Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Walk in beauty......

From a Navajo ceremony:
In the house made of dawn,
In the house made of evening twilight,
In the house made of dark cloud and rain
In beauty I walk.

With beauty before and behind me,
With beauty below and above,
With beauty all around me, I walk

I have always wanted to visit Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly since I was a young child....it only took me until I was 51 years old to get here. I had always admired the Navajo, who call themselves Dine'e "the people". They have a simple view of life and to me it is the best. Appreciate what you have and what is around you, do no wrong, treat others well and it keeps life in the balance. Each day their morning prayers are said toward the east before the sun rises. They express gratitude for their good life, for their livestock, for their land, and the wonders that they live among. This brings Hozhóó (harmony).

I love the Navajo creation story and share it with you now, if you haven't read or heard it before:
Navajo Creation Story

Only the Creator knows where the beginning is. The Creator had a thought that created Light in the East. Then the thought went South to create Water, West to create Air, and North to create Pollen from emptiness. This Pollen became Earth.

Light, air, water, and earth is contained in everything within nature; all of the natural world is interconnected and equal.

All of these elements mixed together, and the first thing created were the Holy People. These Holy People were given the job and responsibility of teaching what is right and wrong. Holy people were given the original laws, then they created the earth and human beings.

The Creator with the help of the Holy People created the Natural World. They created humans, birds, and all of the Natural World was put in Hozjo (BALANCE). This Hozjo (harmony, balance, and peace) is dependent on interconnectedness. All of the Natural World depends on another. The Navajo say they are glued together with respect, and together they work in harmony. To the Navajo this present world is the fifth.

The place of emergence into this level was Xajiinai, a hole in the La Plata mountains of SW Colorado. The Holy People have the power to hurt or help, and centuries ago taught the Dineh how to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky and the other elements: man, animals, plants, insects.The Dineh believe that when the ceremonies cease the world will cease.

When we left the Grand Canyon we drove through dry, desolate areas where the Navajo called home. They would have a stick built house or mobile home (with the door always facing east) and many had a tradition Hogan not far away. As we approached Monument Valley we started to see signs of the sandstone formations. I started getting excited and when I glimpsed the Mittens it was "the Mittens! the Mittens! Look there are the Mittens!" like I was that young child again. We checked into The View Hotel, owned and run by the Navajo. This is the only hotel actually in the park. It is beautifully built where it blends into the surrounding sandstone. View from our room:Inside the View, I didn't want to use a flash and the colors didn't quite turn out right, but they have beautiful rugs, and artwork everywhere.

We drove the 17 mile dirt road thru the park just before dusk. I don't think I closed my mouth once I was in such awe. They had some bilagaana (white man) names for some of the sandstone monoliths like the camel butte, and the elephant butte, and others more traditional like the Yei Bi Chei. Some of the viewpoints were named Artist's point (though there really didn't seem to be one better view than another to me) and John Ford's Point for his movies filmed there. I tried really hard to pick just my favorite pics from all that I took and was only able to narrow it down to the following. Every second the lighting would change and it would make me stop and take more pics. No view ever looked exactly the same. I'm going to end this blog post with all the views that I wanted to share. Enjoy.


Kanisha said...

truly beautiful landscapes thank you for sharing

thecrazysheeplady said...

Beautiful! Monument Valley is one of my most treasured places. Thanks for sharing.

I need orange said...


just ... WOW.

One spectacular shot after another.


Thank you so much for sharing with us.........

Susan said...

OMG, Tammy! This is just awesome, and I mean that in the true sense of the word! National Geographic couldn't have done a better pictorial. I love that hotel and how it blends almost seamlessly into the landscape. Frank Lloyd Wright would have been inspired by that structure.

No doubt my mouth would have been open as well. Thank you for sharing.

kadfoto said...

I'm happy you included so many pictures, thank you. What a gorgeous area. Truly beautiful. I also really enjoyed reading your words and impressions of the area, an area I've never set foot in. The Navajo ceremony words are very touching, they feel calm and safe.

Farmer Jen said...

Wow. Great photos.

ellen said...

Tammy, I am glad you are blogging, it suits you and you are a GREAT photographer!!!
Thanks.......... :)

Kay Lodahl said...

Tammy, your photography is profound!! I love every picture and the landscape there is beautiful. Thanks for posting your trip. Obviously, you had a blast!!