A World of Yes – Excerpt from Chapter 16 of Turquoise Interlude–A Counterculture Memoir of Free Love, Drugs, and Personal Growth in New Mexico 1968-1970

… The pungent smell of marijuana wafts gently in the memories. We wake early, time for me to fly back to L.A. to pick up the delightfully underpriced, green Willys jeep. 

On the plane, thoughts of John were left in the corners of the house on McGee street, surrounded by pink flowers, other memories (loves) were yet to be opened in New Mexico, and the quiet in the plane emptied my mind. Sitting in time and space, waiting without pressure, high in the air, time was immaterial, until I landed to start the new story. A bittersweet taste lingered in my mouth and in my pores, the stories of John in Berkeley, of Rick in his tipi in Arroyo Hondo, the new (to me) green jeep waiting to claim me and I it, the drive across the country with Aloka back to my New Mexico home. –Oh, the compartments of my mind. The tastes and smells and sounds mingled into nothingness. 

And I wonder at the timelessness of memories. I did not know the concept of creating memories. I lived in the present, content to not think so much, content to experience without preconception this uncharted life trail I was following. Yes. It was a world of yes. 

©2021   Marianna Mejia

Like a Raindrop in a Tear – Excerpt from Chapter 8 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

… New Mexico gave many gifts, in addition to the turquoise earrings I now wore daily. It held me in its culture, infused me with high desert air and growing wisdom, and gave me the beauty of blue sky constantly changing with clouds and sunsets. I searched for the Knowing that I saw in some people’s eyes. 

In that era, my life was a canvas of exploration and experiment in community of others. Although most of us had already tried drugs such as acid in the cities, in the country we expressly used the drugs to commune with nature and expand our awareness. I don’t think that quest has ever ended, as least for me. Many of us merely expanded our methods, as we become aware of our mortal limitations. In the 60’s, our generation was just learning about mortality. Not too many of us had died and we were only starting to have children as we rebelled against the unsatisfactory world of our parents, searching for viable alternatives. Our life style reflected this.  

More than fifty years later, when I re-read the journal I wrote there in New Mexico, I was shocked at the amounts of drugs and relationships I had moved through so quickly in my life quest. But, reflecting more about it, I had to remember the setting of the time. It was an age of innocence and birth. There was excitement and discovery. There was risk, experimentation, and education. Of course, we thought we knew it all, but at the same time, we did not stop searching.  

I sit here like a raindrop in a tear, loving my journey back in the poetry of my early 20’s self, my 1968 through ‘70 self….

©2020-2021 Marianna Mejia

Without Agenda, Excerpt from Chapter 2 – Turquoise Interlude 1968

… Following my heart without agenda, after saying goodbye to Yvonne, I climbed into Bob’s colorful bus and we headed north along the Rio Grande. “I asked the creator last night to bring me my soulmate,” he told me again later that day, as we drove past Arroyo Seco, a tiny town above Taos. That was when Taos only had one stoplight. Arroyo Seco, of course, didn’t have any and most of its roads were unpaved.

At 7,500 feet in the lower mountains, near the end of the bumpy dirt road, we arrived at a sunny meadow filled with sunflowers and corn, where Bob had pitched his tipi.  His buffalo rug still covered the floor. His two homemade wooden bowls were simple and organized. His fire pit was small. He lived in the now.

We slept on the buffalo hide rug, cooked over a fire, and washed his two bowls in the shallow stream, which ran through the meadow.

The days were filled with outdoor adventure. I remember hiking through a high desert sagebrush-filled plain and then descending a tiny, winding trail through more pungent sagebrush, and climbing down large rocks to an abandoned hot-springs on the Rio Grande River. In the crumbling ruins of a former healing retreat, on the sand by the water, naked in the sun, Bob and I tanned deer hides, smoothing and preparing them with rocks and softening them with cow brains until they became smooth and pliable in the heat. We washed ourselves in the springs and made love on the steaming stones. Later we hauled the tanned hides back up to the rocks and across the sagebrush to the blue bus.

Bob’s long hair and beard softened his face. Brown red hair shone in the sun, hanging down as he worked on his engine, contented and methodical, as if he had all the time he wanted, as if his way of life followed this path of the present.

At a friend’s meadowland in the foothills above the tipi, I took acid and wandered around the low mountains without my clothes, admiring tall shady pot plants, feeling the grasses and the close, clean sun on my skin, breathing the thin air. The bordering piñon forest was soothing and inviting, the ground soft and giving.

Bob and I walked with friends up the mountains above Arroyo Seco in Indian land to a secret waterfall and we picked wild mushrooms in the dawn, in this land of enchantment, the motto written in red on the yellow car license plates.

Through Bob, I met the current young locals, many of whom lived in abandoned adobe houses whose owners wanted them occupied. It was cheap and easy to live in Arroyo Seco and Taos in 1968.

I stayed there, enjoying life without electricity or running water, seduced by the New Mexico slowness of life, for two weeks instead of one. The high desert enfolded me, opening me to the new possibilities.  …

©2020-2021 Marianna Mejia

I Took My Teardrops – Excerpt from Part II When the Moon Dances – A Memoir of Becoming the Oldest Generation

…She still did not say one word. I sat with her, anointed her with oils, and stroked her hand. Yesterday, when I recited a poem to her, I kept wanting to sing but did not know what. Today I just sang. I sang my shamanic power song that I had journeyed for and received last year. “Heyalo, heyalo, heysu, heysu, heysu, hiya, hiya, hiya la, hiya hiya hi.” I sing it when I feel I need power. Then I sang some more, calling on the spirits to help. Did Mom respond? Or was that just wishful thinking? I let myself cry, and on impulse I took my teardrops and wiped them on her hand. I started crying more and put my head near her chest. It was then that she lifted her hand and hugged me and started stroking my hair. She is here. She seemed to be trying to push herself up, so I said, “If you want me to move you, raise your hand,” and she did. I told her about the nursing home and that she might go there or go home, depending. But either way, I told her, I would get to spend more time with her. She looked like she was trying to talk. She put her fingers to her mouth as if to move it. Instead of leaving, she has started to come back. Dare I hope?

©2020-2021 Marianna Mejia

A Hint of Dance – Excerpt from Part II When the Moon Dances – A Memoir of Becoming the Oldest Generation

… I spent most of the afternoon with Mom. The “classical” music concert downstairs was not what I expected. They played a kind of rock music on tape until a movement therapy instructor came. She put on light, almost classical, taped music and led the residents in movement. As the music flowed into her, Mom’s fingers began to tap to the rhythm, all she could do, all she could pull from her damaged body.

Then Mom started to lean forward, unsupported –a great and big improvement. I whispered in her ear, “Dance with your arms.” With her eyes still closed, her atrophied body subtly swayed with a hint of dance escaping its prison. …

©2020-2021 Marianna Mejia