Thursday, October 13, 2005


Recently I found myself standing on a small mesa rim overlooking an area of undulating, under-vegetated hillocks that tapered off into the rough and tumble canyon country a few miles below. As I marveled at the scene unfolding within my field of view, a glorious morning sun began its heavenly ascent behind me. The landscape seemed to be moving and shifting right before my eyes. The play of light, shadow and earthy color had a mystical effect on my imagination as I watched the scene evolve on the terrestrial canvas.

Navajo Basket

I left the house before dawn in order to be on time for one of Steve's early morning strategy sessions. While driving to Bluff, I noticed it had rained on the desert the night before. I rolled down the window and breathed deeply in order to truly appreciate the heightened aroma of the stunted vegetation and rich red earth. About five miles north of Bluff, the sun made its appearance on the eastern horizon. I quickly pulled to the side of the road and stepped out of the car to witness the birth of a new day.

The remaining wisps of storm clouds were being hurried along by an upper air flow unfelt at ground level. The slanted rays of light emitted by the uplifting orb backlit the lofty formations and fired up the surrounding countryside with a soft, rich, golden glow. I glanced off to the west, where the land falls away to Cottonwood Wash and is framed along the skyline by the waves of sandstone making up Comb Ridge, and caught my breath. The entire area seemed to be moving in an extraordinary ebb and flow to which I was totally unaccustomed.

My spirit was drawn towards the spectacle, and I wondered how this occurrence was possible. I came to the tightly stretched range fence bordering the highway and nearly high-centered myself on the prickly barbed wire. I made my way across the saturated sand to the high, rocky point previously mentioned. Focusing on the heavenly phenomenon, I realized the cloud formations were drifting across the face of the Sun, causing shadows to traverse horizontally across the landscape. This, along with the natural contrast of early morning light and shadow, caused a visually intoxicating sensation.

What at one moment was darkened by shadow was, at the next moment standing out in sharp contrast. It was like watching waves roll across the desert. A disconcerting feeling of being out of place and time enveloped my earthly perception. Sandstone, sagebrush and red earth flowed in and out of focus, stimulating my sense of wonder. It was so overwhelming I had to sit down on a large weathered boulder to keep my balance.

It did not take long for the mirage to dissipate into the reality of "post sunrise depression," or "PSD" as I like to refer to it. This is an emotional let-down that affects me to the very core of my being. To my knowledge there is no medication or therapy available that will cure, or even soften, the blow of this mortal encumbrance. I am deeply moved after witnessing a spectacular sunrise or sunset and having to suffer through the realization that it is now gone, only to be found in the confused recesses of my befuddled memory. Bummer Dude!

When I finally arrived at the trading post, I found Steve frustrated with my tardiness. His comment was, "How can we expect our employees to attend these meetings on a regular basis when you are consistently sidetracked by bright, shiny objects and occurrences?" "Good question", said I. "I will try harder, I assure you!" Later that day, Chris Johnson, one of the best Navajo basket weavers ever to walk into the trading post came in with the most spectacular basket I have ever seen, and began to explain its origins to Steve and me.

It seems Chris had arisen early the other morning to welcome the day. He said that he had witnessed the most amazing sunrise he had ever seen. The problem, he said, was that he gets depressed whenever something like that happens and then fades away. The basket was his attempt to keep the image of that wondrous morning light fresh in his memory. I looked at Chris and then Steve, with a smile of satisfaction and said "PSD, there is a cure!"

With Warm Regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

Copyright 2005 Twin Rocks Trading Post

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