This is the land where spirit roams between red sandstone and hematite. Whispers from the earth-soul echo from the canyon walls. Each facet of life is reflected in the four seasons. Winter, a season of solace, brings forth contemplation. Crisp winter mornings, barren of active wildlife, will soon be met by heavy spring snowfalls. Blankets of snow muffles the already quiet winter. By noon, after a snowfall, most of the snow has melted away, giving moisture to the dry earth in this barren season.
The snowy springtime will yield to a green canopy of freshness, ushering in birth in late-spring. Animals, birds and insects begin their annual dance of life. Stances of white aspen trees flutter in the breeze. They deliver an accent of green and white to the towering vistas of rusty mesas. Durning late-spring, gentle melodies arise from waves of purple three-awn and tufted green hair-grass. The bloom of flowers is building towards a crescendo. It is a time of blessings.
Summer moves slowly in on late-spring. The mountains are soon accented in the evening by the rich glow from orange-painted sunsets. In the sky, the sculptured face of God is placed in the clouds of summer monsoons. Daily, an intense burst of heavy rain provides a rapid 45 minute rain that nourishes the land. Grace, in all it’s splendor, is shown on the land.
Fresh summer nights will yield to gentle autumn breezes. The fall air fills with the sound of the rustling leaves. Quaking aspen leaves turn from bright green to a brilliant yellow. Also, the rich green leaves of Gamble oak tree transform into several hues of red and red-brown. The colors provide a rich autumn pallet. It is a time to welcome in the longer evening. Thanks for a good season is given.
The full circle of seasons is completed. The cold of winter arrives once again. In the deep chill of winter, love of the land nestles quietly into the mountains. Retrospection is given to past seasons, while prayerful chanting ushers in the future. This is the rhythm of this land.
I headed out in my bondo-patched robin blue 1982 VW minivan. The old-lady has served me well during the past thirty-five plus years. It has been my shelter, my lumbering ride, and my escape. Flagstaff and the San Francisco peaks are now in the rearview mirror. I proceed East on I-40. The elevation drops from 7,000 feet to 4,000 feet in a matter of several miles. The tall ponderosa pines of the peaks give way to their scrubbier cousins, the juniper pine. Fields of juniper soon yield to the brown-red sand and dust of the high desert. I head towards the town of Winslow, Arizona.
Streaks of light pink over pale blue skies provide the backdrop for distant mesas. The absence of trees allows wind to pick up strength. Gusts of wind occasionally thump the box-like structure of the van. Snow lays in scattered patches on the desert floor. These were the spitting remnants of the evening snowfall last night in Flagstaff. I finally set off on this journey to honor a friend.
To bring favor to a man, the worship of the soul will bring honor to the land. For it is well known by the Holy Ones that we were cast into the forth world as Earth People. The essence of red soil, clay and blood. To seek the great spirit is the right way to live. The heart is in harmony when we forward the love of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
The first of four destinations to which I was was led was the Hubbell Trading post. Hubbell stands as an end point, a blank sign post and an exclamation point to the Long Walk. It was at this trading post where trade was expected by the white man as the one best simple solution to infuse economy back into a fractured and weary people of the red Mesa lands, following their return back home. But the repatriation from Fort Sumner in New Mexico following the Long Walk to the Bosque Redondo Reservation by the U.S. Military, grappled and irreparably tore the fabric of this once great Nation, well over a century ago. The Nation has not since healed.
(c) 2017, Ron McFarland, all rights reserved