“The book American Gods wishes it was.” --Despina Durand

Thursday, February 6, 2020

ON NAVAJO SHAPESHIFTING HIGHWAYS



Took Highway 191, the Navajo Code Talkers Highway, to Twin Rocks. Just had to stay at the Kokopelli Inn, in Bluff, Utah, and have Navajo tacos at the Twin Rocks Cafe. The family seated across from us had soup, stew and chile that they scooped up with fry bread. Most of the customers and employees were Navajo.

Bluff is quite the Diné (what the Navajo call themselves) town.


The Southeast corner of Utah is more Navajo than Mormon.


The Kokopelli Inn is run by Navajo women. The young woman who checked up in told us about the Bluff Arts Festival, that was going on that weekend, and gave me brochure.


There was a DVD on sale in the lobby: Skinwalkers: Witches of Navajo Country. I bought a copy. A server at Twin Rocks Cafe had a Navajo Wolfman T-shirt, based on a local petroglyph. A few decades ago skinwalkers were a taboo subject, and it was even hard to get people to talk about them. This is another century, a new world.


The next morning it was 30 degrees in Bluff. Being from Phoenix, it was so long since we’d been cold, it felt good.


We headed home through Monument Valley. The wide-open spaces of the big rez became Daliesque vistas where a woman pulled a rickshaw down an endless highway . . . Hopi . . . the Painted Desert . . . abandoned structures along the roads, the new ruins decorated with fresh murals . . .


In a week we had visited so many different landscapes, different environments, different worlds . . . I wondered what world we were coming back to.

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