The Turquoise Soul (Dreaming)


“You’ve got to always go back in time if you want to move forward.” – Snoop Dogg

“You have a turquoise iiʼ sizíinii“, Grandma Blackhorse says. She is looking deep into the campfire. The flames reflect in her aged eyes and make them look like they are glowing. “Don’t scare the boy”, Ms. Woods says. She is to my back; I can hear the sound of the dough, flipping back and forth slapping her hands. “He’s not scared “, Grandma says, opening her mouth to show a toothless smile, “he is soon to dream”. “Stop it mother, it is not their way”, Ms. Woods says, her voice lower, sounding concentrated. She is no doubt worried about the consistency of the fry bread and hoping it does not burn. “May be not their way”, Grandma, laughs, “but it is his way”. “It is his way”.

A lighter blue just before sunrise, still it is dark at 4:00 AM. Falling deep into a slumber, as the chants begin and end. Three-sixteenths a time a sliver, into a higher desert wind, high above this firmament, this journey, into your ways do I descend. Not of this world, but of this people, between four mountains that ascend. Night has fallen on the Black Yeii; let the light of holy boy begin again. Round and round the worlds bend.

So it is that I am dreaming, of the beginning and the end. Of a soul that learns from mercy, born for water in the San Juan’s
end. Star gaze I into the heavens of a universe where life begins, five billion light years of glory, while right here now I am ten again. Black, yellow, white rotates again, while the turquoise eats my sin.

A safer place has never happened, why oh why can it not be. That every grey hair on this planet should be a child with me. Spinning it would seem in a turquoise destiny. Seeing this stone ship, that which flew, with fires and ash from a deep cold blue. Now it brings me here, from time immortal, cast down by a dream so clear. Everything happens in time, a constant in movement by design. Forwards, backwards, jumping over rhymes. The answer to the riddle is those who seek will find. Floating in a dream three-sixteenths at a time. In a desert near, may be like a child the answer comes so clear. Never fear, be free, dream with me.

“Come boy, come here”. Grandma Blackhorse is motioning me over to her side of the fire, using her nose to beckon. I look to see if Ms. Woods is paying attention, but she is busy hustling pots and pans over to the house to clean. “Boy I said come here”, Grandma has raised her tone. I shuffle over to her, hesitant but not afraid for Grandma is smiling again. Grandma is holding out something in her hand, and as I reach her side, she motions for me to take it. I look for just a moment into her eyes, those eyes that have seen time, and perhaps traveled it too. When I look down, my hand is holding a piece of rough-hewn turquoise. “You have a turquoise iiʼ sizíinii”, Grandma Blackhorse says. -08.27.21- דָנִיֵּאל

Authors Note: Grandma Blackhorse’s piece of Turquoise resides with this author’s soul and rock collection, as it will until the stars fall from the sky and I fly the Shiprock home.

Never Never Land


“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!” – James M. Barrie

Nothing had ever forbade me to dream of that home I searched for, that place in childhood where I felt safe. Still it seemed to elude me in my nightly visions, for to go there would require a balance. A threading of the needle between lack of, and want to. The summoning of the spirit of will. A belief in divination. The conquering of great adversities to find “Never Never Land” and to own within my own nature, that I was “The Pan”.

3:00 AM August 7, 2021

Left alone it would seem in ferocious weather on a roughhewn stone, in a violent sea. Dreams in phases am I young man, or am I in want, an old man deceived. What would I say has brought me this mystery, brought me this sword that cuts flesh from bone. Sold me naked in a world not my own. What would I say surrounds me in darkness, comforts me more than a warm bed at home. Standing still, I feel so disabled, lightning comes and I am alone. I am so alone.

The dragons have risen to lighten my darkness, come to demand a payment a toll. Deals made in ignorance, while I was younger, have put a strain on my inward soul. Questions unanswered, one and another, why do we search to find what stories have told. Too many thoughts lost in reflection, time owes no man what he cannot hold. Still I say it bold, a legend of fancy, a legacy behold. I am The Pan.

For what is the discomfort here? In my own thoughts, a judgment made clear. Flaws ingrained by my own instigated fear. Aged frowning daemons attack. To what I would not wish for myself to go back. To find my comfort in what I do lack. Wrapped in darkness within my soul. Not to see this storm in phantoms unfold. Not to see the rocks that I must climb, lines on my face, say I am out of my time. Tick tock, tick tock, I should have ran. Still my better ghost remind me in this late hour. I am The Pan.

So on to my hunt, with old bones creaking, tame the dragon my childhood is seeking. To find the tunnels, to enter the arch, know the secret that carries the ark. A covenant of mystery I see, an ancient rite brought to me. Count the numbers ahead, they fall from the skies and enter my head. Enter the sea the spirits forbade. The sky is spinning, my best plans unmade. Enter the doorways ahead. The seal is broken and time is unwed. For I will go on, straight to the castle, the light just ahead. To find the final truth, in G_D’s plan. An old man young in “Never Never Land”. I am The Pan. I am The Pan. – 08.12.2021- דָּנִיֵּאל‎ 

Valiant


“You cannot give me my soul and take away my heart” – Prince Valiant

Upon this terrible eve of difference, that between the dragon and me.  His, the daemons troops so terrible, that which brings the fear I see.  So it is, in that great battle, that which quakes inside of  me. Move I unto my great lady in this darkness comfort me.  In this darkness comfort me.

