitutes dance, past lotus lilies and fields watered by Nile sludge, past the women carrying baskets on their heads, their long black robes billowing. Camels stand like a still life painted beside palm and date trees on the shining riverbanks. Music flows in the air of the arid land, desert wind blows sand, drum commands hips accenting the rhythm. Melodies, like the river, push the hips, with no inhibitions.

In Arroyo Seco, 1969, I reunited with this past life studying Belly Dance with Maria. The prodigal daughter recently returned home to her family in Taos, at least for a while, Maria …

©2021 Marianna Mejia

Gift of Belly Dance – Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

… the Middle Eastern music, Maria twirls, her long dark hair flying with abandon. But not really total abandon –her moves were practiced and perfected, the rhythms relearned in this lifetime. She is the priestess instructing me, her student. Hip up, hip down, the drum, then the melody moving now to undulate the torso, the breasts shaking rhythmically and then transcribing the arc and the figure eight as the music softens, mirroring the hips, the music coursing through the body like the Nile through the land, bringing sustenance. The pelvis tilting rhythmically, up and down, side to side, directed by the hourglass shaped dunbek drum, then moving in circles, describes the melody with the rhythm. It is not random, but improvised as the music directs. The high reed flutes, the stringed kanoons and ouds, the clay dunbeks with their round, translucent fish skin heads, the metal drums deeper with more opaque goat skin heads – they all meld the music. Again the high reed sounds and I think of snakes dancing with the goddesses, pulled by the music into undulation. 

Dum Dum tekatek dum tek a dum, the melded music echoes. The reed pipes pull the hips, increase the frenzy. Whirling, circling, gyrating –our faces flush as our bodies move beyond our minds. 

I put the tiny round cymbals on my thumb and middle finger, learning to accompany the drum beat with the zills. My borrowed green veil finds the air as I move it around me in circles and then seamlessly wrap myself in it with the music once more. My matching diaphanous green skirt follows my hips and swirls to the music. High tones again turn to drum beats and the rhythm quickens. 

Once upon a time,  …

©2020-2021 Marianna Mejia

Aloka –Dog Soul Partner –Excerpt from Chapter 9 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

Early in spring, when the green was starting to come out of the earth again … I reached in and pulled out the shorthaired, golden brown one, as if I already knew and loved her. Aloka’s warm body fit in my hand. I held her close to my heart and tears came to my eyes welcoming this important new family…

 Aloka … almost died. On the worst night, holding her in my arms next to my heart, I stayed up with her constantly, giving her drops of liquids when I could. Near the dawn I sensed a quickening in her body and could finally feel her decide to live instead of die. From that day on, bonded, we spoke to each other with telepathy and became inseparable until she died fifteen years later. 

Aloka was my first child as well as my companion. We had unconditional love and acceptance. Telepathically she let me know with a look, or sometimes the slightest sound if I wasn’t paying attention, that she had to go outside or wanted water or food. When she sensed danger Aloka transformed into a fierce watchdog, her hair raising along her back, barking, snarling and growling, scaring the perceived intruder and impressing the New Mexico locals, who then wanted her puppies. 

Throughout her lifetime, Aloka was always well behaved and extremely sensitive. If I commanded, “Stay,” she stayed for hours, waiting until I called, “Come.” She slept with me in my tipi that spring and summer. But when I used her as a pillow she would often jump up in the middle of the night, barking, and scare away whatever predator she sensed outside. So usually we just slept curled up next to each other. 

During the days we went for many walks together, exploring and enjoying. I picked up sticks so she could carry them in her mouth. That was easier than trying to run with her, with my hand in her mouth. She was definitely a retriever. Aloka would lope along in front of me, through the high desert and through the forest, smiling, circling back to me when she got too far ahead, her eyes connecting, always with a stick in between her teeth. Her short golden fur was smooth and warm, thickening in winter to ward off the cold, and slightly shedding as the weather got warmer. When I visited friends, Aloka was always with me. At that time, in New Mexico, Aloka met my needs more than any human could have. Love between us flowed easily.

Aloka had become an ally on my adventure. Wherever it led, we were together. Looking back on that time, I wonder how many of my needs were taken care of, satisfied by the dog soul partner who brought me light. 

©2020-2021 Marianna Mejia