Saturday, April 12, 2008

Navajo Nation: Greasewood Chapter

So my father and I drove across Arizona, to Flagstaff, where we joined with the Longest Walk Two, who we found already walking down the highway to the Greasewood Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

A few more walkers had joined the group, which is now up to about 175. Only about 50 of these were walking when we caught up with them--at any given time, some of the walkers will be on kitchen or clean up duty and not walking.

It was good to see familiar faces from six weeks ago, when I walked in California--Emmet, the 76 year old runner, Julia, who seemed a little overburdened with responsiblities, Tony Galli from Pit River who had introduced me to the walk, looking windblown and tired but happy, young Andrea from DQ still striding along calmly. And of course Dennis, fiery as ever as he speaks to the group and reminds them of why they are walking.

Some of the people who had said they were going to do the whole walk had dropped out. Not surprising--this is not an easy endeavor, not just for the physical challenge, but for the emotioinal challenge of a multi-cultured multi-generational bunch of people thrown together on a strenous walk.

At Greasewood Chapter, two elderly Dine women sang, and then we danced. I was moved nearly to tears.

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