Oh, hallowed place oft with no sun, to drench the soil of goodness done. Why here I pray, and ask someone in shadows come and cloak thy son. Bring grace in step and purpose some, make inside stronger than outsides sum. Know thee to me, my ladylove, one life, one soul, I will not run. For battle rages, I know it true, it rises when the sunrise is through, and I will not have glory then, for all blood spilt, is mortal sin. In truth right now, when darkness comes, a slight chill uttered on thy light tongue. Kiss it to me, and I to you, become we one in ghost and shadow too. Lay here with me, and know not my tears, take now my thoughts for the coming years. For here so cold on nighttime’s shore, we know each other in skin and more, and share a shimmer of what might be if on the morrow I cease to be.

Light here no candles as if I am staid, a token monument while breath is weighed. Still laugh with me and breathe in true and call the muses to sing us through. One life, one soul that parts nowhere, even on that morrow when blood flows everywhere. So the question asked between us two, are we finite now, in what we do? Tonight, tomorrow when the battle is through. To know this eve of that to come, will be enough when sleep is done.

Oh, sprite, thy torments everywhere, thy flurries dark and teeth still bared, to rent my grasp from what I do. To sow the doubt within my love so true. To split my will as if it is none, to change the mystery of what must be done. To show this place where we now lay, to describe its hollowness as my shallow grave. My sword to me, my strength renewed, the stars above fall, and show me to you. For in my heart, laid deep to test, one life, one soul, will pay to rest.  One life, one soul will pay to rest.

Oh, hallowed place oft with no sun, to drench the soil of goodness done. Lay down thy time, look not ahead, for what is future could already be stead. In this black place which knows no sun, bring light to me, thy will be done. Know thee to me, my ladylove, one life, one soul, I will not run.

Upon this terrible eve of difference, that between the dragon and me.  His, the daemons troops so terrible, that which brings the fear I see.  So it is, in that great battle, that which quakes inside of  me. Move I unto my great lady in this darkness comfort me.  In this darkness comfort me.

For Queen Aleta and my wife, both who have put up with much the night before a battle. – 10.26.20 – דָּנִיֵּאל

The Sandpainting


“They find joy in motion, which transforms their lives into unending odysseys. Their souls are brightly burning streaks of light across the universe—constantly traveling in an endless dance across space and time.” – Zita Steele

We are two chums in the high desert, out near the dump, near the dragon!  We are here to paint the sand to seal our destiny, and to travel far away, on this long dark night. On this long dark night.

From the center out, we brushed our way through, colors of the earth and sun, with our own different hues. A painting under constellations that gave us clues. While first man talked, first woman brought us through, to the other side, on this long dark night. On this long dark night.

One by one we turn to two, dark filled Ravens by a cobalt blue, folding dragons our wings non flew, an ark from heaven, my friend me and you. Desert stories while young men sleep. We paint the colored sand from deep, to deep, drawing lines between our times, closing out the devil and the evil eye, on this long dark night. On this long dark night. Bended shoulders to what may come, the better we are, when we count as a sum, first the planet and then the sun, drawing a labyrinth where we may run. When time has ended and the world has stopped, we will step through the doorway, where our painting plots. To a new galaxy, a different moon. We will draw our new lives to escape our doom, while there is still time, and the sand is cold, on this long dark night. On this long dark night.

The mesa vultures, and the scorpions too, came and surrounded us while we drew. All dead creatures of things to come from the twenty-first century, when time is done. Dark angels, and soulless men, depraved demons in the craft of sin. All the past and the future too, hovered nearby but could not come through. Our seal of lines, on this long dark night. On this long dark night. First the pollen and then the corn meal, the San Juan sand, and the gypsum to heal, the universe of layers within us we seal in a turquoise bind. His brown eyes open, mine open too, we chant then we sing of the bridge on through, to the other side. To the other side. Boys translucent to the dead of night, a new moon existent, it will be all right, on this long dark night. On this long dark night.

From the center out, we brushed our way through, colors of the earth and sun, with our own different hues. A painting under constellations that gave us clues. While first man talked, first woman brought us through to the other side, on this long dark night. On this long dark night.

We are two chums in the high desert, out near the dump, near the dragon!  We are here to paint the sand to seal our destiny, and to travel far away, on this long dark night. On this long dark night. – 10.18.2020 – דָנִיֵּאל

Bisti (All the Souls)


Wednesday February 1, 2017 – Did you just now rise from a dream white boy, did you just rise from a dream?

Wednesday, February 1, 1978 – “It’s a waxing crescent moon”, I say to Davis, “a perfect night to cruise”. “The snow is spinning its way forward, leaving New Mexico, dropping on to Amarillo, underneath the arc of the silent moon”. “What say we take these beers down the “Old Bisti Highway“, through this inch of ice, towards the landscape of the moon”. “There’s bound to be souls down in those old badlands, that we should see, maybe some things we should not do”.

Wednesday February 1, 2017 – Why did you come on out here white boy, trying to replicate in dreams? Thirty-nine years of dust between us, imagination so keen. Why did you instigate our raising, you left us years ago? Here we are in the Bisti Hoodoos, silent still waiting, as the dead cells, in petrified wood. Why did you come here, calling, opening chapters so long closed, bibles so deep, where words don’t mean what they seem? Why did you dream your, book of the shadows, where western winds blow? The legends we thought were gone, in puffs of smoke, now you raise us up. Why did you raise us up, haven’t you seen enough?

