Three Wolves and a Girl

2004 11 06 darby prayer rock

One afternoon the word came down that a person with a vehicle was needed to pull a trailer of food and clothing down to the Hopi. I was the responder, so I got to go.

Often it is the case, one schedules trips to places and they don’t materialize until the time is right. This had happened already several times, I had planned to go visit Hopiland for a few years. I was determined to make it this time.

There were three vehicles and nine people who went on this trip. I had brought a friend along to talk to. It ended up we all were friends and enjoyed each others company.

We spent the night at a new hotel in Page, Arizona where the largest Raven I have ever seen greeted us on a lamp pole in the parking lot and bid us farewell again in the morning light.

We stopped in Tuba City to get some trinkets and a drink then headed onto the Reservation.

The men in charge went to meet with their contact at a home and they talked alone for quite a while so I wanted to see if I could see any of the things I had read about such as the stairs cut out of rock down to the place they got their water from.

My friend and I ventured out. It was apparently too scarey for my friend so she stayed up on the safe ground and watched me looking. I found the stairs and wanted her to come see. Instead she asked me what I was standing on. I said, “Rock”. She told me to look at my feet, I did and lo and behold there it was in faded paint, a white and turquoise cross, with me standing smack dab in the center of it. I was horrified and jumped away and we scurried back to the cars.

We delivered the goods and were thanked and told there was a dance over at Walpi in a couple hours if we wanted to go attend.

Would we!

We drove as close as they let you drive, then got out and climbed. I wish they let you take photographs but it isn’t allowed anymore, so you can google it and view some old photos and paintings that don’t do it justice. The center of the pueblo is a plaza where the dances occur.

We all split up and went to different areas, some went up to the roof of the homes and my friend and I stayed in the plaza. We wandered around until the female dancers started to come in. They lined up in preparation and the plaza filled with men. We tried to find a spot where we could see above the men’s heads and were pushed back to a wall where we stayed.

The shaman led the ladies and as we watched I was having a hard time seeing, so I amazingly found one stone next to the wall I was at, just big enough to stand tippy toe on, so I stepped up onto it to get a better view. The sea of men parted as the shaman headed directly toward me and put an offering at the rock I was standing upon. He looked at me with his painted face like, “what the heck lady?” but there was not even a spot for me to get down and the men weren’t budging, so I just stood there red faced as he continued with the ritual.

As the dance went on, the ladies took sheets full of household items and threw them to the crowd. It was November and the dance was kind of a mix between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Any and everything you can imagine in a home, was thrown out to the waiting men and children. Dish soap, soda cans, mats, etc. but the items that they coveted were the plaques the woman had made that have a great value.

The men all wanted those plaques and rushed for them, one man I noticed right near me was obnoxious about getting one and after acquiring it the other men quiet-like and fast as lightning shunned him, right there in the middle of the dance. He was standing there all proud of grabbing it away from another and the men just spread out away from him by about 2 feet and left him alone. He understood and handed it to another man and the shunning stopped as fast as it had started and the friendships renewed. All this was done without a word. The shunning and the un-shunning. The repentance was instantaneous.

Later as we left, we stopped at the petroglyph I wanted to see. The others in the car didn’t care to get out so they stayed as I wandered over to view this piece of history. When I got back to them they told me they were scared as three wolves showed up over the rock and followed me the whole way to and from the petroglyph. I looked up to see them and they turned and walked away.

The Hopi police showed up and asked if we had permission to be there. We said no, and they asked if we took photo’s, I said “yes, just two here of the petroglyph”, and they said I could keep them.

The sun was just about to go down as we headed off the mesa. Peace reigned once more.

Some adventures don’t go the way your mind envisioned, instead they leave you wondering

stepping back in time

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When an opportunity is placed before you to go see any sort of re-enactment, no matter how unlikely you are to enjoy it, take it.

Life was just going along pretty normal, one day we are lying around without much going on and the next moment we are on our way to Custer’s Last Stand Re-enactment.

It’s a bit odd to wake up one morning with horses and Cavalry and Native Americans camping out beside your tent. Imagine if you will, crawling out of your tent to run into the curly blond haired Custer at your feet, smiling down at you when he has been up since before sunrise.

As taken as you might be by his sparkly smile, the thing you start to notice more are the horses.

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The Native horses are sent out on their own to wander down through the tents and get a drink of water. They do this and then head home on their own accord.

The Cavalry’s horses are tied up and led every step of their day, so they don’t cause a ruckus in camp.

After practices all day,  the real performance finally begins.

You are sitting out on the field being transported back in time to this long forgotten battle between two totally different groups of men when (with the exception of one unusually handsome Native rider) you only see the horses, and in particular, the Native horses, who, without riders anywhere near, start to do their routine right in front of your feet.

Back and forth and back and forth these beauties dance in perfect time with the script.

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Far away in the fields you see uniforms and stallions with shiny buttons coming ever so slowly near, and soon the dancing horses find their way to their caretakers and the show goes on.

One can hardly recall the shouts and the blood that undoubtedly were painstakingly practiced by all these men, but to this day the dance of the horses continues in my head.