Returned from Navajoland Pilgrimage on Saturday evening. Only now feeling like a real person back home what with the jet lag and the humidity. By the by, Navajo actually means "horse thief" in Spanish and they prefer to be called Dine'.
Monument Valley is stunning. We remarked several times that you simply can't take a bad picture out there, but no photo will do the space and grandeur justice. The redness of the dirt, the blueness of the sky, the SPACE between the monuments...ok, I'll stop drooling.
Tano, our neighbor and guide on several hikes, told us that the monuments in the valley are sacred to the Dine'. This is holy ground. And it was won with a price. We've all read about the history of Native Americans since the white people came. We know about the destruction and exploitation. The Dine' have lived in this valley for a very long time--they were not part of the Trail of Tears--yet they have been taken advantage of for centuries. This beautiful land has cost them dearly.
Our trip to the reservation costs. The plane ticket alone is $500 or so. Plus food, SUV rentals, gasoline, materials for the work--it adds up to many thousands of dollars. Is the beauty and spiritual depth worth the money and damage to the environment from gasoline fumes? How much longer can we go out there?
I spent a lot of money on jewelry this year. We buy Dine' crafts to auction on Shrove Tuesday and send the profits back to the Episcopal Diocese on the reservation. This year, I may have overspent myself. Something like fifteen necklaces and bracelets and a lovely painted pot. Can you say "buyer's remorse"?
I return to a hundred emails and a messy office. I plunge right back in and have soon lost the calm I won on the reservation. Everything costs. Is it worth it?