Wednesday, February 1, 1978 – “We are voyagers”, a thick voiced Davy, says to me. “Player is on KWYK, the signal weak, “Baby Come Back“, moving the frost back from the “Oldsmobile’s” windows where we can see. “Look at that coyote”, I say, “he’s faster than anything can be”. “He’s faster than me, faster than me”. The air is moving, the hoodoo‘s are alive. And it is the night, where two friends come to a place where there is no retreat. And before “All the Souls”, we “shudder before the beautiful”!

Wednesday February 1, 2017 – Did you rise before midnight white boy, see the waxing crescent, hear the moans still rising from the ancient ruins. Did you really think you were still there upon the Bisti, watching “All the Souls”, of the old worlds watching you? Did you dream of stories, here in your quiet bedroom, going years before now, thinking were they true? Did you learn a lesson now, laying here so quietly, breathing in your spirit, what you saw then you can see now too? Did you stir your vision, from its years of slumber, did you grow to know us, like we know you? Shudder before the beautiful, shudder in the darkness, of this night, “All the Souls” are waiting, now they wait for you.

Wednesday, February 1, 1978 – “The planet is moving”, I say in the cold, outside of the Oldsmobile, watching wide eyed while a story unfolds. “All the Souls”, my friend says with a gasp, “I think the dead are rising, were they ever dying”.

And Davis and I look at the souls, the spirits of ancients, the stories so surprising, in their colors and their hues. And there in the Bisti, the night drawing in, we sober together and watch the dawn bring clarity in. To bring sweet clarity in.

Wednesday February 1, 2017 – Did you just now rise from a dream white boy, did you just rise from a dream? – 02.01.2017 – דָּנִיֵּאל

44 (My Lonely Mind, 1980)


Sometimes when I was a driving, wheeling through the dead of the night, taking 44 from Bernalillo, headed up to Farmington before the morning light. Home by morning light. Sometimes when I looked out the window, of my Pinto with its gas tank so light, I saw a thousand stars of the ancients, and a touch of belonging made me feel all right. Sometimes I felt so lonely, driving desert highways, the darkness so tight, spirit of the Anasazi, a young boy like me, could meet a ghost at night. Sometimes I thought I saw him, may be it was her just peering in my lights, taking a look at my condition, maybe it was them come to mend my lonely mind. My lonely, lonely mind.

Sometimes that highway was a portal, generating fluid to my heart when it was dry, it could be why I’d stop in the darkness, lay upon the blacktop, not a sound it was so nice. Sometimes, I’d look into the heavens, watching the cold stars, as they shifted to suffice, thinking that there was energy, building up above, just to levitate my eyes. Sometimes, I’d walk across the sand, at 3:00 AM, let G_D be my only ride, and I would still be all right. Sometimes, I’d hear the step of angels, thinking out here on this single highway, seraphs mend my lonely mind. My lonely, lonely mind.

Sometimes after I drove past Cuba, up into the air, where the rocks hide lion’s lair, I’d stop, and chase a herd of cattle, screaming in the night, feeling life was really mine. Sometimes, I’d hear the sound of voices, old ones talking to the wind, keeping frost away from them. Sometimes I’d wish that I could meet them, then a coyote would go by, blazing speed into the night, and I’d know, on 44, I’d know it was them.  It was a sign.   Sometimes I still think about that highway, driving it at night, just a young boy, oh so shy, and I know, that time back then, was to mend my lonely mind. My lonely, lonely mind.

Sometimes when I was a driving, wheeling through the dead of the night, taking 44 from Bernalillo, headed up to Farmington before the morning light. Home by morning light.

Highway 44 is now Highway 550, it stretches from Bernalillo, New Mexico, to Montrose, Colorado. When I was a young man I would often travel it driving from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, home to Kirtland, New Mexico. I would choose to drive its 190 miles in the dead of night, it helped to mend my lonely mind. – 05.15.2015 – דָּנִיֵּאל

The Mystery of the Desert Giant


Hotel California All Rights Don Felder

Previously on “What Happened at Midnight

The mystery is there young Hardy’s. The cave is there too. No doubt left, as you found it, one dark night. The broken compass buried in rich sediment upon the darkened floor. Burnham is there too, the mesa top glowing luminescent under that waning November moon. Dare we mention he is there too, his arms open, almost beckoning.

In the waning hours of nightfall, you must leave your comfort zone. In adventure, your concentration robust, you must cross the darkened non excavated Richey Pit. Look skyward at Burnham, young Hardy’s, and hold your faces from the sparse lights, twinkling from the girl’s dormitory at Nenahnezad, and only then must you scale, the Old Five Hundred, the illuminations waiting, climb higher to him.

Tuesday, October 31, 1972

The Beech 35 flying out of Aztec, New Mexico with its v-tail had been missing since Sunday evening. According to the Farmington Daily Times, the two men aboard the small aircraft had filed a flight plan, for Gallup, and then once in the air, had simply disappeared around 9:49 PM. Their further destination, remained of some mystery, as did the names of the aircraft’s occupants. The budding reporter had speculated that the missing passengers were employed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). His story further implied that the men might have been taking a closer look at the mining operations, at the Navajo Mine, and how those processes were impacting Navajo land. The mystery was being discussed a plenty by the staff at the Nenahnezad reservation school where my father was employed, as well as between my parents. The local government compound where we lived near the school was abuzz with what criminality might be afloat at the mine, hardly a mile away as the crow flew.

