The Ties That Bind

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April 25, 2019-

I spent Tuesday honouring a longtime friend, who had passed on about ten days earlier.  As many of you know, Penny, Aram and I lived for seven years, on the Navajo Nation, working and living life among the Dineh and Hopi people.  Previous to that, Penny and I spent our first years as a couple in another Navajo community, where we similarly enjoyed life with both nations.

Dinnebito is a small, isolated Dineh community, between the two areas where we lived.  It was, at the time we lived there, included in a disputed land area- and the people found themselves hogtied, I daresay, by a Federally-mandated freeze on any improvements to land or property.  That merciless, unnecessary interference in relations between Dineh and Hopi has now gone away.  The pain it caused, however, has left a lasting scar in the lives of many.  That’s the way it is, with “Divide and conquer”.

I have friends, people I regard as family, in both nations.  One of them was KJ Manybeads, in whose honour I prayed and whose remains I helped inter on Tuesday.  John’s family welcomed me, at the service and afterwards, as we celebrated his life, the way we celebrated so many things in the years gone by- gathering at long tables or around in a circle of chairs, primarily outside.

When I drove back to Prescott, Tuesday evening, I took the long way around, driving on a back road, from the Hopi tribal seat, Kykotsmovi, to the Dineh town of Leupp. It gave me a long time, to recall what blessings and timeless character lessons are afforded those who honour the First Nations.  Yes, indigenous people are just humans, but those who are deeply connected to the Earth, to all Creation, have much to offer the wider community.

When I reconnected with “the world”, on Tuesday evening, I found time conflicts were causing me problems I had not fully processed.  That brought me to these conclusions:

  1.  In scheduling myself, while at Home Base, here on out, the priorities will be- a. Faith Community; b. this immediate area (Prescott and Yavapai County); c. everyplace else.
  2.  If it is someone’s sincere understanding that I have promised my time and energy, I will honour that, (even if I did not, in fact, make that promise),  for the sake of unity.

That  has been my standard, more or less, all along, and it just needed to be refreshed.

 

 

 

 

So He Loved and Has Now Flown

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May 13, 2017, Prescott-

Another long-suffering soul has gone home.

His first comment to me,

thirty-six years ago,

was to not soak a tub of beans overnight,

unless the plan was

to stay up and watch them.

This, as we saw that someone had

done the opposite.

The ground was littered

with soft pintos.

Ants were emerging,

to savour the feast.

His last remarks

to his family, were

that he wanted to go home.

Yesterday afternoon,

he did just that.

In seventy-five years,

Moses Manybeads Nakai

had been a steadfast believer

in the Oneness of Mankind.

He married a young nurse,

who had come to the Navajo Nation,

to serve both the Dineh and Hopi.

They raised two daughters,

both of whom are

college-educated professionals.

Moses went many places,

in his life,

from Samoa to Alaska.

He always came back,

though,

to his beloved Dinnebito.

It was there that his father

practiced traditional healing.

It was there that his mother

made the best mutton stew

in the universe.

It is there that his sister

still lives,

with her husband and family,

living the traditional herding life.

Moses left us,

while in the comforting environs

of Montezuma Well.

It gave him solace

to know that

there is a deep connectedness there.

Only days ago,

a rare red snapping turtle

emerged from the well.

It had navigated the channels,

of which we seem to know little.

Moses knew,

and the Navajo people know,

quite a bit about such things.

One more bit of connectedness

has now gone through the veil.

I trust

that I will hear from you,

again soon,

my friend.

Embrace the Light.

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