Last week, I traveled home for quick visit…the place has not change. Dzil Bahlakai Mesa is covered with snow…the cold air is clean! The roads are muddy…there seems to be a place for everything here – like just the right amount (kinda like what Edward Abbey says). Quickly, I learned the sheep & goats are gone…my aunt said one of my relatives visited my uncle one day. Upon reaching the house, he notice the sheep dogs crying outside, as though very sad and lost. He went inside and found my uncle emotional stating ‘dibe do lizi adin’ (no more sheep or goats). When I heard this, my heart felt heavy. I could only imagine how my uncle felt with this lost…he has been tending to the sheep for decades – and when I think more about the livestock, I realize this sacred line has ‘ended’. This is the first time our family has no sheep or goats since I can remember – perhaps since the return from Ft. Sumner.
My dad says my grandmother, at one time, had over 500 sheep grazing atop of Tselani Springs during the 1940s. There was a summer camp up on the mountain and a simple structure at base of mountain. Dad and his siblings grew up among the scarcity of provisions, rather a time of difficulty - yet it was during this time they found the simple pleasures of living. Living free, understanding the patterns of hard work, and the compassion of closeness - Closeness to family, the herds, the horse, and the place eloquently shared in ceremony.