Two young imaginations had their own thoughts as well, on the mysterious misplaced plane. Indeed, my faithful reader, Joe and Frank Hardy, alias Jason Waite, and Danny Swearingen, were already setting the bar high for their next great adventure. It might do well to just leave them here on a Tuesday, in 1972. It’s Halloween you know, much different in those days from present. A time of homemade paper sack mask, popcorn balls in the classroom, and pillow cases for candy. That in itself would have provided our young sleuths with enough adventure, but this particular lunch hour, we find them discussing wiles of a different treat. The Grace B. Wilson Elementary playground has become the young detective’s lab, and yes, our young lads are discussing a great adventure. For you see, they feel sure they know where they might look for the missing Beech 35 and its lost passengers, for they have charted its flight. Using young Jason’s compass, they have sketched mathematical equations in the playground soil near the west chain-link fence. Their debate has centered on possible locations for air strips, and secret caverns where kidnappers might do ill will. They have discussed what treacherous signal might have been sent from the ground to the errant pilots. While the playground moves around our young lads, with a rough and tumble game, of recess football, they turn their eyes to the Southwest. Across the school rooftop, the tree line, the bluff across the river, the dark mesa. Burnham!

Thursday, November 2, 1972

Jason and I have both been reading “Mystery of the Desert Giant“. I don’t remember which one of us it belonged to, it doesn’t matter, we share all mystery, and its final revelation anyway. Our recesses, over the past two days have been filled with the Farmington Daily Times stories, of the missing Beech, and the government men. Guesses and hypothesis from letters to the editor are to be found in abundance. I bring the newspaper from home. Jason and I ignore the giggles, and stares of our classmates. Mystery consumes us. The Hardy Boys and the “Mystery of the Desert Giant“, we read in between our discussions, on the missing BLM plane. It all relates, in our boyhood thoughts, as does our knowledge, of the playground calculations we have completed. Clues imagined or real, and we know where the plane, and its missing passengers might be.

Jason and I first climbed Burnham together on Saturday, September 16, 1972. It was his eleventh birthday, and as a gift I wanted to show him a mystery that would surpass any gift, I could think of to give. I had been introduced to the mesa two years before by Navajo kids who attended the BIA school at Nenahnezad. The dark mesa with its one steep side facing west, was long and narrow, with a sheer trail switch backing its west side up to its slender flat top. The east side sloped down to a flat plain that yielded little but dried washes and scrub. The west side of the mesa was the mystery. The sand was dark, rich sediment, and at the top of the steep trail, some one hundred feet from the summit, was the holiest of holies. A cave that went into the plateau some fifty feet in length. The cavern was hidden from the ledge trail by a massive steeple shaped rock that allowed access to the deep cavity from either side of it. The gift for Jason that day was not the adventure of the climb, or the cave however. It was the walls of the chamber. Embedded deep into the rock, holding multiple colors, were Anasazi petroglyphs, scribes of giants and winged creatures. Ancient demons, in flight. Massive walls of story, that only a Hardy Boy possessed young investigator, could appreciate.

My friend’s eyes had been wide that day. His white taped glasses riding low on his nose, he had run his hand along the outline of each petroglyph, frowning and serious, looking at me his blue eyes wide, “so many clues”, he said, “it’s like a hotel cave, for something passing through”. Jason’s mysterious premise was more likely true than not, no greater words conducted from boyhood spirit have I ever heard.

We named the trail leading to the top of the mesa the “Old 500”. We had calculated the distance from the base of the butte to the summit to be approximately 500 feet, and the name seemed to be a fair entitlement for a trail, that at times was nothing more than a narrow ledge, with no accountability, or support to speak of. Though the ensuing weeks, the dark mesa and the mysterious cave had birthed many conversations between my young friend and I. The ancient drawings in the cave held clues, of that much we were certain, and after six long weeks of discussion, we were certain destiny had finally revealed to us where the mysterious signs of yesteryear might be leading us.

According to the Farmington Daily Times, the Beech 35 had set due west by southwest out of Aztec, moving to the north of Farmington due west before taking a sharp turn to the south near Hutch Canyon. The control tower at the Farmington airport had lost contact with the Beech right as it crossed the San Juan River near Fruitland. The last radio contact from the pilot of the plane to the Farmington tower, had been to request a location identification. Shortly after the radio contact, the plane had disappeared from the Farmington’s controller’s radar view.

Jason and I had taken turns over the last forty-eight hours reading the “Mystery of the Desert Giant. We had discussed the similarities with our own mystery, in great detail. Combined with calculations involving Jason’s compass, the Farmington Daily Times reporting, and our explorations of the local land we were convinced that the missing BLM men were to be found in the cave below the Burnham plateau. No doubt, they were bound and gagged, fed once a day by their swarthy unshaved kidnappers, awaiting some ransom that upon our discovery we could claim as just reward. So it was to be as that late afternoon recess concluded, in 1972 that two young sleuths, planned a rescue, and a solving of a great mystery, their eyes furtively trained toward the west. Toward Burnham! It was also to be that their lives would be forever changed.

