My readers know that I am a voracious traveler. My first sentence according to my birth mother was “I wanna go on a TRIP.” For as long as I remember riding in a car, I’ve loved the road.
As I became autonomous and could drive, I’d take little road trips, just driving around Atlanta where I grew up as a teen. Even sneaking out at night, I wasn’t going to parties or hanging out with friends…I was driving. Something about being behind the wheel and exploring just made me feel right.
As a woman, I’ve taken many solo trips all over this continent. (I’ve also had the insane gall to take my young children (they were ages 4 and 7 at the time) on a cross country camping trip for several weeks, and it was freakin’ AWESOME, but that’s another story.) I love to drive, I love the movement across the face of the landscape, I love seeing the sky touch the earth. It puts me in touch with something bigger than myself, and it takes me out of my daily life so I can see the Big Picture.
Many years ago, I took my first VISION QUEST, and I realized this is why I love road trips so much. I don’t like to fly, not so keen on ships…but I LOVE driving all over North America, and the reason why is because my most recent ancestral memories are here, in this land.
Have you ever noticed arriving to a place you’ve never been before, and yet it felt so familiar? Or craved a place (like some of us crave chocolate), and the only thing that would assuage the craving was to go there?
When I’m driving the land, I see my face in the sky, reflected off my windshield into the car. When I put my toes in the ocean, I sense the waters in my body stirring, responding, rising to meet the waters of the sea. When I see the mountains, I feel my body made of the same earth, talking to those mountains. I’m reminded that I’m made of the land.
And aren’t we all? As I wrote in my new book, I Am Her Daughter, our mothers ate, drank and breathed of the Earth while she was busy making our body with hers. Our cells are made of the land we came from, giving a whole new understanding of the indigenous awareness that “we belong to the land”. We are literally composed of the elements earth, air, fire, water and space, the same things that compose our planet.
And what of it when we experience a sudden feeling of nostalgia, familiarity or even a flashback of memory when we stand in a particular place on Earth? The Earth has told me, through my body, that we are remembering her, experiencing her memories.
I learned through my adopted indigenous family (until I could claim my blood indigenous ancestry) that the Earth has memory. We carry the memories of our own life in our bodies, and the Earth carries the memory of her life in her body. We go back to the Earth when we walk on, leaving our body behind to give back the elements we were temporaily constructed of. Our memories then become the Earth’s memories. (You can read more about how I learned this and how the Earth speaks to us in I Am Her Daughter.)
My experience of being called to the road so much in my life has been a call to remember the ancestors. It is my task in my life to bring back what was lost, to unearth the truth that was buried. I’m uniquely suited to the task with an open mind (yet a scientist’s skepticism and discernment), and a deeply spiritual faith. I am open as a conduit but well practiced as a wise woman; I don’t entertain what doesn’t pass rigorous testing and objective evidence. Who needs more falsehood and silliness in this cultural miasm we’re all whirling around in? I feel the need to stand in Truth.
And the Truth is that the Earth has a message: you belong to the land. You are an expression of the Earth. Your ancestors are all around you. You belong in this world.