… 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