Sunday, May 29, 2022

Navajo Visions

Though I didn’t knock it out of the park when I photographed the Four Corners and the Navajo Nation a couple of weeks ago there was a smattering of photographs that spoke to the vastness and solitude of the big empty.

South of Blanding on my way to Flagstaff at the junction of the roads to Montezuma Creek and Mexican Hat I encountered the abandoned headquarters of Wild Rivers Expeditions tucked into a red mesa. In the process I discovered Bluff Dwellings, a new high-end resort across Highway 191. It was only six months ago that I stayed in Bluff and pronounced it dead in the water despite its red mesas, Comb Ridge, and the San Juan River that flows through it. Somebody with deep pockets has greater vision than I do.

Heading south a few miles north of the Arizona border I spotted a Navajo homestead below a bluff and two mesas. It was a sweet habitation in charmed location, the kind of setting that fills my chest. Then a day later driving back to Taos through Thoreau and Crownpoint, NM I photographed an iconic Diné rancho replete with a Hogan and corrals. It dawned on me I had photographed that very scene at least ten years ago. I didn’t even remember I had driven the road till I saw the picturesque outfit. I drove dozens of mile without a dwelling half an hour at a stretch without another vehicle.

A few miles past the homestead I came upon a scattered community strewn along the hillside outside Torreon. A friend was a nurse practitioner at the Navajo Clinic in Torreon for 15 years after as many years doing the same in Nepal. She told us that the Navajo Nation was as close to a third world country as she could find in America. I wouldn't argue the point.

And, finally, a duel between two icons outside Shiprock.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

It is wonderful to be able to continue to follow a Four Corners journey via your blog. You are absolutely right about someone not only having vision but a few wads of cash to establish the Bluff Dwellings Resort. Much more elegant than the strip motel a group of us college-aged Girl Scouts rented for two hours after rafting the San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat eons ago, just to take a shower and use the swimming pool! A gorgeous area. I almost sense that in Image number 4, the dust is beginning to move and shift along the wide horizon. And in number 5, your selective toning of the McDonald's sign with Shiprock lurking on the photo's edge, says a lot. The juxtaposition is stunning. Thanks for sharing your continued explorations with us!