Friday, November 3, 1972

It’s my birthday, an exciting time for any twelve year old boy, acne and adolescent girls still to the future, a heartbeat away in the scheme of life. The day means more to me than usual, this Friday in 1972. I have plans you see, great plans. The school day slows to a snail’s pace, each minute agonizing and morphing into one more. Mrs. Retha Moore’s 6th Grade classroom appears caught in a time warp. I look over at Jason who sits two rows to my right. I have to lean forward, by passing Janelle Bond, who sits between us. Janelle is busy edifying herself from an orange tabbed 6.3 SRA reading lab card. Jason is busy, studiously drawing, his thick glasses dropped to the end of his nose, shielding his work with his left arm, from Mrs. Moore’s watchful gaze. I know what Jason is doing. He is drawing out the master plan for the scaling of a mesa, the assumption of mystery and the finality of knowing the unknown. For as I am sure you know dear reader, I am certain you are already well aware. This night on my twelfth birthday, Frank and Joe Hardy, alias Danny Swearingen and Jason Waite, propose to join the realms of investigation and myth and solve a mystery.

Jason rides the bus home with me after school. He holds a paper sack, inside it my wrapped birthday gift. “The Hardy Boys”, “The Secret of Pirates’ Hill“, the original 1956 edition, a gift I will keep and treasure for the rest of my days. We barely speak, our silence in the crowded frenzied school bus, like an island of silent electricity in a water tempest. We are both staring at the open drawn map in my hands. It charts our evening, and our entry into the storm.

Jack and Vera Swearingen believe in a strong birthday festivity for their children. Each birthday is donned with a rich homemade German chocolate cake with coconut icing, hamburgers, and plenty of gifts. My twelfth birthday has been no exception, and yet every exception. My brother Joe Hardy, is there to share it with me, along with my family. I open his gift to me, and it occurs to me if only for a brief moment, that this is the most exciting day of my young life. I wonder what it will be like when we rescue the lost government pilots this night, how will we evade the kidnappers, what will be our reward? I look across the decorated dining table and see Jason’s eyes alive with the unknown, smiling, he gives me the thumbs up, and it is time for us to begin.

While it is still light, we have stacked the volcanic rocks. They are piled to the side of the house facing the alfalfa field. Lightweight they stack against each other locking together, like ancient steps leading to my high bedroom window. We test them climbing, carefully, and then cautiously remove the screen from the window, hoping that neither of my parents takes a notion to investigate the side of the house before nightfall. We have made careful preparation for our nightly journey, with two small flashlights, Jason’s compass and self-drawn schematic of the mesa. I am bringing a pocket knife to saw through the ropes that bind the kidnapped pilots, and lastly a baseball bat in case Jason and I should come face to face with the criminals themselves. The lights are turning dimmer in the Nenahnezad community.  Nightfall is at hand on the Navajo Reservation, the sky is filling with cold stars, and Burnham beckons with a dark hand.

Friday, November 3, 1972, 10:40 PM

Jason and I leave through my bedroom window, our shoes grasping the rough texture of the volcanic rock. I dare not look at my parents darkened bedroom window as we are moving faster now at a light run, exiting the safety of the back yard. There is a light cold breeze blowing as we cross the street cutting through the Nenahnezad School property. The fallen leaves from the cottonwoods that line the school’s boundary crunch underneath our running feet, the sound making us move even quicker. The waning crescent moon, is overhead, providing no assistance, but it is as if, a million blue stars have been created in the heavens to take the moons place. I lead Jason past the large concrete block whitewashed building that serves as the school’s gymnasium, and sometimes movie theatre. We move past its large shadowy exterior, slowing somewhat, as we reach the boarding school’s northern boundary. We head east on the paved road until it turns to dirt and then to wilderness. The stars are dancing madly overhead as we turn to the northeast, toward the dark object in the distance, when the first explosion hits.

The distant sky above Burnham is alive with color and dust mixing in with the stars from the heavens above. Lights sweep the mesa’s horizon from its northeastern tip following its flat top to the southwest. Jason and I are frozen in shock at what we see. I do not recall fear. We are in awe of the wavering beauty in the heights before us. We are young, and we are detectives, and it would come as no surprise to anyone, I suppose, that we declare at the same moment, “They’re blasting at the mine“!

Living at Nenahnezad one could become familiar with the sometimes nightly distant tremors, of the earth shaking, as the mine used blasting to loosen coal, and make the ever widening pit deeper. This, however was the first time I had ever witnessed the effects of earth, being disturbed in such a violent way. For Jason and I the effects ever mesmerizing, are not enough to keep us from moving forward. Our small flashlights out, the air around us growing ever colder. We move to avoid the occasional scrub and brush, and find ourselves moving downward into the vault of the Richey Pit, the air taking on a dampness. I remember looking back one more time as we moved toward our dark destiny. I could see a few lights from the girl’s dormitory at Nenahnezad for a few moments, and then they disappeared.

Friday, November 3, 1972, 11:15 PM

The small cinder block house has several pickups parked around it, and even from a distance, Jason and I can see the large flame from the bonfire on the backside of the house. We can see the moving shapes of the dancers too, and hear the falsetto sound of the singing. The high chanting, octave up, minor key down. The dancers look odd, misshapen, even from a distance, and for a moment we stop, our curiosity, nearly drawing our attention away from our mission, and the dark mesa so very close to us now. Our mission is saved by the barking of one of the dancers’ dogs, picking up our scent. We turn quickly, as the ground once again shakes beneath us from another explosion, and the sky overhead is lit by a fresh plume of dust. This time closer still to us, but not as close as Burnham, which we are beginning our ascent to.

