Dragon Fly Story
The day seemed like a meditation, a reconnecting with a place I'd been away from for too long. Sitting on an inviting boulder and warmed by the morning sun, my eyes explored the forest of Pinon and Juniper that covered the great mesa in all directions, the dark green broken only by a few other sandstone outcroppings and patterns of lighter cottonwood green tracing small arroyos and deep canyons hidden in the forest darkness.
My refuge was an oasis in the secluded vastness a spring pool ringed by ancient cottonwoods shading a carpet of cool green grass. A place where canyon spirits surely play in the between-times.
Here the veil of imagining seems thin, and thoughts drift easily to other times. An arroyo provided a snaking path towards an isolated knoll above the depths of Arch Canyon. Along the way, symbolic representations of beliefs and prayers of the “long Ago People”, the Hisatsinom of the Hopi, are carved deep into sandstone walls, and small chips of red jasper and white chert, brown flint and sometimes shining black obsidian so sharp they can draw blood if handled carelessly, still lying where they fell from the hands of the maker of arrowheads. And abstract visions of an ancient potter, painted black on the smooth white surface of a piece of broken pottery, can lead your mind into its own abstractions. Chipped stone here, broken pottery there, and here and here and there. Everything worthy of contemplation. Kokopelli, ancient wanderer of the southwest with his dancing gait and musical flute, always seems close. Connections.
Then, out of the arroyo and up the knoll's gentle slope, accompanied by the chatter of Pinions Jays flying into a new day and the powerful swoosh of raven wings close overhead. Raven, the messenger. And echoing through the canyon, the cascading beauty of the Canyon Wren's call, captivating the awareness like notes from Kokopelli's magical flute. Sights and sounds mingling with the healing fragrance of sagebrush and juniper in the enveloping heat of a desert sun. On the crest, a circle of large boulders---the circle where all things are equal---tells of others in another time, here for reasons much like my own. A place to blend into the immensity surrounding you. A place to be with yourself. A place to be called sacred.
North across the canyon in the snow-covered Abajos, plants for the Navajo “Beauty Way” ceremony are gathered. Towards the rising sun the 14,000 ft. peaks of the San Juans, the Place of Emergence of the “Blue Sky People”, shine white in the blueness. Southward, the Monuments of the Great Valley rise through the haze, and the spire of Agathla, Center of the Universe, supports the sky. The western horizon is guarded by Navajo Mountain, birthplace of Monster Slayer and place of refuge for “The People”.
And below, the enchanting canyon, whose towering walls and sparkling stream were home to the Ancients whose dwellings, empty windows looking out from another time, appear as part of the cliff itself. Center of the Universe? What better place.
The afternoon passed peacefully in the circle on the knoll, and the setting sun reflected gold and red in the western sky. The Pinion Jays were coming home for the night, and it was time for me to follow. So, back down the slope and along the arroyo winding towards my resting place among the trees and gathering darkness. The day had been good.
Suddenly a swirl of filamentous wings, shimmering silver in the evening light, circled my head and landed facing me on a nearby branch, huge, unblinking eyes appraising me intently. Another circle. And another. Dragonfly, like Raven, a messenger. Another circle. I wondered. Slowly I reached out---and gently ran my finger along a delicate wing.
Surprised---amazed---unsure, I backed away. As I did, the dragonfly flew to my face and hovered for a few seconds, gently brushing my cheek with soft wings, then disappeared into the mystery of the great canyon. Connections.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”