I will be traveling a great deal this summer and I am hoping that you will join me as digital companions via my travelogue (social media travel journal). If all goes well, it will be a lite variety of posts and photos, poems and prose.
At the beginning of every season, I like to take a moment to tune into the coming season’s character and find the way the next adventure may lie. This summer that direction is the heart. Things that make my heart beat fast or quieten. From luscious flowers to the healing sounds of drum beats.
This last weekend’s travels are my first travelogue entry.
Giddy with excitement and with only podcasts to keep me company, I wound my way through mountain roads and around detour signs to reach my destination. The Taos Pueblo Powwow*.
The Taos Pueblo Powwow takes place in fields of grass with tented stands selling traditional festival food. The smell of smoked turkey set the tone as I walked into the festival, tents, and culture all around. The absolutely breathtaking Taos Mountains forming the backdrop
I sat under the arbor, a spot on the edge of the grassy arena where the dancers in all their beaded and feathered regalia walk, dance, pray and celebrate their culture. A couple of feet in both directions from me sat circles of singers around a single, large drum. I couldn’t believe my luck. I knew then that I would realize the purpose of my trip. To be in the midst of their voices and drums.
The opening prayers, official business, and housekeeping announcements soon led to the entrance of the dancers; young and old, novice and masterful. Some dancers moved in a swirl of light and colors while others moved meditatively but all were aware of the song and the drum beat.
“Watch the feet.” My inner voice instructed. I took notice of how each dancer moved their feet to the sounds of the songs and drum beat. My feet tingled as the song went on making me think perhaps, they may have danced these very steps in another lifetime.
Watching young children perform and the elders move with the dignity of their culture, I gleaned these values: love your family, children are the future, elders are important players in the community. And these words from the MC really struck me: “We are still here.” singing, dancing, being.
As I continued to watch, a part of me was anxiously waiting for the singers nearest me to sing and drum. I learned that at powwows there are always at least one, but usually several groups who sing in unison as they beat a rhythm on a large drum. I also learned that each group of singers is called a drum and is made up of anywhere from 5-l0 members to entire families.
I noticed a small crowd forming near the singers close to where I was sitting. It was time. I moved as close as I could to the Black Eagle Singers. And then it started. The heartbeat of the drum, the voices rising in high pitch melodies, cries, and rhythms following the beat.
The cells in my body, my mind, and heart rose and fell with the sound. I heard myself say and feel: “This is healing my heart.”
As the song came to a close, the MC explained, “The drum beat is the heart of the Mother.”
Those sounds and voices filled me for the next hours as I watched the dances.They were with me as I drove home along the Rio Grande and they continue to vibrate through me as I write these pages. What an incredible way to start this summer!
I want to thank all the people of the Taos Pueblo for hosting such a friendly and spirit lifting powwow and making non-Native American people feel so welcome. And a super special thank you to the Black Eagle Singers – you are amazing!
How about you? Do you have a way you like to travel? What would make this summer be extra special and soulful for you? Share your thoughts and images with us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay posted by signing up for the Tenderlogic newsletter and get the latest from me first!
*In case you are unfamiliar – a powwow is a cultural event that features group singing and dancing by men, women, and children. It is an opportunity for Native Americans to meet new friends, reconnect and renew old friendships.