We stop in Nashville, home to country music and where Jane’s friend lives. Sitting on her porch under humid evening skies, we begin to relax. It takes an effort, though—we are still inside the density of the East Coast—and only after Geri massages my head do I feel the weight I’m carrying begin to release. My mind stills, lightens a bit.
Back in New Jersey, I doubted my trip west—felt my longing to go back to Spain gnaw at me—but now I’m feeling a glimmer of hope. I long to learn about cultures still connected to the earth in simple ways. I always have, and maybe now I will.
We drive beyond Nashville, further west, through storms and lightening, and changing landscapes. Jane is driving ahead and waits for me to catch up with her and Geri so she can call out to me, inside the storm, “Toto, go home!” I laugh at her reference to “The Wizard of Oz” and we drive into a canyon, where we tent for the night under trees surrounded by walls that protect us from the fierce weather.
We sleep fitfully, but protected, and now I’m driving behind my friends again. We are in Arkansas. I pass a sign that says, Alma. That’s soul in Spanish. It may seem inconsequential, but it seems uncanny that as I pass this sign, I begin to cry heavily. It’s the kind of crying that grips my body and soul, yet wrings out all the tension I’ve been carrying. I feel the thick clouds inside narrow, humid skies lifting, and I hear my own voice telling me to go to the Sandia Mountains.
Sandia Mountains? It’s clear my imagination isn’t playing tricks on me, since I have no idea where these mountains are. Yet I’m determined, amidst my crying and breakdown—or breaking open, more accurately—to figure out what it all means. The Sandia Mountains must be in Los Angeles, I think. Maybe I’m supposed to work in the movie industry. That’s it! My rational mind has figured it all out—turned an unusual call (I’ve never had a voice of any kind speak to me like this!) into a career move.
Yet the crying continues, and truth be told, I have no idea what’s happening to me.
Have you ever heard a voice calling you to act? What did you do?
Michelle Adam is an experienced writer, teacher, and healer. She recently published her novel, Child of Duende, after twenty-plus years as a magazine and newspaper writer. Her articles have appeared in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine; Hibernia Magazine, an Irish magazine; Vista Magazine, a Hispanic insert of major national newspapers; and multiple other publications.
Michelle has also been a photographer and artist; has taught middle school students Spanish for the past dozen years; and has worked as a healer and shaman. Michelle has created healing and teaching circles of song and sound, assisting others in awakening the spirit of the earth, “duende,” within them, and creating a space for the celebration of life.