The clouds well up over the foothills casting a gray pall, bearing the angry spirits of the chindi who dance amid the scrub juniper. Brother Serra, was this what you found, wandering along the coast, tending the odd sheep, Indian and whatever else crossed your path?
The blue bird hopping across the dried grasses puffing its grey breastplate and cape sitting back, its long tail feathers a perfect counterbalance. It stares at the oppressing clouds and senses the impending rain. The horses wandering the hill pausing to graze on the sparse green grasses. The roan mare stares at the colt dashing among the trees then returns to her meal, awaiting the onset of evening.
The chindi await the fall of night when they are free to roam and steal other souls. Was your water rite more powerful than the blessing chants? Did you ward off their evil and purify the breeze of the mountains?
Ninety-six years ago today Women gained the right to vote. It would be another five before those who preceded the lot of us were blessed with citizenship, the least we could offer, after our prior gifts of disease, alcoholism and down sizing. Who, our forebears must have imagined, wouldn’t want to live somewhere they had a reservation in their name we had given them, their land taken with their language, no longer useful in our shared world. The King of France allowed only the Jews to be moneylenders, reserved space in each town for us as well, for which we are still told we should be thankful, but you have no idea how to say so in Navajo.
It is well into the Season When Thunder Sleeps and the crowds no longer snaked throughShinjukuPark where even the stones were in quiet hibernation. The sun fell quickly sucking away the light bringing the sleep of dreams and nightmares, of love and terror and despair. The night chant began for yet another night the intonation of the dancers flitting around the ceremonial pit dug into the street, all wearing the badge of the clan, the uniform and helmet of a true army of the road. They wore the tribal masks to ward off the dust and diesel. and performedtheYeibichaiy as their gods had directed, struggling to excise the demons and return harmony to the city.