Thursday, July 17, 2014

a gathering of nations

Last weekend was the 29th Annual Taos Pueblo Pow Wow - I hadn't attended for a few years, but this year I felt compelled. The Grand Entry was the most glittery and spectacular I'd ever seen. Feathers and satins, beads, bells, fringes, moccasins, gorgeous shawls. Traditional garb has acquired lots of bling since the last time I was there. The sun shone down bright and hot as hundreds of spectators watched Native Americans from locations all over North America dance and drum. When the drumming began it brought tears to my eyes. There is something deep and profound in those archetypal sounds. The beautiful drums are as large as tables and up to eight or ten men drum and sing traditional and new songs in their languages.
I stayed for several hours searching for patches of shade as I ate a Navajo Taco, drank fresh cold lemonade and tried to take photos over the heads of people much taller than me.
The man in a wheelchair very far in the background of this photo is Tony Reyna who was honored as a former governor of the Pueblo, a WWII hero, and a 98 year old elder. I remember way back in 1986 when I first visited the Pueblo village and stopped in his shop, looking for film for my camera. He asked me where I was from (I didn't look like a native Taoseno then and still don't. I'm often still mistaken for a tourist). We talked for awhile. Tony asked me what I did back east. I said "I write." His response: "then you don't need film, your words are all you need to remember what you see." I've never forgotten that comment even though I've taken thousands of photos since. He was a handsome man then, he's a handsome man now. I wish him many more years of life and many more Pow Wows.
As the afternoon wore on, clouds gathered over the Sacred Mountain, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees and a lovely dark sky rainstorm ensued.

when I am silent
I have thunder hidden inside

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