Today, my intrepid guide, Nigel 'Sand Foot" Dogberry took me to a very bad place, El Malpais, home to high flying Ravens that talk in the wind, mesas, buttes, lava fields and washes that defy natural laws and demand to be seen. The deadly rattled snake was a possibility at every step. Eagle eyed guide Nigel " I see everything", spotted a Tarantula Wasp climbing on our desert M1 tank and then warned me of big hairy spiders also lurking about out here. We moved slowly down the reservation road till we were lost and unsure how to proceed. Then way out in front of us we saw a what seemed like a small walking figure, the heat waves made it shimmer like a mirage until we got closer, and it was a small figure, and he was still small but no longer shimmered.
My tall and burly Scottish guide Nigel " knows well enough when he is lost", slowed down and pulled over next to the still walking young man. My guide then rolled down the special window he had made for his desert M1, and asked the walking young man if he could help us find Sky City. He stopped, looked at us and smiled, and then pointed up the road and gave us easy directions, then Nigel asked him if he wanted a ride. He again smiled and said he would like a ride. His name was Albert, a young Acoma man coming back to the reservation from California, he had broken up with a girl and was on the streets there and was now on the last legs of his journey home. We stopped where he needed to go, and he again gave us directions to Sky City and we wished him luck.
Then we drove up to a very high sandstone peak, where the air got thinner, and we peered out across a vast space to distant horizons filled with colors that astounded the eye. The far mountains looked cool and inviting, but the walk over would most likely kill a horse and rider. Then we left and again moved across lands where huge stone mesas sprung up out of nowhere. As if they where giant corks in the earth being pushed up by the pressure below that spot. Our tank rumbled up and over dunes and small boulders with ease because of the special hydraulic shocks my Guide had specially made for his desert tour bus with a cannon on the end.
This writer was astounded with the variety and grandness of this bad place, while still keeping an eye on the ground for musical snakes and neanderthal arachnids. My guide pointed and named things so fast I was hard pressed to write it all down, so I stopped writing and just looked. His soothing voice, the thin air, and a large dose of peyote before we left town, hit me right at this point, and I floated above the sands for a few minutes. My Guide Nigel "human balloons for sale" Dogberry quickly tied a string on my foot and brought me back down slowly so I would not get the desert 'backwards bends'. He tied me to a large bush, but it tumbled away and took me with it and then my guide brought his hands up and said some magical incantation and the wind stopped. He walked slowly over, untied the string from my foot and spoke quietly to the bush and it moved up to lurk elsewhere in the desert, waiting for another victim walking with the wind. The wind does cry out here and I heard it cry 'Martha', then it changed and cried 'Penelope'.
He then took me back to the truck, gave me bottled water and bottled air, and he burned sage around the truck while doing the Zuni Turtle Dance and all my five senses returned to me, but now I had a sixth and seventh sense.
He then told me I was now ready for the special place.
And we then went off to a large stoned arch, er, I mean stone arch. The arch called for me to come closer. I wanted to delve deep into the opening of this cleft of stone that defied gravity. but by that time, I had enough of defying gravity, I was afraid of getting into long esoteric conversations with talking snakes, I was unsure if I wanted to really meet giant spiders from Mars with wings, and jumping weeds that can stalk and kidnap you where still very much on my mind.
My Intrepid guide "knows when it is time to wrap up a good trip and also the best places in town to eat" Dogberry, took us to the best Thai restaurant in town to sooth our minds with a delicate melange of Asian tastes, so that the bad place seemed it was not so Bad, and it was soon a good place to have been at.