“What were they doing back there”? Jason’s voice had a timid sound to it, not a tone I had ever heard before. “It was some kind of an Indian dance”, I say, “I think I heard my Dad call it a “Yeibichai Night Dance“, they’re probably trying to bring healing to something or the other”. “May be it’s to help find the pilot’s”, Jason says. I remember thinking maybe it’s to help us, because truth be known, I remember feeling a bit of uncertainty for the first time about our mission. Looking back it could have been the sound I had heard in Jason’s voice. It could have been because I had forgotten my baseball bat. I think we would have turned back at that moment, but fate was afloat under the stars, and we had arrived at the dark foreboding roots of Burnham.

We had accessed the mesa too far to the southwest of the trailhead in the dark, and with the excitement of the explosions and the “Yeibichai” dance both Jason and I were somewhat disoriented. Jason pulled his compass from his right pocket and carefully removed it from the blue felt wallet he kept it in. I held my flashlight on it, the light reflecting off of the glass surface. Jason turned it slowly until the needle pointed due north, we calculated according to Jason’s roughly drawn map that we had missed the trailhead, by about one hundred feet. Turning to the Northwest we began to walk, taking turns sounding out numbers, counting, moving around the occasional small tree. At the sound of Jason’s voice calling out ninety-two, we were there, the white rock base of the trail standing out luminescent against the dark earth of Burnham. “I can’t believe we under estimated”, Jason said, sounding disappointed. I laughed then, for he was back to sounding like the Jason that I knew. I led the way onto the rock face trail holding my light downward. “Come on Joe Hardy”, I was smiling, it would be awhile before I smiled again.

Friday, November 3, 1972, 11:45 PM

The third explosion of the night, hits as the trail narrows. I drop my flashlight, as I reflexively go to grab the mesa wall. The world seems to be spinning. I hear Jason grunt and the sound of breaking glass, as he pushes into the rock wall. We are about one hundred feet up the side of the mesa. The darkness below us cannot compare to the light of the swimming stars breathing dust so far above us. I reach down to grab my flashlight, before it can roll off the trail. To lose our sources of light up here would doom us and the rescued pilots. “Oh shoot, I broke my compass”, Jason is reaching into his pocket, feeling through the felt barrier, the broken shards of glass. He carefully tucks the pieces back into the soft sack, and puts it back in his pocket. We wait for a moment longer, not wanting to be startled on the trail up ahead by another explosion. I look far below us feeling like, I am in a plane seeing only darkness, and then I see a light. It’s a small light, but it seems to be moving, going off at times and then coming back on. Jason has seen it too! “I bet that’s a signal to the kidnappers in the cave”, he’s excited his voice a whisper. Agreeing, I tell Jason I think it’s a signal too, “I just hope someone is not warning them we are coming”, I whisper back.

We continue upwards into the steep darkness, and the path narrows even further. There are times we have to strategically place our feet in footholds and boost ourselves up onto an upper ledge to continue the trail. We haven’t spoken for a few minutes now, my fear building, as we venture closer to the “hotel cave”. The air surrounding us has grown almost bitterly cold. We are nearing the second and last switchback on the long trail, when I look and see the light again so far below. It appears to be closer to the mesa. I nudge Jason and point to it. “I think we better turn off our light’s”, Jason’s voice is low, almost to a whisper, “I think they’re following us”. I have to admit, if even for a small moment, I had hoped that the light bobbing so far below us, might be carried by my dad. The hour is late, and my sense of adventure is starting to wear thin. The trail is now a whisper of stability, it’s width in places only two feet wide, and with our flashlights off we are down to a snail’s pace. Feeling the cold rock wall of the mesa for stability, the rock smelling ancient and musty, spins my senses, intoxicating me, reviving me, I look back at my friend, and I can see his eyes glowing in the darkness. The trail widens suddenly, room for a small Pinion tree by the ledge, and we are there the cave entrance, but a few feet to the southwest of us.

The stars are falling from the sky, blue and intense, the top of steeple rock, aflame with light. The dark left entrance into the cavern beckoning to the trail, its invitation, a whisper of entrapment. Jason pushes ahead of me, I can see he is walking on his toes, looking like a danseur, he looks back at me his finger to his lips, the gravity of the moment almost unable to compete with its future grandeur. We are at the edge of the cave, our bodies pressed against the earth, we listen, making hand gestures to each other to be quieter. We hear, nothing, but the darkness, and then we are through the narrow fissure between the tall rock and the mesa, and as we enter the blackness, the earth moves, and the explosions begin. An eternity, and we are falling, rolling into a greater darkness still.

Friday, November 4, 1972, 12:10 PM

A portal, a hotel cave, it’s built there for things passing through, in the night, when the earth is moving. When blue stars are falling from the desert sky, fire built on ice, becoming one with rock, obscuring legend, making life, building boyhood, summoning, beckoning, inviting, never letting go. The dirt on the cave floor taste like ash, sputtering slightly confused, I am reaching for my flashlight, but Jason has beat me to it. His blonde hair looking wild and dirty in the dim light, his eyes darting deep into the cavern, I see his compass has fallen from its felt case in his pocket onto the cave floor. The cavern is full of dust, from deep in the interior, the sound of earth shifting. The surreal phenomena surrounds us, but it’s not what registers on our mind. “The pilots aren’t here”, Jason’s voice is filled with a deeper gloom than the deepest part of the dusty chamber. He looks at me suddenly, his eyes darting upward to the left, deducting, “I bet the crooks moved them, when they saw us coming, I bet that’s what the signal was all about”! I shine my flashlight past Jason looking into the depths of the cave, and then down toward the earth floor. Near Jason’s compass two small metal plates lie in the dirt. “What are those”? I’m pointing with my index finger, looking much darker, than it should be, covered with dirt. Jason leans forward, picking up the metal pieces and shining his light directly into the palm of his hand. “RA66 dash 105 FAA PMA”, Jason’s voice echoing in the rear dusty darkness of the cavern. “What is”, I start to say, when the side of the cavern farthest from us lets loose with a couple of bowling size boulders. The larger of the two rocks rolls to within three feet of where I’m standing. Jason and I scramble to the far wall, huddled within the cold arm grasp of an ancient sketched Anasazi hunter. The voice questioning, heavy with disapproval, thunders from the left side of the steeple rock, “What are you boys doing here“?

