Rather than spend another three hours on a faceless interstate, I took a shorter and slower route from Winslow down to Phoenix. It wound up into the Tonto National Forest, a mountainous green expanse I never would have imagined possible in the desert climate of Arizona.
At one point, a sign indicated an elevation of 7,500 feet before the road began a steady descent to the nation’s fifth largest city and a blessedly more tolerable altitude.
I’m looking forward to a week in this warm and sunny clime and my schedule for the coming days is filling up with some great interviews I’m looking forward to. Typically, I also have a backlog of videos from New Mexico.
Below is the first of three, my evening with Rabbi Shefa Gold and her chant circle in Albuquerque. For close to two hours last week, Gold led a group of about 20 women through a series of chants based on phrases from the Bible and Jewish liturgy. The room was dark and lit only with candles (apologies for the lighting problems in the vid) and at various points the women appeared to be in various states of ecstatic rapture.
It was something to see, and made me feel at a few points like I was intruding on an intimate experience, sticking my camera in the faces of these women as they communed in deeply personal ways.
I hope that wasn’t the case. But I do think it makes for a pretty powerful visual.