We wandered the mesa through piñon and juniper, following whatever branch of the old logging roads looked interesting, no idea where we really were. Dan gave us the French word flaner, “to wander around pleasantly with no particular goal.”
As we scrambled the scree slope to the mesa top, a lovely thing. The limb of an ancient juniper, vibrating in the cliff-edge wind, had worn a deep groove in the sandstone it leaned on, and had rubbed itself down to bare wood.
The fit was perfect even to the wood grain. A protruding knot on the limb had made a perfectly matching, knot-shaped hollow in the stone.
I was reminded of a word from…is it San Felipe Pueblo? Suyu: the sound of the wind as it hits the edge of the mesa.
In the trackless mudstone of Piedra Lumbre, five or six hogan rings: stone foundations with east-facing doors, still holding what was left of the cribbed juniper rafters of traditional Navajo houses. Judging by the decay of the juniper, well over a hundred years old. Beyond them, two circles of ash filled with fragments of trash, probably fires that burned the deceased’s possessions. The squashed casing of a cheap nickel pocket watch.