The two-week hiatus in posting blogs and comments was caused by my trip to the Southwest. While there I found a Navajo guide who took me into Canyon de Chelly.

First of all, never tell a Navajo guide you are up to a challenging hike. The only time I have ever come close to puking from fear is when we were crawling up a rock dome above a 500-foot precipice in 70 mile-an-hour winds.

The weather was variable. The first day, hot and sunny. The second day, warm and 40 to 70 mph winds. The third day, snow showers. Perhaps for that reason, I think we were the only hikers in the whole canyon. Other tourists came in my truck along the canyon floor instead of climbing in and out. They didn’t get the full experience or accumulate several ounces of red dust (it took three baths to get rid of it) and about 50 cactus spines. We hikers suffer for our art, but it is worth it.

I am no expert on the Navajos or their religion, but I have read a number of books and have observed Navajos’ off-hand comments. They recognize the existence of spirits, the Ye’i, which seem to be much like the Hopi kachinas, who are messengers and bringers of blessings. But the Navajo also seem to be monotheists, and constantly refer to the Creator and His intentions for our lives and our world.

The religion is a religion of healing, both bodily and spiritual. Evil is being out of harmony, out of the Creator’s plan of beauty for the world. This beauty must be restored by a Sing, which involves dances, songs, and the sand paintings which are the portal through which the Ye’i enter our world.

All their prayers end with the equivalent of Amen, Hózhó náhásdlíí.

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

Hózhó náhásdlíí