The Yeibichai, is swimming in the moonlight, but there is no moon, no air, just blue stars falling, strange mask shining, Jason’s heart pounding against my own, and it is the end, the final end. I hear something small hit the earth between us, it clinks. Jason has dropped the metal pieces from his hand. The Yeibichai steps forward moving the large flashlight in his right hand shining it into our eyes, Jason and I are holding each other, and I can fill the tears starting to rise in my eyes. “You boys should go home, it is dangerous here, you do not need to be here“, the mask is bowing moving, forward around to the right side of the steeple opening, bowing, moving, and retreating. The air from the caverns openings is frostlike, still, refreshing. Jason and I have moved ourselves apart closer to the left entrance of the cave. We can hear the Yeibichai walking his footsteps surprisingly heavy, moving toward the mesa summit. We stand there five, may be ten minutes, and then in silent agreement, we leave through the left vestibule of the hotel cave and turn to begin our descent home.

I turned before the first switchback on the Old 500 leading off of Burnham, I turned like Lot’s wife turned, and I saw him there, standing there, at the summit of Burnham. The sky raining blue fire, mixing and percolating dust with the thin high air. He stood there bowing and moving, like the desert giant, like the desert giant.

Postscript: I do not know if the two BLM men were ever found, I do know that a RA66-105 FAA PMA was found by two boys who likened themselves as the Hardy Boys, one night in a cave on Burnham. – 12.16.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל

This story is kindly dedicated to Ms. Retha Gillespie Moore (Jason Waite and Danny Swearingen’s sixth grade teacher), Janelle (Bond) Davis, childhood friend who bore witness, and still faithfully reads to this day, and throughout it all Jack and Vera Swearingen, wonderful gifts as parents, who always put on a good birthday!

Hardy Boy Characters, and Title “Mystery of the Desert Giant” All Rights – Grosset & Dunlap



Billy Yazzie and the Skinwalker

My name is Billy Yazzie, I’m retired back on the rez, it’s an anagram of living for the breathing side of dead. I live beyond Sanostee in a dry wash dried by sun, sired by four clans of a mystery, for this tale they are unsung. In my life I’ve painted pictures on the sand that holds the soul, and I’ve sung a sacred journey for the heart that goes untold. Now the greatest of my interest is the sheep I’ve hunted for, this goes back before my singing, it’s what my life was given for. There are sheep they go a missing from a thief or a wolf pack, or sometimes they are stupid, and they can’t find their way on back. So it is I get my message on the Chapter House’s door, “Billy drive on to Rock Mesa, find our sheep we’re looking for.” It has been my greatest treasure to find that bleating sack of wool, and return him to his owner, and get my bill paid in full.

So it is there is some pyrite in this turquoise of my life, and this matrix will unravel, as my fate did one night. For unto me is stated by the four peaks of my light, that as soon as this tale is related, then my spirit can leave this life. So in circles drawn around me, drawn they there to just suffice, I begin this truthful fable, from a long night of my life.

It was the fourteenth day of December, when the open sky did close, and the snow poured down like water, and our land turned so cold. I was working on a healing way, with my big brother Jim, when the east door of my hogan opened to Grandma Blackhorse’s kid. The girl her face was frozen, and her mouth could barely move, but she cried, “our sheep our missing, Grandma ask that you come soon”. The little lambs had wandered near the canyon of the sky, and her Grandma sure would pay me, if I could find them that same night. So it was I left the small child wrapped in blankets with big Jim, and I saddled up Altsoba with my journey to begin.

1967, in the twelfth month of the year, came a behemoth from the old world in the sums of all our fears. For it was upon my pony as I tread in solid white, headed west of old Sanostee toward the canyon of the sky. The snow was drifting higher, and the howling darkness came, as I stopped to check on Grandma to tell her, those sheep are on their way. In a message from my elder in our native tongue so clear, she said, “watch out for the Chindi, but bring back my lambs so dear”. Oh, I wondered about her warning, as the snow piled up so high there were times in colder weather, I had to dismount, I could not ride. With my jacket pulled up higher, and my magnum 29, I began a call of hunting for two sheep of smaller size. I called them like their mother, with a tongue of proper rise, lilting sweeter than a springtime, inviting lambs to suppertime.

Once I thought I heard a bleating, once the wind it stood stock still, near the entrance to the canyon, with the arch sky walkers built. So I urged on Altsoba, with the tapping of my heel, and the wind, became much lighter, and the snow began to still. Then I saw the lambs of Grandma, standing right before the arch, and the sky upon them bright, and the walker dead of heart. It was Chindi of a bad man, it was ghost of past in real, and between us stood two yearlings, sacrifices, breathing still. So we stood there for a moment as the sky turned yellow, red, with this crystal world before us at the dawning of the dead. Then I heard its voice in passion, crying on a dyeing wind, and he said, “This sheep of ration, is for me for why I’m sent.” For it said, “I am a savior of the dyeing and the cost, and with me they sleep in paradise, till the blessing way is lost.”

