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Sometimes it is better to observe rock art and wonder
I’d been living in Flagstaff, Arizona, at the edge of the Navajo Reservation, on the road to Hopiland. A great bouldering spot Turkey Tank is in range of my two-wheel aluminum mule. On the basalt walls of this canyon are many petroglyphs, some are snakes, others are lizards. Hopi and Anasazi symbols. Important links to Mother Earth.
I am now in Kingman, AZ, riding my mule west. I slept under a boulder and now at sunrise am sitting on a “Lounge Lizard” portable chair studying the rock patina, the petroglyph lit up by the solar spotlight: a lizard. Then, no lie, an iguanid scurried over that image. This coincidence got me thinking.
When I lived in Flagstaff, I saw lizard icons often. It is a common southwest Native American aesthetic spiritual object. I witnessed kestrels and road runners capture these little ectotherms as I wandered over the desert looking for natural history. Horny toads were a common site. Banded Geckos and Gila Monsters, too. My Hopi-Tewa friend, when we talk about rock climbing, calls me lizard. As a capstone to all this, a weird reptilian thing happened at the Flagstaff ranch I was staying at.
A traditional Hopi wedding was performed and I was blessed to see such an event. Me, a white boy belagana to the Navajo privileged to be part, given an eagle feather as a gift by the groom, the ceremony performed in front of replica thousand year old kiva ladder I constructed out of the most knarly old aspen and cottonwood I could find. Wow.
After this event I was at the house computer where I have an elegant southwest Indian tile of a lizard. A Hopi friend who is a master weaver with work in the Smithsonian Institute commented on this ceramic art, “My clan, we are lizard people.”
We are lizard people.
Have you ever studied a lizard moving over stone?