When the Vast Sky Kisses the Planet

Monument_Valley_(14028208328)

We have been on the move now for more than 24 hours and the strain is beginning to show. But the journey has been smooth so far. No trouble at immigration or customs, and the ride we rented has even got a CD player.

Sitting now on the motel bed in Flagstaff next to the railway running parallel to Route 66, I can’t help being a little shocked about how small the world seems to have become. Vienna-Flagstaff in a day, and I wonder if my soul is not still somewhere over the Atlantic.

(From: Hit the Road)

Day 2, 4th June 2002:

Sitting now on the bed of room 3, Budget Inn/Farmington/New Mexico, I am letting the spent day run passed my mind’s eye. We left Flagstaff this morning after having breakfast at the Galaxy Diner.

My milkshake was ok, but I am already getting pissed off with the grinning US waitresses who scream: “How are you, folks?” in a painfully high pitched voice, call ladies who are in their 80s “girls”, and take half an hour to bring the bill. Give me a sleepy and grumpy “Kellnerin” any time!

We hit the Route 89 going north after filling the tank to the rim. Thomas discovered the blessings of the cruise control – being able to relax both feet – and diving down into the red desert lands accompanied by “Third World” and Linton Kwesi Johnson I again was reminded of what I love so much about this part of our mother earth:

the seemingly endless space sucks all needless thoughts out of your overactive brain, and the vast sky kissing the planet’s surface teaches you lessons about the relativity of mankind’s existence that I cannot even begin to describe.

Screw TV and second-hand events – life is in motion through space-time.

We entered the Reservation from the Tuba City side, where the road comes down from the Hopi Mesas, where I began this lifetime journey six years ago hitching a ride with two roadrunners … memories, but that’s another story. We travelled fast (the cops were busy busting other drivers today) and got to Kayenta at noon.

Having time to spare, we decided to take the long way round, and took the left turn through Monument Valley.

Well, you can see this place a million times and still be awed by the majesty of the rock formations rising from this ancient seabed.

I used to work there on the Utah/Arizona border and still wonder how people manage to live amongst the stone gods without going crazy (maybe they wonder how we can live in the Waldviertel).

There were even a few drops of rain in the Valley, but that was more a bad joke considering the bad drought this year.

We turned east, crossing the shallow San Juan, went through Mexican Water to Red Mesa. Stopping at the High School to visit some former teaching colleagues of mine, we were shocked by the sand that is piling up everywhere. It is frightening how the desert is closing in once the vegetation has died. Blackhorse was not there, and as we were told that he was teaching summer school at Dine College, we continued onwards to Shiprock.

The Blackhorse family village next to Miracle Hill was deserted, so we pinned a note to the door telling him that we were going to Farmington to get some stuff and rest for the night. Then we decided to call Gerri and her future husband (that’s the couple who invited us to their traditional wedding) and surprisingly we got a hold of them.

I say “surprisingly” because it can take days to get a hold of anyone on the Reservation due to bad phone lines, no phones at all, or people just being out somewhere on the land.

Anyway, we visited them briefly at their Duplex on the outskirts of Shiprock and were delighted to meet Gerri’s grandmother again. The old lady doesn’t speak English but eagerly took part in our conversation, being puzzled by the fact that Tom and I would make such a long trip for what reason?

She is so deeply rooted in traditional Navajo culture that most “modern concepts” are strange to her. I will be telling you about this very special old lady at a later stage – she is going to attend the wedding and is already sending Gerri on all sorts of traditional errands that have to be performed before the actual ceremony.

So we drove to Farmington and got some sunblock. We are going to need that badly as we have been asked to go out to the wedding site in Sweetwater tomorrow and gather loads of firewood for the sweat lodge and the campsite. The Farmington Mall is the usual catastrophe for any sensitive soul-shitty, overblown “architecture” and degenerate inbreed white trash zombies haunting the neon corridors. Culture?!

After checking in at the motel we called Blackhorse again. He answered and was upset that we hadn’t just entered his house through the backdoor. He, of course, had our rooms prepared.

Well, we arranged to meet for dinner at the “Three Rivers” and he came down from Shiprock to discuss the coming days and to update us on the things that had been going on with the ranch and the family.

After dinner we gave him one of the CDs that we had produced for him (thank you, Rob!) and he got real excited and happy. Phew, am I glad! Good night now, Sasha is off to dreamland.

Credits

Image Title Author License
Monument_Valley_(14028208328) Monument_Valley_(14028208328) Airwolfhound CC BY-SA 2.0

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