I was in charge of the music.
The camp was a few hours outside of Salt Lake City, and we'd switched from driving as a larger group on a bus to dispersing into smaller groups to drive the rest of the way in vehicles. I'd ended up in an SUV with Malcolm and Loretta (who work for Blue Morpho, and who I've known for over four years now) with T (who I met a few years ago, but have only recently gotten exposure to on the past two Sanango tours I've done). He was helping out for the week at the camp, and was driving the three of us.
T handed me the iPhone cord and gave me playlist responsibilities. I booted up the Federico Abuele station on Pandora and chatted with everyone while we drove further into a remote area.
Building structures grew further and further apart. We turned onto a dirt road that could easily be missed. Eventually, I noticed my iPhone had lost it's cell and data connections, and was playing the music from an offline list.
Me gustan los aviones, me gustas tú.
Me gusta viajar, me gustas tú.
Me gusta la mañana, me gustas tú.
Me gusta el viento, me gustas tú.
Me gusta soñar, me gustas tú.
I'd heard the song hundreds of times. This was a station that I put on in the background frequently while working.
"This is a funny song," said Loretta. "Maestro Alberto (the main shaman in Peru) would find it hilarious."
I told her I had never looked up what the lyrics meant despite listening to it so many times.
She told me that the man was singing about all of the random things he likes, but that he also "likes you".
I like airplanes, I like you.
I like to travel, I like you.
I like the morning, I like you.
I like the wind, I like you.
I like to dream, I like you.
We joked about the song for a few minutes, as we made the final push on the rocky road till we saw the camp laid out ahead.
The first thing I noticed when I got out of the vehicle were the faces on the rocks.
Two spirits overlooking the camp.
"They're protecting us," I thought as everyone got out of their cars and were commenting on them.
The camp was on privately-owned by a member of the Oklevueha Native American Church (ONAC) who rents it out to the tribe for church purposes. In this case, the hundreds of acres of virgin land would be used for ceremonies, including:
- Chanupa Pipe
- Sweat Lodge
- Vision Quest
- Grandfather Medicine (Peyote)
We were given a tour of the camp, which encompassed individual tents with cots and sleeping bags in them for each person, composting toilets, three tent showers, a kitchen tent with tables outside it under the shade, a tipi large enough to fit more than 20 people in it, and mini-jungle gym structure made of sturdy wood branches - which we would use later as the sweat lodge.
We were told to choose a tent and get settled into the space. I walked up to an orange one in the middle of a cluster of tents, believing it would be safer from animals than the tents on the outer edges. I unpacked my things and unrolled the sleeping bag onto the cot. I was tired - not having slept much the night prior - and laid down on my bed. to rest a few minutes
"I like to dream. And I like you."
I sang to myself.