Spider rock, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navajo Nation
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Lessons of Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly

Spider rock, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navajo Nation
Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navajo Nation (Photo by Melanie R. Bremer, 2008)

A two-headed spire rests motionless on its ancient pedestal, like petrified arms stretching upward toward the canyon’s rim. Spider Rock is home to Grandmother Spider say the Diné stories that speak warm truths on the colder days when Thunder sleeps. These stones spin legends into lithic realities.

From above we see the Grandmother’s roost as an eagle sees it, or perhaps in the slow circle of a falcon. Though neither eagle nor falcon notice Spider Rock’s twin needles. Their eyes focus instead on smaller movements dashing between the scrub cover spread upon the sparse canyon floor. Grandmother Spider has no lessons for them; they know already her truths.

On the ground of the canyon bottom I close my eyes and hear the voice of Spider in the small movements of wind, in the springtime surge of river, in the sudden plunge of falcon intent on unsuspecting prey. ♨

 

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