Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There Must Be a Pony in There Somewhere

Male, female; the sun, the moon; good, bad; positive, negative; compassion, hatred; black, white, all are terms generally considered contradictory; opposite. Just as death follows birth, however, none exists without the other.

Coyote Placing the Stars Navajo Basket by Peggy Black
Coyote Placing the Stars Navajo Basket by Peggy Black

Last week Grange and I were driving to Blanding to attend his first wrestling meeting of the 2009 season. I was too excited to think of anything else, but he obviously had something much more important on his mind. As we drove north in my old Ford pickup, Grange remained quiet. After a time, he inquired whether there is a line on the earth where it is day on one side and night on the other.

My explanation that day and night are progressive concepts which flow into each other in a never-ending stream of light to dark, with lots of gray in between, was unconvincing. He was not yet prepared to agree that the world is in a constant state of flux, and believed there might be a place where we would be in absolute darkness one moment and bright light the next. To him, once we properly identified that point, we would simply step across the line and the world would change.

At Twin Rocks Trading Post, Barry and I long ago became familiar with the Navajo concept of hozho, which incorporates the theme of opposites. In finding the natural balance associated with hozho, one must accept that everything is both male and female, positive and negative; there is no clear division; each abstraction incorporates elements of the other and neither exists independently. Navajo basket weaver Peggy Black often uses this theme. In her Coyote Placing the Stars basket, one can see black mirroring white, chaos emerging from order and identifiable constellations rivaling the randomness of the Milky Way.

As the world spins into what seems like incomprehensible economic disarray, I cannot help but think of Grange. Surely we would all like to step across his imaginary threshold from financial darkness into the light. Instead, we are likely destined to grapple with the difficulties of an impenetrable gloom for some time.

In San Juan County, Utah, we have not felt the strains that other larger, more populated areas of the United States have experienced. We joke with each other about not losing much, because we never had much to lose. In many ways, that comment is accurate. The truth, however, is much more complicated, and much more human. In these strange times, we have begun to remember that we are not opposites; that we are instead inherently intertwined and must rely on each other to thrive in good times and bad.

Artists like Elsie Holiday and Marvin Jim are adjusting their work. They may have become a little more conservative, but are also more thoughtful in their creativity. The return to basic values is apparent everywhere, and we are generally more responsive to the needs of others, even when the only thing we have to offer is emotional support.

While most are wondering what the ultimate result of this crisis will be, we are searching for opportunity; opportunity to expand the art, to improve our business techniques and to infuse our operation with compassion for our neighbors and fellow travelers.

At the trading post these difficult times are resulting in an unexpected benefit; we are all a tad more understanding. It is, at times, hard to know whether we are currently in darkness or light. The answer probably lies, as with all things, somewhere in between, with aspects of both. In every male there is a female, in every disaster an opportunity.

As Jana once said while we stood looking at an extremely large pile of manure, “There must be a pony in there somewhere.”

With Warm Regards,
Steve, Barry and the Team.

Copyright 2009 Twin Rocks Trading Post

No comments: