Monday, November 25, 2013

Desert road trip

White dust rose in our rear view mirror
Inexhaustible silence pushed us in deeper 
We became vast in its presence 

Whenever we slowed or stopped
Wherever our feet touched ground
We found a hundred sorrowful things to love

Inside the Navajo nation
our tires hit washboard road
A clunky expedition met
the imposing dignity of ancestral desert 
Where ancient cave dwellings converge 
with patches of mobile homes and abandoned Chevy trucks 

A ghost town feeling threads through random settlements
Here and there, they seem to thrive...but most appear as if stranded

Pueblo ruins and corrugated aluminum shanty-villes  
Mirror each other at a distance
Collapsing into the sand,  the ground... as if trying to return home

Still,  the strength of the tribe endures
As does the Dwarf Oak and the Cottonwood with its 
complex Sage understory

The ways of  Song and Story are protected here
by those with a powerful will to wait 
Who suspend themselves upside down on the oldest limbs
of desert trees
Watching the land intently as they have for millennia
With all other eyes ( more than human )
They peer through their canyon wall windows
Whispering blackened or nearly extinct languages
who speak the textured sounds of  the woven Place
Songs guide, tales navigate wilderness 
and negotiate threat
These we imagined embedded in thousands of caves and Kivas 
The refuges of the still threatened land
Vast reservoirs veiled by darkness
Vulnerable to pillagers and thieves  
even now.

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