Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Way the Navajo Know Them

My commute home

The Navajo tell me that there are too many horses in the High Country.  I know because when I first drove up to The College on narrow and rugged Route 12 from Window Rock, I met a couple of these wild creatures standing defiantly in the road such that I had to stop. 

And when I say wild I mean, long shaggy mane, mud smeared, and “Spirited.”  These were Mustangs – and I have to tell you – to them, I was some kind of uneasy annoyance. They weren’t arrogant so much as – the best I can do is say – dangerously regal.

These were not Gran’ma Indian’s ponies grazing beside the road.  As I rolled down my car window to say something like “shoo!” or “git!”  They stood glaring at me with trigger-ready eyes.  They smelled something about me, sensed I was a strange thing – their look pierced into me as they formed an idea as to what I was – and this same moment I realized I among the Wild Ones!

They bolt and sprint fiercely offended, “Ehh! Be gone from us!”  And then a short distance away glare and stand stiff.

It was scary for a heartbeat, but at the same time exhilarating!  These were not feral horses, because I know – you too would know because this kind of encounter takes hold to tell you!

We rode in a big van provided by The College to the Shiprock Campus, and also provided was Kurt, our driver from the Maintenance Department, to take us the long way to the annual College Christmas party.  I rode shotgun and while people slept, Kurt told me all the names of the mountains the way the Navajo know them. 

The other members of the staff in the van seem very quiet when we see the Wild Ones – they don’t use the Spanish word Mustang.  I am filled with emotion and try to find and feel what was so close when I first met the ponies on the Route 12.

Kurt says so many, too many…  Struggling to live.  It is Winter and the snow is deep.  The ponies are smeared in that red mud – the same that is smeared on the pickups and caked on the souls of The People’s boots.  I think it breaks their hearts as we ride by in the van, to see the ponies bewildered, angry, and starving – longing for the Creator.
Cheers,  Bruce

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