It took me a while to find my friend’s house, and he wasn’t there. But I found his family. His wife remembered me after so many years, and we talked for a while. I could tell that I had interrupted her preparations (an important celebration was due the following week; the Kachinas were going to be send back to the mountains) so I told her not to mind me if she needed to go back to work.
Her son stayed chatting with me; he was sculpting a Kachina doll. Nobody was sure when my friend would return so I wondered what to do, and where to stay if I stayed overnight. He suggested to stay overnight at the campground, next to the cultural center, so I would be able to see his father in the morning, before 8 am. He should be home then. I decided to stay. I left them a copy of my book and went sightseeing:
When I was on my way to Second Mesa a prairie dog was standing on the road resembling a scrubby tuft of grass. He didn’t move until it was too late for me to realize what the tuft of grass was, and he died under my right wheels. When I was crossing the road to take some of these pictures, I almost made the same mistake the prairie dog had made. I saw the car just in time to stop on my tracks, and I thought that the only difference between that prairie dog and me was that it wasn’t my turn yet. When my turn comes, I will join him. Life is just a process; there is no birth and death.
Next morning before 8 am, I went to find my friend. Apparently he was in another house, his son-in-law told me. He guided me there and left me to my own devices. As I approached the house, one of my friend’s daughters came out to do something. She didn’t answer my greeting, so I asked for my friend. She was plain rude then; she told me cuttingly that he was still in Flagstaff, and they didn’t have time for visitors. I excused myself. As I was leaving, I asked her to tell him that I had said hello. “I will tell him,” she said dryly.
The movie Chocolat came to mind, with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. It is a movie about how traditions can dehumanize us and kill our spirit: A town plagued by domestic violence, neglect and just plain boredom is transformed by a magical woman.
“At the center of CHOCOLAT is a woman charged with special powers: Vianne Rocher, a mysterious outsider who arrives in the French village of Lansquenet to open a chocolaterie featuring luscious candies that can, in addition to tantalizing the tongue, cure lost hopes and awaken unexpected emotions.” This is a movie I can recommend.
But I found this young employee outside (he allowed me the picture), unable to get in because the owners neglected to inform him that they would be visiting a neighboring village for their traditional dances, and would open late. And I don’t mean to say that we should neglect our traditions, but maybe we all need to get a direct, stronger connection with Spirit, and forget about most of the pomp and bell-ringing. We might get to be more considerate with our fellow human beings then. What do you think?