Diné bi keyah Do’ko’os’łííd is dressed in her winter splendor this morning. We drive north skirting the western edges of Driving north to Diné bi keyah (Diné homeland) thru Cameron and over the little Colorado River. Leaving 89N we soon pass through Tuba City/Moenkopi – there’s evidence of recent moisture fall on the flat, sandy washbeds.
Tonalea behind us. Western boundaries of Black Mesa on our R.Approaching Tsegi & Kayenta. Photo Viki Blackgoat
As we approach Tonalea, we begin to see snow dusting. Near Black Mesa, we see more snow accumulation. Here, the sage bushes are snow-covered, ice crystals blink on juniper trees and pinion branches. Soon, the sandstone canyon walls of Tsegi sped past our windows.
As you emerge from this canyon, one is treated to the unfolding brilliant vista that is Monument Valley, Kayenta, Dennehotso. Further on – on a clear day, the panorama extends all the way into the Colorado Rockies, where you can glimpse the tips of Dibé Ni’tsaa (Mt Hesperus);
and as your eyes travel southward, one can see the black lava fingers atop a cooled lava throat that forms Shiprock. As one looks further south, the Chuska Mountain range
nestles places like Lukachugai, Tsaile, Crystal, Ft. Defiance and reaches into Window Rock – that is,
some would argue, the heart of Diné bi keyah.
I open my window and look back directly south and west, towards the northern edges of Black Mesa that rise straight up out of the Kayenta valley floor. Up and over that ridge, directly south several miles lies the northern reaches of my family’s home – the soil that softened my
first footfalls and bears the imprint of my
first footsteps. Land of my heart – shí heartland.
I wonder what the road conditions are like up on the mesa… I think it’s that time again.
I think it’s time to visit shi jay bi keyah.
Blessings for now…
Editor’s note, Viki Blackgoat is a Diné community organizer, gardener, daughter, and mother. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Meter is proud to add Viki as a contributor.