Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Giant Dirty Bird Goes Sailing In The Four Corners

Because the truck was moving and night was falling, this isn't the best picture of the monument known as Shiprock, but I sort of like the silhouette. While searching online, I found this information on Shiprock, which I'm sure my mother will like since she likes to think she descended from the Navajo Indians and not the Europeans:

"Known today most commonly by the name Shiprock, the nearly 1800-foot eroded volcanic plume is sacred to the Navajos as Tse Bi dahi, or the Rock with Wings. This name comes from an ancient folk myth that tells how the rock was once a great bird that transported the ancestral people of the Navajos to their lands in what is now northwestern New Mexico. The Navajo ancestors had crossed a narrow sea far to the northwest (the Bering Strait?) and were fleeing from a warlike tribe. Tribal shamans prayed to the great spirit for help. Suddenly the ground rose from beneath their feet to become an enormous bird. For an entire day and night the bird flew south, finally settling at sundown where Shiprock now stands. Geologists tell us the rock was formed 12 million years ago during the Pliocene Era. The legend of the rock seems more likely to be a metaphor hinting of the site's magical power to lift the human soul above the problems of daily existence into an awareness of the great spirit. From ancient times to the more recent past, Tse Bi dahi was indeed a pilgrimage place of major importance, the destination of young men engaged in the rigors of solitary vision quests."

OK. Flying through the air on a giant dirt bird? No disrespect to the Navajos, but really? And if you could fly through the air on a giant dirt bird, why would you land in the middle of nowhere? And why did the bird turn into a ship? In a place that has no water?? I don't get it.

Maybe my mother is Navajo; some of her stories are just as bizarre.


For more information on Shiprock, click here.

3 comments:

Gil said...

Thanks for the history lesson. Now I have to test one of my Navajo friends!

Anonymous said...

...this was funny, really funny...back to your old style with the last line punchline...MAE

sheila said...

Very interesting. I love those ancient stories, especially the native american ones. They make me feel all cozy.

I've read a few graham hancock books and always I'm left with even more questions. lol