They walk in beauty. It's the Navajo way. They live in what they call the Glittering World, divided by the four sacred mountains, the four directions. And they are the stewards of one of the most recognized--and most photographed--locations in the United States. Pictured above is that special place, Monument Valley.
How lucky can the people, the Dinéh, be?
But they also suffered the Long Walk, where hundreds of innocent Navajo men, women, and children were killed while, beginning in 1863, when the U.S. cavalry, led by fur trapper Kit Carson, forced the Navajo people out of the land they called home. Even the animals they cared for--the sheep, horses, and cattle--were slaughtered or stolen, and their farms and orchards destroyed to starve them into submission. It's hard to imagine such ugliness could occur in the beautiful and remote location that is today known as Canyon de Chelly.
I recently traveled to these two locations on a whirlwind tour I took through the Navajo Nation and Hopi Land.
It was an eye-opening trip.
I learned much about this large community in a short time. I wish I could have spent more time there, so I will return again later in the year.
I want to know more about this Navajo way of life. To walk in beauty is such a lovely phrase, but I didn't have time to do it myself. I was too busy working to be able to fully appreciate what I was witnessing first-hand. I snapped several dozen photos of the sunrise and sunset at Monument Valley. My photo above of the Mitten and Merrick buttes is one example. But what I'd rather do next time is just see it, just witness the color changes, the changing shapes and shadows. I would like to walk in the way of beauty, and I think that means something else has to stay behind. It's hard to focus on the view when you have to focus on getting a good shot, instead.
But that phrase has stayed with me on the drive home, and it's in my thoughts still today, now four days after my return. I like the thought of living in a glittering world. I'm not sure what it means, exactly, but it sounds lovely. I'd like to think that I can walk in beauty, too. I'd like to learn more about this concept and transfer it to where and how I live. I want to believe you don't have to reside on the reservation to be able to do this.
Just as other religions have a God or higher power to help lead them on the right path, the Navajo have Holy People that show them how to walk in harmony with the world, to maintain a balance. It's why they weave rugs, make pottery, dance. Their religion is their way of life. All that they do, they do for the sake of harmony. The ways of reaching it may be slightly different than mine, but I think it's a good idea to learn the workings of other religions. I think this kind of knowledge can provide a new way of looking at my own beliefs, maybe even strengthening them.
What about you? In your travels, have you ever been influenced by a religion or spiritual belief that was very different from your own? Did it change your perspective at all, and in what way?