Unknown are the paths of souls

I remember when I was a little kid, and then a little older, I devoured books. I don’t understand why, but books about Native Americans fascinated me exceptionally. Reading many novels about their lives, adventures, spirituality, customs and beliefs, I had this unexplained impression that it was so deeply familiar. Logically, it didn’t make any sense, because growing up in Poland, I never even met a Native American, nor did I have any roots or other connections there. And yet, part of me was recognizing something I knew inside.

Another thing that made no logical sense was that since I can remember, I wanted to go to the States. I had no idea why, I didn’t know this place at all, and I was happy where I was. But living in Kraków, which is visited by crowds of tourists from all over the world, every time I was “wandering” in Old Town and a group of American tourists passed by, my hair stood on end, when I heard their language. Again, having no experience with Americans or America, something inside gave me the shivers saying that I must go there someday. And I was only a child who didn’t understand much yet, much less was capable of such knowledge or such decisions.

I also remember my mother’s friend who went to the States for work. She stayed there for many years. A couple of times a year, she would send my mother a Christmas card or a letter, and a few dollars “for coffee.” For me, the envelope usually contained 3D cards that I liked a lot. From time to time she included a postcard from some place in the States she had visited.

Native American GirlOnce, when I was maybe 12 years old, there was a card in the envelope – a reproduction of a hand-painted painting of a Native American girl. When I saw this card, I froze. Again there was a vague feeling of something so familiar. I put the card in a pile of other cards from “aunt Mary”.

Years passed, I got older. As it happens, over time you organize your things and throw away old dolls, toys, children’s books or other things that you have grown out of. So I did. I also sorted out various papers, including a pile of cards from “aunt Marysia”. I gave away all the three-dimensional cards, but I kept the card with the little Native American girl. I put it between other papers I kept.

Over the next 30 years, I moved and relocated probably a dozen times. To different apartments, cities, countries and even continents. I traveled by trains, cars, buses and planes. With major moves, I usually cleaned books, papers, and clothes to take as little stuff with me as possible. A ton of things have gone through my hands in these changes. I can say that there is nothing left from the old Polish times: no book, no other thing, except for the guitar. Everything else has been replaced with something new, or adequate to circumstances. The only thing that survived was this card.

I have no idea how the card survived all the changes and purges. How “this girl did it” that she always somehow slipped into things I kept and carried on with me. This is a real mystery because I don’t remember ever thinking about that card or intentionally keeping it. Apparently, I had to do it automatically, reflexively – which is also puzzling why this card and not something else.

So 30 years after receiving the card, I was living with my husband in Washington State, USA. We had a house in the wilds of the forest, far from civilization. We were surrounded only by trees, meadows and wild animals. My husband liked to take an occasional trip to his favorite place in New Mexico where he used to live and was acquainted with the local Natives, the Zuni. One time, he sent me a postcard from such a trip. When I saw this card, I froze again, like the first time 30 years ago. There was a Native American woman painting reproduction. I looked at her and thought, “Oh my gosh, this is the same girl from that first card, only she’s grown up and matured here…” I found that old card and put them side by side. I couldn’t believe it, there was something magical there. I pinned both cards above the desk.

Native American Woman3 years later, my husband said that he no longer wanted to live in Washington, because the climate was too damp, there was too much snow in the winter, and he wanted to move to New Mexico. So we did. For me, moving to New Mexico was completely exotic. Environment, climate, culture, and everything else. And most amazingly, I suddenly found myself in the Native Americans’ world. We lived in a place that on the map is located between the Navajo and Apache nations.

I pulled out the cards of the little Native girl and adult woman and thought, “Where have you brought me?” Now, Native Americans were not just characters from cards or books, but real people I met everywhere, in the store, on the street, in the health center, in Starbucks and on a walk in the park. Although it may seem normal to some, for me this reality felt special.

New Mexico’s geography is peculiar. This area is called high desert. The climate is dry and semi-desert, but the continent here is elevated so high above sea level that, despite the fact that the terrain around here is flat and hilly, it is located more or less at the height of the Polish mountain peak, Giewont. So the sun is much closer to the earth, and the atmospheric pressure is like in the mountains. The sky also seems to be much lower, i.e. closer to the ground, as in the mountains, and the clouds are at “arm’s length”. In front of the house by the driveway, next to the spruce tree instead of ferns, there are cacti. Gecko lizards are basking on the retaining wall in front of the house. The sun shines 300 days a year, even during the cold semi-arid winter. For me – very exotic.

Prickly Pear Cactus Gecko in New Mexico

New Mexico is called “The Land of Enchantment”. My husband says people come here from all over the world to create art, paint pictures, take photographs, write books, and exhibit the most exclusive works in Santa Fe galleries. Did I come here to write “You are the Dream of the Universe”….?

The book was writing itself in my head for a few years, but it poured onto paper here in New Mexico in 2021. And the process was accompanied by cards of Native girls, hanging on the wall….. Did the little Native girl guide me all this time, for 35 years, to this place of creation, supported by beautiful spirituality…? Or maybe there is another connection I don’t understand? The paths of souls are unknown. However, they are fascinating.

The readers called the book “A manual for the human being”. It describes deep human processes that govern our lives. I have a suspicion that my deep understanding of the processes that I had since childhood was supported by the New Mexico environment, while I was writing. Most of the area is a wild open space. Very strict and demanding. Beautiful. Unusual – because this area is the bottom of the former sea. Once upon a time in prehistoric times, there was a sea here. So in New Mexico, you are in a desert, located on the level of mountains, and you walk on the sand at the bottom of the sea, at the same time. The rock formations are the rocks of the sea floor. No surprise, such a geographic mix produces extraordinary energies. Land of Wonder / Enchantment.

After I wrote the book it felt that something has returned to its place, home. Here in New Mexico. But what exactly is it about…? For now, I enjoy the mystery. Will it develop further…? Only time will tell.