A spring in a big rincón, westward-facing. Water, with help from prevailing winds, had carved out an arching cave in the sandstone perhaps 30 feet high. Its ceiling was dotted with grapefruit-size nests of cliff swallows. The birds flew over us, alarmed and crying.

On the arch is a Navajo “star ceiling,” probably Cassiopeia. Look for the stars, red ochre Xes. Then look more closely: there are faint, perhaps earlier black stars as well.


4 thoughts on “Starry”

  1. Wow….you take me places I know I’d never get to. This is magic. Thank you! mikki

    Sent from my iPad


  2. The star ceilings are rare in New Mexico, I am told. Supposedly (brief online search), in Navajo mythology, Cassiopeia is Náhookos Bi’áadii (Northern Female), “a woman lying on her side. She represents the mother of the home.”

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