Time travel is possible when we allow our senses to open and flow freely. We can tap into what we are feeling when we hear certain songs or smell scents that remind us of something from our past. Our senses can so easily take us back in time within our minds. The humanmade construct of time falls away and no longer exists. The years disappear for a moment or longer and we are magically transported back in time. Things we can see, touch, feel, smell, sense, and hear all are quite powerful mediums in the art of moving us subtly back to another time and place in life.
I experienced a moment of time travel while I was driving recently. The sun was shining and I had the windows open so I could feel the fresh spring breeze on my skin and the wind blowing through my hair. Having the windows open while driving, after a long winter, has always felt like freedom to me. The roar of winter has passed and the arrival of spring and new beginnings is upon me.
I turn the volume up high on the radio so I could hear the music over the breeze wafting in my windows. The song that came on the radio was Black Water by the Doobie Brothers. Hearing that song and feeling spring in the air brought me back to the 8th grade. (1975)
Old black water,
keep on rollin'
Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shinin' on me?
Yeah, keep on shinin' your light
Gonna make everything
Pretty mama, gonna make everything all right
And I ain't got no worries
'Cause I ain't in no hurry at all...
I can picture my skinny, freckled face,14 year-old self in the backseat of my parents' Buick Electra 225 watching the world go by. I was trying to get comfortable. I was sharing the backseat with 3 siblings...finding comfort was not an easy thing to do. They were all fast asleep. There were four of us either sitting on the floor with our heads resting on the seat or on the seat resting our heads against the door. I was leaning against the door and looking out the window. Not a safety belt in sight. How did we all survive or childhoods?
It was the middle of a dark, starry night and I could see silhouettes of the Sandia Mountains in the distance as my dad cruised down the highway heading towards Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were on our way to Tucson, Arizona from Albert Lea, MN to visit my grandmother and to meet a few cousins from Los Angeles, California for the very first time. I loved looking out the window and witnessing the landscapes as they gradually changed from emerald green farmland in the rural areas dotted with small towns to driving through big cities, filled with twinkling lights, skyscrapers and lots of traffic. Back again to endless miles of road, cattle and horse ranches, desert, rivers, and mountains as we traveled further south from state to state.
The radio didn't always pick up stations clearly in the car while driving across the country and you are in and out of urban areas where there might be a radio tower. We had heard lots of static in the rural areas as dad was trying to land on a station. We were finally in a larger city where there was a radio signal and I began to hear, Old black water, keep on rollin' Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shinin' on me...The first time I heard the song. I didn't know the title or the name of the band, but I liked the sound and I liked how the music lifted me up. I enjoyed the catchy lyrics...and I loved that there was no more static!
When songs first come out, the radio stations play them over and over and over again until you get sick of hearing them. Black Water was a number one hit at the time, but I never tired of it. I heard the song several times while we were in Arizona and I could not help but begin to memorize the lyrics. I didn't know what the lyrics meant to the Dobbie Brothers, but I do know what the song represented for me. I loved being in 8th grade. This trip was a highlight during my teens. We had not taken many vacations while I was growing up and it was a fun, relaxing, family, vacation. I loved driving through the mountains, feeling the heat of the desert and seeing saguaro cacti. Arizona was completely different from Minnesota. This trip was an adventure and an expansion of my spirit.
I had flown to Tucson when I was three years old with my mother and two sisters when my grandfather was dying. My time travel continues. This time went back to1964. I do recall snippets of memories from that first trip to Arizona. I remember going on an airplane for the first time and the stewardess offered us little chubby pieces of Wrigley gum. My 3-year old self was delighted. When she presented the box to me, my little hands dove in and picked up as many pieces of gum that I could possibly hold onto. My mom made me put them all back except 1 piece.
I had remembered my grandparents' house was on the corner of 1st Street and 1st Avenue and I played out there on the corner of their yard with my two sisters. I loved the warm desert air of Arizona, the cacti, and getting ice cream every night with my mom, sisters, aunts and grandma. Their house had two bedrooms and a sunporch. I loved the sunporch where we slept. There was a beautiful, white, bed in a room surrounded by windows and so much light. The room was filled with books and pictures of my mom and her siblings when they were younger. It was connected by a doorway into the 2nd bedroom where I can still see my grandfather's cane and blue and white plaid robe hanging in one of the closets. As a child, I could not figure out why my grandmother had kept those two items. They scared me because I equate them to his illness and passing away.
Both trips to Arizona during my youth planted seeds that brought me back to live there and the possibility of transferring colleges. I ended up living in Arizona for only a year when I was 20 and I returned to MN to finish college, but I have never forgotten the earlier times in my life spent there and the indelible mark they made.
It is incredible that we as human beings have these magnificent senses that allow us to travel back in time. We have memories to celebrate and memories that possibly need healing. Each moment in life we experience is truly is magical. Time travel is possible.
Angela O'Brien-Greywitt, Intuitive Mystic
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