Nenahnezad (Navajo Moon)


When I was a child, I saw as a child, all things beautiful all life bright. Colors, especially at night, those moving shapes like dancers under the high desert rite, and there was no dark valley, in that world where a boy dwelled, laying in darkness, where the moon fell, listening to voices, at last for you I’ll tell….

Under the spells of the harvest in September, it could be October too, the smell of sand waiting for winter, the tide of the sky rolls out the moon. And see there a boy that looks kind of awkward, that wishes he lived what he knew, walking outside his house in the desert, the reservation around him so new. And spirits they fly in ever endeavor from up off the river to bring him clues, to inhabit his soul and tell him to look up at the Navajo moon. He walks on into the night of November, colder frost from mesa’s in view, if his parents knew he was wandering out in the darkness what would they do? What should they do?  A car with lights it comes gliding so slowly, down the dirt road, rolling by, its faces in view, dancers their faces reeling, for some sing of healing, their faces painted, they do what they do. They leave that boy alone by the pathway, that road, that leads straight up to the moon.

December’s a dream, and on into winter, it could be he’s crazy, but what should he do. Walking around the school, and the playground, at Nenahnezad under the moon. That Navajo moon.  And time and again when he’s going solo, out on the dirt road, the desert in view, he hears a car, driving so slowly, right by his elbow what should he do. Those yeibichai fellows, ghostly eyes staring, silent in wisdom, drive by, and disappear into the hue.

When I was a child, I saw as a child, all things beautiful all life bright. Colors, especially at night, those moving shapes like dancers under the high desert rite, and there was no dark valley, in that world where a boy dwelled, laying in darkness, where the moon fell, listening to voices, at last for you I’ll tell….

Over a period of five months in the fall and winter of 1969 and 1970, near Nenahnezad, New Mexico, I saw on three different occasions the same dark blue car full of Yeibichai dancers headed into the full moon. What I was doing wandering around in the dark by myself, on those various occasions is known only to that younger self that was me. Maybe I’ll learn more as time goes by, there might even be a part II. – 01.29.2016 – דָּנִיֵּאל

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