Navajoland Observations

No Frustration Friday for December 1. Instead, enjoy these photos and thoughts I had while visiting the Navajo Nation for Grandma Tapahe’s funeral.

The house was cluttered and grimy in the way of poor houses. But the couches were soft and the coffee was good. At the end of a long journey, there’s nothing more we could ask for.

Two lifetimes of heirlooms and memories filled the shelves, and the kitchen overflowed with the generosity of loved ones.

Gray dawn over Navajoland. The air is heavy. I worry for my brothers and my father and uncles.

The smoky incense in the chapel is comforting. The rosary is spoken quietly but with conviction. Hymns sung in Navajo make me cry.

Graffiti everywhere says “Resistance” and “water is life” in English and Sioux.

No empty bellies; only full hearts. Family and love and food are healing things.

Early morning haze fills the small valley — a combination of wood smoke and mist. The smell is like nowhere else on earth, clean and fresh and warm and cold all at once.

At the hotel, breakfast is warm. Coffee is always so good here, fresh and prepared with love. Everywhere you go, small grandmothers want to make sure you are fed and welcome. I don’t know if I could eat another mouthful. But of course, I do.

Cemeteries full of military tombstones. Even the small family plots have one or two. It’s ironic, considering how much havoc the US Military wreaked on the Navajo.

Evonne is Rudolph, leading the way through the snowstorm. Her reddish Chevrolet has reindeer antlers and a red nose. It’s so snowy and windy. I’m grateful all these Navajo know how to drive in weather. I can hardly see the canyon walls on either side of the road.

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