It's our last night here in Santa Fe, after four full days of taking it very easy. It's been so good! Such good food and company and accomodations! We've had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Terry, David (Liza's parents) and Jackson, Liza's brother, and we've loved every minute of it. So much great conversation and many great walks... I could go on and on. We feel very...adopted.
I just wanted to write a little more from where I left off the other day. It's so hard to choose a day to write about because they all bleed into one another in a very magical way. Anyways, Daniel Store brought us the fry bread, and I'm tempted to think of this as one of the best eating experiences on the trip, though it's hard because there are so many-- we become so hungry that nearly every eating experience be it hot dogs in mac n cheese or pop tarts in the oatmeal seems satisfying beyond measure.
In front of Daniel Store's house, or I guess it was his mom's house, we pitched our tents and it was not long after dinner that we crawled into them and turned on our headlights to either read what is at least for me a half a page from the one book that I brought-- the Magic Mountain-- or write a quarter of a page before falling asleep. I was awoken in the middle of the night by the urge to pee. This is a terribly annoying thing when it's cold out and you are bundled in a sleeping bag. Nevertheless, I unzipped the bag and the tent and I was overjoyed to see the moon so low and huge over the far off mesas in the desert on the Navajo reservation. Bill woke to my rustling and I pointed to the moon and it was spectacular enough to lure him from whatever dream and sit up-- "Oh my god." And then an owl hooted. And then again. And again. We were both so thrilled. I climbed out to pee and tried walking toward the sound of the owl but I had no idea--hardly any trees around! I decided it was very important that I remember the owl's call so that I could look it up in the morning, so I made up some mnemonic to match the syllables and sounds and rythm. In the mornign I struggled to remember what it was because I was basically still asleep throughout the whole thing. My mnemonic was, I remembered, "I will follow you. I will follow you. I will follow you." It's the same number of syllables as the barred owl-- a mnemonic I've heard for the barred owl call is "who cooks for you all? Who cooks for you all?" I thought my dreamy mnemonic was funny and oh so wishful. If only an owl would follow us as we went on our way.
As we ate our breakfast, oatmeal as almost always, Daniel Store walked over and asked us in an almost disinerested tone if we drank coffee. We said we did...with some hesitation... and then he disappeared back into the house. He reappeared a few minutes later with four cups of coffee. His generosity was so strange and amazing largely because he said so few words, and he didn't really seem to want to become friends with us, instead he seemed to have this almost instinct or custom that led him to care for us. He went about his business, but made did what he could to help us. We were strangers, but when we left it felt as if we had some strange bond with him because he was so generous to us. It's crazy how often I have felt this way. So many people go so far out of their way to help us, and there is so little to do beside accept their generosity, say thank you, and then continue with the feeling that we must at all costs reciprocate this generosity whenever and to whomever we are capaple. Hopefully it goes around.
From Leupp we rode to Greasewood, where we met Raymon John, a sheep farmer who loaded our bikes into his truck and drove us to his farm. The sun was going down when we arrived, and he showed us the old hogan-- a traditional hexagonal hut that the navajo use for ceremonies-- that we could sleep in. We were far out on the plains and the light was coming across sideways and we were all so incredibly happy to be once again receiving someone's inconceivable generosity. The sheep were all corralled and looking at us confusedly. We admired them, met the very shy sheep herder, and settled in to our hogan. We made a small fire outside as the sky darkened. The stars were incredibly bright. We roasted marshmallows and ate them between two chips ahoy cookies, which is actually great (not better than smores though).
In the mornign we saw the sheep wandering out near the mesa with the sheep herder close behind, and Raymond John arrived at abotu 830 to greet us and give us a ride back to the paved road (about 5 miles). He brought with him his son Mervin who was very friendly and told us many stories about life on the reservation and various navajo traditions and ceremonies. He showed us some incredible native american music during the drive, and he took a picture of us when we said goodbye at the Trading Post. And with that we were off to Canyon de Chelly, which would require so many pages and words to even begin to do it justice. I started a water color there and I was afraid I may have deeply offended teh canyon. I've never seen anything like it.. at any rate, I must go. It's late and everybody else is enjoying the heat of the woodstove. We move on in the morning-- to Las Vegas, NM, and onward through Texax, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee and then to the coast in North Carolina. We were talking the other day about trying to convince our parents to come meet us at the outer banks in North carolina to camp and hang out at the supposedly beautiful place in North Carolina. Bill said his parents already mentioned possibly comingo ut there... I keep forgetting to tell my parents... and the rest... if you read this... think about it....