|Navaho Nation Diatreme|
|Four Corners - Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, USA|
|Where the Corners Meet|
|Near Cortez, Colorado|
|On the Colorado Side|
We bought rain ponchos at Target on our way out of Flagstaff. The monsoons had just started and we were travelling north, into Colorado by way of the Four Corners. We had snacks, water, music, stories and information about the 340 miles of territory along the Navajo Trail into Durango, Colorado.
We passed between Humphreys Peak and Sunset Crater, the two towers before the flat lands along the Little Colorado River. For some reason, snippets of songs and comedy routines floated in and out of our nervous conversations. There was talk of work, politics, cars, health, family until we stopped at Tuba City for a bathroom break, and wandered a bit, stretching muscles and taking off jackets, rearranging belongings and shifting our sore spirits into vacation mode. Fifteen minutes later we were settled and rode out lighter and better prepared for an adventure.
The land opened up into endless mesas below huge, white clouds. Endless, fresh, timeless and uncluttered terrain through every window, so beautiful we'd all spontaneously exclaim, "Pull over so we can take pictures!" Our patient driver had been on the trail before and knew when to pull over and allow us to see extraordinary sights while absorbing the peace and beauty of the reservation.
Some people do not like the desert. They feel insecure and insignificant under the big sky and dry, sculpted land. I like that feeling. I breathe easier when there are few cars, no buildings, no people, no wires. I like the bone melting heat and the clean air. I like the surprise of sheep and/or horses wandering across the road. A distant farm with crops, fruit trees, a windmill and water tank presents a strip of vivid green in an otherwise red-brown landscape and I wonder what it would be like to be that farmer. Out of nowhere, sprouts a roadside diner, or an abandoned motel, or a small concession stand where Navajo jewelry is sold by grandmothers. All of these human enterprises seem dwarfed by the mesas, gullies, diatremes, mountains and sky. Even the road seems small compared to the pathways through gigantic rocks carved by wind and water. For a city person, the vastness of sparsely populated reservation lands is a bit intimidating. When I am in the middle of a vacant roadway, surrounded by cloud filled sky and red mesas, I feel like I have nothing to hold on to but air. It's a scary feeling at first, but after a while I feel free.
New Mexico got it right when they called these places the "Land of Enchantment."