Saturday, April 12, 2008
Navajo Nation: Canyon de Chelly
The Dine say that Canyon de Chelly is the center of Navajo Nation. Unfortunately, it does not legally belong to them, but to the US Park Service. We gathered in a forested area just outside the canyon, listened to speakers talk about the canyon, and ate.
Afterwards, we piled onto several pick-up trucks that drove us across the shallow river. One of them got stuck. Once in the canyon, the walkers sang The Longest Song--a song they sing at every community they stop at, each time adding a new verse. The verse here was: "Dine Nation is where we are, Canyon de Chelly is their home."
I found myself in tears again in the Canyon. Somehow the overwhelming magnificence of the canyon mixed with some of the residual grief I was feeling about Denise's suicide, as well as the power, sorrow and the beauty of the Navajo people, and I was caught in one of those painfully aware moments of the exquisite contradictions of this thing we call life.
I had to leave the circle of singing and stand by myself for awhile, next to the river. Behind me I heard someone say, " That's Mother Earth, crying through her."