It was late evening as I walked out on the wide iron-red porch of the trading post to enjoy the golden autumn sunset. Fall is my favorite event here in Bluff. The season often stretches into late November, and sometimes, if we are very lucky, into early December. In our small, protected, high desert river valley we are blessed with enhanced, often exaggerated, seasons.
The Bluff, Utah road Twin Rocks Trading Post is located.
The gnarled and twisted limbs of the cottonwood trees stubbornly hang onto their bright yellow leaves; like overprotective, jealous guardians. Eventually the frosty north winds of winter dip into our sheltered cove and tear them from the trees' selfish grasp. But not today! The circulating current of air was more than tolerable with just a hint of crispness to it. The breeze smelled and felt exhilaratingly refreshing.
I sat on the warm sunbathed concrete steps and looked to the south. Backlit by the rosy red cliffs, the cottonwoods, with their heavily textured trunks and bouquets of turned foliage, were lit up with an intensely rich glow. The slanting sunlight was filtering through the semitransparent leaves, and putting on a light show that inspired my visual senses.
At times like these, I tend to go "mind-blind". My brain shuts down, blocking the stress and anxiety of my world, and allowing the pleasures of sensation free reign. As I sat there thinking of nothing at all, I glimpsed movement to my right, over near the layered and stacked base of the Twin Rocks. Something had spooked a Merriam Turkey from behind the rocks, and the wild thing was beating a hasty retreat towards the river.
The bird was flying at a high rate of speed about ten feet off the ground, right across the parking lot in front of me. It was a large, full-bodied turkey with heavy plumage; I guessed it to be a tom. Its head was bright red and stretched far out ahead of its much larger body.
The dispersed sunlight washed over the bird, setting off the dark brown feathers tinged with gold. The white tipped tail feathers pointed straight back looking much like the back end of a lighted rocket. I could hear the turkey's wings beating furiously at the evening breeze. In a flash, the creature was gone over the highway and hayfield to the dense tamarisk bordering the river.
The Twin Rocks in Bluff, Utah.
My mind kicked back in, and I thought of how the Navajo people think of the turkey as a savior of sorts. When the people were forced from the previous world by Water Creature's great flood, it was Turkey who thought clearly. Making his way to the grainery, Turkey carefully placed two of each seed on the feathers of his body. Thus, heavily burdened, Turkey made his way to the growing reed; an escape route provided by two men who would one day become Sun and Moon.
The encroaching waters lapped at Turkey's backside all the way to the reed, causing his tail feathers to be forever white as a reminder of his heroism. Turkey was the last one into the reed, barely making his escape. The seeds Turkey made off with provided the people an opportunity to grow and prosper upon their emergence into this world. Turkey had saved the day, ensuring a future to the Navajo.
Breathing deeply, I smiled inwardly, thinking to myself how beautiful and amazing the sight I had just witnessed had been. The sun sank lower on the horizon and the shadows grew longer and deeper. I sighed to myself, thinking it was time to head up the highway to my warm, comfortable home and family. Life is good here at the base of the Twin Rocks; good indeed.
With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.