I drift out onto the wide, warm, red porch to sit in the evening's golden glow. Like my father before me, it is common for me to nod off in the comfortable setting and dream. As the shadow of the towering Twin Rocks blankets the trading post, I relax and contemplate the history, life ways, and influence people of the past have had on our tiny community.
As young boys, my brothers and I explored nearly every canyon, nook, cranny, and corner Bluff had to offer; our sisters were not so adventurous. Craig, Steve, and I wandered this small river valley to the east across the "Holy Land" of Saint Christopher's Mission and the oft-precarious Swinging Bridge. To the west, we roamed as far as Sand Island and the thought-provoking petroglyph panel pecked into the vertical sandstone cliff by everyone from Ancient Puebloans to early Utes and cowboys from a bygone era. The same San Juan River that often attempted to flush early Mormon settlers to the Gulf of Mexico provided a formidable border to the south.
As we grew to know the land and her people, both past and present, we came to realize that Bluff was a mini mecca for a wide variety of vibrant and complex cultures. A number of early American Indian cultures honored a life force that dwells in the earth, sky, and water and within all animals and humans. Anglo societies embraced variations on the monotheistic theme. The Latter-Day Saints arrived through the Hole-in-the-Rock and settled Bluff in the spring of 1880. St. Christopher's Mission was founded in 1943 by Father H. Baxter Liebler, an Episcopalian priest from Connecticut.
Growing up in Bluff has allowed us to learn and grow from diverse groups of people, those who hold to the belief that ceremonial practice, tradition, culture, and, yes, even myth and magic are integral aspects of daily life. One has only to re-engage the spirits of the past; their thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and secrets are accessible through the written word, rock art, and storytellers. For those in search of a more earthy spiritual experience, simply look to the upper reaches of the red-rock spires and listen.
My brothers and I have learned that life is a journey, an educational process gleaned from pleasure and pain. We now tend to seek out moderate adventure, embrace diversity, and enjoy life as best we can. Continuing education has proven important to a better understanding of our world. The rich and varied history, tradition, and cultures our special little community has to offer provided a great start. If you come to Bluff, we hope you realize and enjoy the beauty of the landscape, richness of character, and unique characters our distinctive community has to offer. We feel Bluff has an unusual spirit that must be encountered in order to be understood.
With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.