Home is where the heart is, or where the wind may take you…
Hello, Hola, Bonjour!!!
The name “home / milpa” that I have chosen for this website, my virtual home, is inspired by a Pueblo saying that I first heard from Dr. Gregory Cajete, a Tewa professor at UNM, from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. His work was best described on the website of the Department of Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico, of which he was Chair: “dedicated to honoring the foundations of Indigenous knowledge in education”. I loved the saying he recalled from his grandmother in which CORN was used as a metaphor for our common humanity and our need for each other. The phrase invited me to learn or re-learn the value of connectedness and interdependence. These are concepts that are often forgotten, misunderstood or discarded in the so-called “Western” society, in which I was born and raised. I was also profoundly influenced by Robert Mirabal’s writings, and his -at first mysterious- saying “Believe in the Corn“, which started to whisper its secrets to me… Little by little, I let the corn softly blow on the embers of my ancient memories to reawaken the sacred coRnections of my soul.
Among myriad other stories that were brought back to life through my reawakened awareness, a very important episode of my childhood, which sounds like magic “but” is totally true, resurfaced from the mist of this earth walk past. When I was four years old, my dad, headmaster of the little school of our humble neighborhood in Verviers, Belgium, organized a balloon release. There in the courtyard of the now-abandoned school,
I had a hard time letting go of the little balloon, maybe because I intuitively knew that it would end its journey extremely far from where I held on to it: a milpa (cornfield) of Guadalajara, Mexico. My father was so bewildered when he received the card attached to the globe-trotter (sky runner) balloon from so far away that he spent a long time trying to find a scientific explanation for this apparent miracle. He ended up deciding that the unlikely landing was due to that year’s mighty winds / wings of a jet stream. As for my adult self, once I was reminded of the miraculous story, I was more prone to “blame it” on the magic of Spirit…
It’s been a while that I have been taught how to pay attention to what others might call details, to try to stay more coRnected to my soul, and this is why I find the “details” of this already magical story completely fascinating… The name of the person who found the balloon in his ranch was a “remix” of many elements related to mythology, to my childhood world, and to Aztec creation stories: Ira Quetzalcóatl Kurz. Ira, is both a female and a male name, and it means “watchful” in Hebrew. I also liked the fact that in Sanskrit, Ira is the name of the Wind-God, but it also refers to the Earth and to the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge, Music, Arts, Wisdom, and Learning. The mighty Winds had chosen a perfect spot on Earth indeed for this balloon to land, which would bring me so much new Knowledge about our beautiful world… Quetzalcóatl, the famous Feathered Serpent, is also a God related to Wind and Knowledge, and he was both a God and a real, “flesh and blood” ruler: Cē Ācatl Topiltzin Quetzalcóatl (Our Prince One-Reed Feathered Serpent). Quetzalcóatl brought many teachings to the people, such as astronomy, calendar making or the arts, and “the flesh and blood one” insisted on peace and sought to ban human sacrifices. Last but not least, Quetzalcóatl the God brought corn when he turned into a black ant to follow a red ant through a crack in the mountain of sustenance, where corn was kept… Finally, Kurz, a German last name, reminded me of where the balloon had “taken off”, since my Belgian hometown is close to the border with Germany. As to the city where the balloon landed, Guadalajara, it was founded by Cristóbal de Oñate, father of the conquistador Juan de Oñate. A “balloon’s eye-view” of the border between Mexico and New Mexico shows that a straight line drawn from Guadalajara towards the North, will reach the ancient capital that Oñate and his Spanish troops established in New Mexico. They called it San Juan de los Caballeros; since 2005, it took back its Tewa name: Ohkay Owingeh (“Place of the Strong People”).
I profoundly believe that this balloon episode is one of many others that pointed the way to my long homecoming to New Mexico, this land that always felt like my true home. This is why I consider “milpa” the appropriate term for this virtual “home” of my website . RecoRnection is a tribute to a journey of reconnection to my past, present and future, to my inner child, to my spiritual memories, to my reencounter with the land in which I now am blessed to live, and to the vision of me offering to the world the knowledge and skills that I was blessed to receive for this present Earth Walk.
What you will find on this website is some info about this kernel aka me, Nathalie; pageS dedicated to my YOUNG ADULTS’ BOOK SERIES, the Dreamtime Cats; to my crafts among which are dolls first made out of corn husks which later on evolved into “corn clay” (a mix of cornmeal, water and salt), with a special emphasis on New Mexican characters, lore and tradition; and finally a blog in which I share my thoughts on this beautiful world that we live in, with a particular interest in History and intercultural dialogue.
Welcome home, bienvenidos a mi milpa, bienvenue dans ce champ (de maïs) virtuel, enjoy your visit and please don’t hesitate to leave me a message!