Listen to the Sounds of Nothing to Hear Everything
What does it mean to be alive? Obviously, I’m not referring to the status of a person’s brain and cardiac functioning. Every so many months I find myself saying, I need to do something so I know I’m alive.
This particular time I was face up in a cemetery under some unknown person’s headstone with an associate in dire straits when she announced. “I don’t feel alive anymore. I have to find out why.”
And so it begins. Another restless zombie looking for answers. I nodded in understanding and set out on my own quest. I took a road trip across the country.
Monument Valley National Park is actually part of the Navajo Indian Reservation (as well as Hopi, Ute and Zuni) and encompasses the corner of four states, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. I had never been there but was compelled to go. There is a dirt drive where you are allowed to take your vehicle. It takes you to a small portion of the park. I wasn’t interested in that. I needed something more for reasons I can’t explain.
I hire a Navajo (Dine’) guide, got in his jeep and headed out to explore lesser traveled areas. We are about two thirds of the way through the tour, almost axle deep in rich, orange sand when he stops the jeep and turns off the engine.
“What do you hear?” He asks me.
“Nothing,” I replied. There are no noises. No birds, humans, or sounds of any civilization what so ever.
“Exactly,” he said. Smiling, he turns the jeep engine back on and we continue swerving through the sand until we get to a massively tall, orange, rock alcove. Stopping again, he hops out of the jeep and says, “Come on.”
We head into the alcove and he instructs me to lie against the slopping, rock wall next to him and I do so. There has to be a twenty degree difference between the air inside and in the sun. The rock is so smooth and cool I close my eyes and desire to become one with the rock against my skin.
“What do you hear?” He asks me again.
I hear him breathing. I hear me breathing and realize the alcove walls are magnifying sound. He starts to sing in words I’ve never heard before and a rhythm that soothes my soul. The sound of his voice reverberates beautify around the alcove and I hope he never stops singing. But he does.
“ Isn’t that something?” He asks.
I’m too busy finding my voice. My heart and soul still flooding from the experience and I can’t find my voice to answer. I don’t have to. He knows.
“We have to get back,” he said. Sadly, I know this but don’t want to leave.
We return to the Park Visitor’s Center and I’m still in awe. He just smiles and shakes his head in approval.
Heading out of the park, I turn down a road leading to an over-hang. It’s supposed to be a great place to see the remains of cliff dwellings. I stop and park the car.
As I’m walking down a path to the cliff edge an elderly Indian women with a teenager in tow stop me. She is holding a glass bead and juniper berry necklace with a wire dream catcher as a pendent. She says something in a language I do not know. The teenager smiles at me. The old woman is her grandmother and she has a gift for me.
I think she is trying to sell me the necklace. I wouldn’t mind owning it, but I’m suspicious and wonder if somehow this is a tourist trap of some kind. I must look suspicious because the woman is more insistent and the girl more adamant I have to take the necklace. I take it saying thank you and they both smile.
I continue down to the cliff edge and shoot a bunch of pictures. The view is magnificent. I know there is no way any of my shots will express what I am experiencing. Despite this, I shoot a couple more before returning up the path to my car.
The two women are no longer around. I do find a tin can with various dollars and a few coins sitting on a blanket. I toss a twenty dollar bill in the can and head to my car feeling like I just committed a mortal sin.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I was so alive. It took me days to realize lessons that were basic instructions for living. To feel alive, listen to the sounds of nothing and hear everything. The gift from a stranger is more powerful than a gift from someone you know. The necklace hangs on the wall in my house.
Posted on February 13, 2013, in Are We There Yet? Travel Meanderings, Parapsychology and Paranormal Musings and tagged Are We There Yet? Travel Meanderings, Monument Valley, Native American, Spiritual. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.