Spanish poet Antonio Machado once wrote, “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar,” (wanderer there is no path, the path is made while walking). The truth of these words became reality shortly after I arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the fall of 1996. I was passing through this sleepy city on my way to the West Coast, but my path changed as I listened to the still breath inside the high-desert air.
“Go on,” I told my friends when I visited with them in Santa Fe. “I’m staying for a while in New Mexico.” My travel companions, Jane and Geri, bid me farewell as they set out for San Francisco to build a new life. I drove down to Albuquerque, to a sense of peace awaiting me, along with vast emptiness. “I’ll meet up with you soon,” I said. “I just need a bit of time in the desert.”
Now, it’s one day at a time—or at least I tell myself, as I stay in New Mexico, uncertain of what is next. Life is about getting over addiction—addiction to the way I’ve learned to live disconnected. I don’t know anything, I realize. This is all. I surrender every day and yet each day I feel moments of yearning for something more.
I hear a woman on a radio show talk about the earth and finding God. I almost tear up. Pachamama, mother earth, is tired and her children are losing her, I feel.
Then at night, I dream that the wife of our portero (the man who maintained our apartment complex in Spain as a kid) comes to me and says, “You’re back. I waited two years.” (I had visited New Mexico briefly two years earlier). I wake up with a sense of awe about NOTHING. It’s like waking up every morning to a lover and an ease that I have never felt. I see where I belong for once. I am home. My challenge is to keeping coming home to the home within the home, because home isn’t in one place, but inside different layers of places and spaces. All the possibility is here because I am in a place that nurtures me.
In the morning, I sit looking out the window, out at the front yard, and I feel like crying again because I experience peace. My body is curled up inside this earth. I feel mother holding me, and I know there is love, great love inside me here.
When did you change your path unexpectedly?
Caminante, son tus huellas Wanderer, your footsteps are
el camino, y nada más; the path, and nothing else;
caminante, no hay camino, wanderer, there is no path,
se hace camino al andar. the path is made by walking.
Al andar se hace camino, Walking makes the path,
y al volver la vista atrás and on glancing back
se ve la senda que nunca one sees the path
se ha de volver a pisar. that will never trod again.
Caminante, no hay camino, Wanderer, there is no path—
sino estelas en la mar. Just waves in the sea.
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.