I took many photos at Canyon de Chelly near Chinle, Arizona, and, as I review them, I am even now more amazed at the grace and beauty I experienced last Saturday afternoon. Instead of posting some of the more well-known scenes, I decided today to show some detail that may not appear into the numerous sites which promote this historic location.
At first I thought that possibly the effort to reach this isolated spot in the heart of Navajo country in Northeastern Arizona contributed to its mystique, but now I don't think so. This quietly dramatic, natural setting exuded a sacred energy which, by its sheer simplicity, eclipsed, in my opinion, the power of the Grand Canyon. Here, within its rocks, were the remains of homes and wall paintings of early peoples that reminded me of the once living and whose voices I easily imagined carried by the wind.
The first photo, taken through a rock window, shows a hogan on the canyon floor used today by sheep or goat herders perhaps during cold weather. Navajos use the land for grazing and for recreational horseback riding. It is an organic part of the reservation and not banalized as a separate entity defined by gates, fees, and concession stands, which is typical of national park status.
It is early Spring here and many cacti are in bloom. Creeks are gurgling with snow run-off and trees show signs of new leaves. In this environment of wildly fluctuating temperature and fine red dusty sand, adaptation takes so many forms. I included the second and third photo to add a touch of color which might help convey the tenacity of the plants I found along the 2 1/2 mile trail.
The last photo looking East is purely to let your eyes and mind explore a small section of this glorious place. Perhaps you will find a painting drawn near a crevice or by a cave entrance. Will it be of an eagle or a coyote or merely a puzzling symbol reflecting an innermost thought? Only you will know!