With the Spirits of the Land

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Okay, this pic requires a bit of explanation …

Several days ago, in Apache Junction, AZ, I bid a tearful farewell to Leanna, who so kindly hosted me at her place for nearly a week. One of the joys of the road is the people I connect to. In Leanna, I found a true fellow soul. But then came the moment: I got out my travel didge for her to inscribe. We posed for a selfie together. A hug, some tears – time to hit the road.

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Heading north, I felt my head floating in a balloon above and behind my car. Somehow, semi-headless, I managed to keep my vehicle on a northerly course toward Camp Verde. I think I was 40 minutes into the trip when I realized I was no longer looking out at the ubiquitous Saguaro, the signature cactus of the Southwest Desert. I must have climbed a 1,000 or so feet by the time this happened. Not long after, I was driving through snow and evergreens at 6,000 feet.

Just before dusk, I pulled into a campsite off a Forest Service road, outside Camp Verde, 3,500 feet elevation. Just me and the desert and a brilliant sky.

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Pre-dawn, next morning …

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Then off to Montezuma Castle, where Indians dwelt in the cliff-face some 700 to 400 years ago. Then they moved on, to be absorbed into larger communities.

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Then, in the afternoon to Montezuma’s Well, a sinkhole that was home to Indians for about 4o0 years.

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I descended to the bottom. Time to break out the didgeridoo …

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When you feel the spirits of the land, you just feel it. No explanation. My ancient instrument calling out to an ancient people. The cliffs around the sinkhole created an echo chamber effect. In nothing flat, I was in another world, untethered from time and space.

When I posted the above pic on Facebook, one of my readers. Joy, commented: “World’s largest Kokopelli.” The plot thickens …

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And this is when Becky and her three delightful kids walked into my life. She, too, is on the road, together with her husband and her brood. I explained the didgeridoo to her in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration. Nikola Tesla used those words in reference to understanding the universe. Of course, were Tesla alive today, he would be playing the didge.

When one of the kids asked when Tesla died, I explained that technically it happened some 70 years ago in his room in the New Yorker Hotel, but that perhaps he merely entered another dimension. This, of course, made perfect sense to the kids and their mother. Did I mention we hit it right off?

Then it was time for Becky and the gang to make tracks, but not before exchanging contact info. Short encounters can have huge impacts.

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Breakfast next morning. Then off to see some more ruins, this time in Tuzigoot …

On the way there, I happened to drive by the world’s largest Kokopelli, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to pose with the big guy. This morning, at Joy’s prompting, I amended that oversight. Kokopelli is a fertility and trickster god venerated by the First People of the Southwest. His image – a hump-backed figure playing flute – is depicted on ancient petroglyphs throughout the Southwest.

Incidentally, the didge is a perfect match with the Native American flute. Many in my didge tribe are highly proficient in both instruments. In the past, I have had the opportunity to jam with flute-players, my low resonant drone supporting his or her throaty and haunting warbles. I’m convinced that had the First People of two distant continents had access to each other’s instruments, we would now have a wealth of enhanced music traditions. Maybe they exist in the world Tesla now occupies.

Of course it made sense playing my didge among the ruins, communing with the spirits of the land. Of course it made sense jamming with the big guy …

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