So it was before my mother, open sky upon this man that I reached for my thunder and I loosed it in my hand. For six shots that spoke between us, for six shots that kill a man, when I looked upon the archway, there the witch still did stand. In some ancient sort of journey, on some other kind of storm, spoke my Father now before me, slay this monster within form. So as the Chindi, hovered, seeking ways to kill the lambs, it was a song of beauty, that, I sang before his hand. As it was that he did waver, turning whiter than the snow, then in singing songs of judgment, round my feet a circled glowed, and in bending form of beauty did I take my iron of war, and I drew the way of blessing of the earth that I adore. In the snow there were four mountains, that surround this holy land, and between them is a people who will not give up on their lambs.

The skinwalker begged of mercy, for it was not purified, but the blessing way of mercy, in its beauty would deny. In the balance of the arches, as the circle fire would die, I saw Chindi turn to ashes, and its badness said goodbye. In my arms the lambs of Grandma’s turned to look me in the eye, for it was my hunter’s treasure, to return them from this night. Then the sky turned dark with moisture as the snow returned to fall, and I headed for Grandma’s, in the beauty of it all.

My name is Billy Yazzie, I’m retired back on the rez, it’s an anagram of living for the breathing side of dead. – 11.23.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל

Curious (The Path Home)

A liege now, here he sits by my gate, his looks disheveled, his fingers long as stakes. He is devolved now, from his kingdom and his throne, a wild beast driven, unraveled and alone. What king come down, why did you seek, describe your thoughts, on what you’ve seen, and you still grazing by my gate, what have you learned from your fate? If I turn round and peer through you, what diadem of fortune did you choose, and low you speak unto my sake and tell me truth of treasures made. In turn he moves without his bounds, and brings me closer within his sound, and walls and writing our eyes once seen, and with an effort he does forth speak, and I am curious.

A seat perched higher than all the world, sat I from memory with gold made curls, and there from beginning I made king, did call down thunder for all my needs. In blood filled Nephilim’s from the deep I strode in Babylon from my keep, there rode I steeds that moved with speed, and all in all I still voiced need, so envious. A move of thought and empires died, I smote illusionists with my eyes, and my force of labor built on high, my ever need, for the envious. In hanging gardens from sky wells, I reached for heavens with my spells, and I told you as I never fail, I’m not curious.

Across the earth before this time, you called from ashes from this rhyme, and then before this gate appeared, a path awakened with your tears, and I’m curious. In all the world you shook at awe, in rites rebellion did you call, and burned before him with your cries, and you were envious. Here we are now, beast and time, in all within you that you find, have you come now before Adonai and your curious.

A path upon you oh my lord, for I was bound to serve you fore, and in instruction have you brought the key, and it does hold no jealousy. For all divine has called you, spoke you free, it places time in energy, and creates emotion harmony, a blend of love and curiosity.

Have you not wondered why you cry, been found wanting, when you sigh, have you been envious of days gone, are you curious. Do you ask questions of your life, remand your reasons you do not die, are you a victim passed from strife, and are you curious? The search eternal from a sprite who once ruled fortune from his site, he loosed his boundary with his plight he was curious. I am curious! – 10.12.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל

 Hello my old friend we meet again! – 😉

The Apocrypha of the Third

Sad sailed a wing cloud cloven rite, bound darkness for its flight, a strange daemon while still sun, the mountains still in sight. A night creature staged a faux dive, then fell without a clue, the set of creation mourned for vision of something new. Fell descant with lingering wound, rose ascent upon the moon, strange aria, in arpeggio, a Rosetta stone finding tune. The night rising higher, say stronger light, higher than the noon so bright. Then a song that takes thus chord, and din lances judgment with its sword, and brings a savior there accord what reasons to know why. Race in child, my soul gone wild, summer spirit undefiled, whisper mind that seems so shy, fallen gift that kneels before your open sky!

Whose full moon upon the third, does it not rise upon the ninth, cherry pickings from the sky, all dreams gasp for solid light. So this vision of recompense, tells lies, times of false and spent, can I move up the moor, find apocryphal of lore, there some will like magic spell, find an answer at some well, and in then a strange mouth speak broken spells, with the circle now complete, for in great and fleet surprise, will a boy face dawn’s light sky, that rise that does not lie.

Now risen upon the third, Apocrypha of new born earth, and this fall thus now complete, for your heavens now to reach. Is this madness no surprise, is this gift that meets your eye, will this child find all repeat when G-D’s summons find complete. Now a dream made real and true in October on the dew, when the morning risen rise, comes the answer from your skies. Blood moon comes in by four days, but by this third you rise surprise, by an altar now complete, your son now meets you in famed blessed defeat.

So you take me on the third, raise my body broken earth, and in sixes all I rise, and beholden golden skies, what does arise, when life does find, when Hashem sighs, when Hashem sighs!

This strange tune by poem repeat, as your fallen in defeat, know now not it is some end, know you do not need defend, know, this light it will not sin, and by broken spirit spell, you will find your rhyme worth well, for in thirds and no repeat G-D will make your life complete, on the third, on the third! – 10.03.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל

I write it, Apocryphal Canon cannot be defended, it is! – דָּנִיֵּאל