My Welcoming Gift, Excerpt from Chapter 4 of Turquoise Interlude 1968

… He cajoled me with local restaurants and scenic drives, even flying me over Taos in his tiny plane. Green and brown surrounded miniature mud houses, the scene a painting out the clouded oval window, from high in the air. We swooped down low over the Valdez valley and rose up again as we turned away from the high mountains. The Rio Grande river wound like a thread of green through red and yellow. Lines of black pavement cut through fields and trees. I was entranced.

The festival of San Geronimo took place at the Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest original reservations –thick yellow adobe, scrawny dogs with tongues waving in the still heat, blue doors and wooden ladders. A pair of handmade Zuni earrings dangling silver and turquoise called to me from a booth. Typical narrow oval pieces of desert blue, were unique in the tiers, set in silver, turquoise strands dripping daintily from halfmoons.  As I placed them on my ears, I felt a magical power of New Mexico fuse into me. My first southwestern jewelry purchase became my welcoming gift from this land of enchantment. I felt I belonged. My mouth widened to a smile and my eyes, shining, became a little more green in the turquoise reflections.

Later, chatting through cigarette smoke, alcohol and laughter at the dark and narrow La Cantina bar on one side the Taos Plaza square, I met newcomers and seasoned residents in this gathering place for Bohemians, artists and the young hippies just starting to discover Taos. My new earrings reflected the desert sky almost to my shoulders, my fingers reaching up to caress them as I looked into the eyes of strangers soon to become friends.  …

©2020

Reflections at 75

Who am I now at 75, my long white hair with still hints of brown, my body still dancing, my fingers typing. My heart finds compassion connecting to the ones who seek help in my psychotherapy office, and in the yurt where we gather for the shamanic journey circles I lead, and to the students I dance with, teaching them Flamenco and what I learned on that path. Wisdom grows.

I am blessed to still have a passion and work to do before I die, before I pass from this mortal life and this body I still love. The passion becomes an urgency as I know mortality in new ways, the gift of elder-hood, the pain of losing a father. 

My tangible legacy will be the books I write –may they guide those who seek, and entertain the curious. 

 

©2020

The End of Before –Excerpt from Part I

Chapter 1 –  Glass fragments

            The placid Middle Eastern water changed without warning –like our lives.

May 31, 1996 

The very short woman and the very tall woman have graced this stretch of sand for twenty-five years. In the old days, these bikini-clad women would walk quickly together from their homes to the seashore and then up and down the entire beach. They swam arrogantly in all kinds of seas, taking risks they thought their immortal bodies would always be able to conquer.

Now, Virginia waits by the front door, with Sami the dog, for her best friend, Deena from Finland. The car door slams. Sami joins Deena’s dog Meelu in the back seat. After Deena helps Virginia into the front, she drives the five minutes to the dirt cliff above the beach. The guard at the gate, after taking the cigarette from his mouth, smiles, and waves them through to the restricted area. Continuing down the steep, rutted hill to the sand, they park next to Clement’s old yellow Peugeot –a great honor.

Near the water, they sit on plastic chairs inside the lifeguard domain, fenced in with status, heating up in the Israeli sun. They are family to Clement, the aging senior lifeguard. Deena is his ex-lover, the secret everyone knows.

Each morning their daily routine follows the same pattern. These days Virginia, her face lined, but her compact body still shapely, can only shuffle minute distances before her leg cramps or she simply feels too tired to lift her feet. So Deena passes her, walking to the Sharon Hotel and back, her aching body now also stooped, slowing but not stopping her determination. Back at their chairs they sit and talk –books they are reading, family, archeology, classical music concerts in Tel Aviv, Deena’s heart problems. Virginia strains forward to hear Deena’s words, their years of intimacy filling in the gaps, bridging the empty spaces.

Then it is time to swim. On a calm day Virginia takes a few crawl strokes, mostly standing in the warm Mediterranean. The shallow waves roll gently, caressing my mother and the sand. When the sea is rough, the waves throw her around, but even this vulnerable, she hates to be helped. So, soon she struggles back to the shore alone, watching Deena’s long body move smoothly across the water.

The sun leaves salt speckles on their drying skin and the next ritual begins. Deena enters the small, dark lifeguard shack, plugs in the kettle on the weathered countertop, and returns with two cups of weak-smelling Nescafe. Virginia’s job is to wash the cups afterwards, a task which she performs faithfully, a vestige of her independence. …

There was a time along the shore when the aquamarine glass fragments from the ancient Roman glass factory at Apollonia were plentiful in the tide-swept sand. Now those round glass jewels only sometimes sparkle, alone and translucent in the sunlight, next to new green chips from the current era. …

©2019 Marianna Mejia

Excerpt from the Beginning of Turquoise Interlude, by Marianna Mejia

When the moon shines over new snow, when the cold air is dry and strong, the memories of when I was new come forward from the deep recesses in my heart.

The land of enchantment, 1968, grabbed my imagination and wove it into a cloak of turquoise and velvet, garnets and teepees, in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Sunsets lit up high desert plains. Mountains with sunflower and marijuana, trees with paths of wild strawberries leading up to hidden meadows. Outhouses and frozen pipes. Belly dancing and mothering wild cats. Writing poems and taking acid or mescaline. Fasting on brown rice until the rutted dirt roads rippled flowing earth before me, as I walked home from town. Cows grazing with snow on their backs. Helping a sacred crazy man and an angry, passionate red headed dulcimer player.

The memories breathe again as I read the journals I wrote then, in my early twenties. So different it feels in my 70s. I did that? The shock has a sense of humor. I would never have remembered if I had not written the words from my soul into pages and pages as I traveled through my early life, the free spirit I was, full of love and adventure. And it is part of what has made me who I am now.

I am still moving forward in my mid-70s. I give thanks for the rich path I have followed. My regrets are very few and not significant.

I am still learning and excited…

©2018