Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Am a River

It was a beautiful spring evening, and I had just finished a full shift of buying and selling turquoise jewelry, Navajo rug, baskets, sand paintings and a variety of other art items typically stocked at Twin Rocks Trading Post. Since it was Wednesday, Grange would have Boy Scouts later in the day and my familial troop would not be home for hours.


As I secured the Kokopelli doors and wondered how to occupy my time until the balance of the Simpson family arrived back in Bluff, I decided to drive out to Goosenecks State Park. I had not been there in some time, and I was missing the land. Climbing into the blue Subaru, I noticed the brilliant sun sinking low in the west and felt its warmth on the back of my neck. The clouds were beginning to glow a soft pink, and it was sure to be a stunning evening.

Driving west at a brisk pace, I sliced through the massive cut where Highway 163 pierces Comb Ridge, the sandstone monocline that runs almost 120 miles through Northern Arizona and southeastern Utah. Barry informs me Comb Ridge is believed by the Navajo people to be the Great Snake. Priscilla, however, says the Navajo term for it is “tseyikaan”, which roughly translates as, “The rock that forms a narrow edge”.

Dropping into Comb Wash and quickly ascending Lime Ridge, I saw Monument Valley unfolding in the distance. Out there in wind scraped canyons lay the remains of demons destroyed by the Hero Twins, Monster Slayer and Born for Water. These twins, born of an illicit affair between the Sun and Changing Woman, saved the people from hideous creatures spawned when Navajo men and women became disenchanted with each other, separated and engaged in unspeakable acts.

A few miles more and I found myself at the Goosenecks. This small and relatively unknown state park overlooks a profound gash in the earth caused by the meandering San Juan River. Millions and millions of years ago, the Monument Upwarp caused the river to cut deep meanders into a landscape that was being driven slowly but persistently upward. These curving, wandering incisions are over 1,000 feet deep and expose layer upon layer of geologic history.

As darkness began to push in around me, my eyes followed the twists and turns of the river as it snaked westerly towards the ridge where the sun had only recently dwelled. Standing on this high overlook viewing the river as it bent back and forth with no apparent script, I was reminded that most of my days at Twin Rocks Trading Post are similar in nature. Indeed, meandering might be the best way to describe them.

Even when I arrive at work with fierce determination to stay focused on specific tasks, something always moves me in an unintended direction. A telephone call, a visit by a long absent customer, a reminder that I have left a task unattended or a question submitted through the internet by some previously unknown individual, and I am catapulted in a new direction. By the end of the day I am generally at a completely unexpected place, one wholly unrelated to the journey I originally charted.

As I navigated the car towards Bluff, I realized my life is like the San Juan; my course determined by forces beyond my control and my fate in the hands of a higher, incomprehensibly capricious power. I am a river.

With warm regards,
Steve, Barry and The Team


Great New Items! This week's selection of Native American art!

Our TnT's purchased new treasures! Check out Traders in Training!

Enjoy artwork from our many collector friends in Living with the Art!

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