Flourish #TheDailyPost #WritersWednesday

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Since their land was so inhospitable to foreign eyes, they retained their freedom longer than those tribes whose territory the predators desired, and plundered. Little did the invaders knew that the old prophecy had been tested: they were imposters, their creed a fraud, their ignoble brutality a sign they were of inferior stock to the tribes that knew the Peaceful Way.

So they survived the Castillans and their priests, the Anglo preachers who knew nothing of their culture and kept kidnapping their children, in the futile hope to convert them, and now the flow of tourists, ignorant, sun-burnt and fat, and ever so friendly. Yet they flourish, on the same land, now spared the threat of raiders, with better healthcare, a rewarding trade, and still, their incomparable freedom.

Image: The Medicine Man, John Moyers, 2007, oil on canvas, Tucson Museum of Art

Earth #TheDailyPost

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Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

“We’ll be fine here,” she says, looking to the horizon and the melting ochres of the desert. I acquiesce: not only this is a blessed land, but we also know the people here, they are our friends, they have adopted us, and they will bury us according to the rites.

“And you see, this little house, this is so much better than the stupid apartments we spent fortunes on in the city!” The house is simple, thick natural walls, a little nest against the cliff, invisible from the ground…

And far away from the noxious fumes and radioactive dust of what is left of civilisation…

Photo: Walnut Canyon cliffs and ancient Pueblo dwellings, Arizona © Honoré Dupuis 2016

November retreat #WritersWednesday #amwriting

DSC_0205The place suited them, him, and his owl. The owl too loved the wilderness, the immense skies, the many creatures who inhabited the desert.

They had their routine. Before their night visit to the mountain, he would dismantle his weapon, in total obscurity, a puerile exercise practised eons ago, in the academy. Then, slowly, his long fingers recognising each part without hesitation, he would clean and reassemble the gun. He took great care of the lens, the cherished lens.

Then the two of them would take the trail, which started in the foothills, and was a little remote from their home. Acquiring night vision, after he fell, had been one of the many wonders of his new life: a gift for a sniper. That, and being free. They moved slowly, listening to the minute sounds of life, admiring the rocks, the miracles of the desert at night. They would travel as far as the cascade, high near the snow, drink and bathe, his pale body hardly visible in the moonshine. The owl loved hunting there.

Rarely they met a wanderer. Once a goon had tried to shoot the owl. That was one early morning, many years back. Then he had stood, silent, waiting, his anger slowly receding. When the man eventually saw him he dropped his gun. That day he let the goon live, and run away in terror.

In the heat of the day they kept to themselves, hidden, perhaps asleep, he himself had little use for food. Once or twice in the year he drove down to town, far below on the plateau, to fetch supplies for their home, sometime new boots, and books.

Now winter was near. The desert would soon wear a veil of ice. He loved the melody of the desert, when the temperature fell, and the earth dreamed of a new year.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Fresh

GloriousWe drove from Flagstaff, and took Route 89 North, under the volcano, our sights on the snow capped San Francisco range.

Soon, in the direction of the Wupatki ruins, home of the Water clan, we saw the Painted Desert in its splendour, stretching as a thin rainbow on the horizon.

We stopped at the Sunset Crater: there you said the ground was alive, with the spirit of your ancestors.

1064 was the year of the great eruption, and after a millennium, the trees are back, their roots deep in the dark grey lava.

Then I said I loved your home, and your smile took me to heaven.

 

Hopivotskani: the Path of the Hopis #Arizona #Hopis #FourthWorld

This text is an extract from Nancy J. Parezo’s “Emergence to the Fourth World”, in Paths of Life, American Indians of the Southwest and Northern Mexico, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

In the beginning, Tawa, the sun spirit and father, impregnated Mother Earth, who gave birth to living things. These people, animals, and insects lived in the underworld, where they tried to live the Hopi way but were not able to understand the meaning of life and became mired  in corruption and strife caused by sorcerers. Upon hearing footsteps above  and the words of Hummingbird and Spider Grandmother, a brave group decided to leave the koyaanisqatsi, or “crazy life”, behind. They sent out birds to find a way to ascend and explore the unknown land. Catbird finally succeeded in reaching the sipapuni, a hole in the sky, and found Masauwu.

Masauwu, the Spirit of the Dead, gave the people fire and permitted them to settle on his land. The Fire People, who have a special relationship with Masauwu, emerged first, because they agreed to assume the responsibility of leading the others to their final destination. Chipmunk helped the good people climb to the sipapuni through a tall reed. As the people were resting before their journey, Spider Grandmother said, “The journey will be long and difficult. When we reach the Upper World, that will be only a beginning. Things are not like things here. You will discover new ways of doing things. During the journey you must try to discover the meaning of life and learn to distinguish good from evil. Tawa did not intend for you to live in the midst of chaos and dissension.”

Maria II

 

Image:

Maria II, Kate Russell photographer, Freyr Marie and Rose B. Simpson, models – Arizona State Museum

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