Painted Desert National Park: Remembering Naomi & Isaac

Painted Desert (from this
Painted Desert

Here words do not find sufficient substance sublimity to capture the rare beauty of the landscape. As I have traveled now for the fourth time across America, I am grasped how differently the scenery is observed, and how important are the dimensions of the geological history and human history for understanding.


However, no matter how much history, how much geology, how much of the human condition is understood, to stand before the Painted Desert shatters the ability to be rational for me in many moments. I was standing in silence at one of the many observation stops when a man’s voice gently spoke, “Sorry to interrupt your mediation.”


“Oh no, that is OK. You can’t stand here forever.”


We had a fascinating discussion of how people come up to a viewing place, snap a picture with a cell phone and dash on to the next place, along with interesting ideas on the desperate need for conserving our natural resources.


At one point, I meditated on the idea of the “Painted Desert.” This implied that someone, something had painted the rocks various colors. I had learned from Isaac, who was a worker at the desk of place I stayed at near Red Rock Park, the answer to my question, “Why are the rocks red?”


When he and Naomi, his coworker, did not know and all the workers at the park did not know, Isaac said, “My dad’s a geologist, he would know.”


“Well, give him a call.”


Isaac hesitated, and after a few minutes, it appeared we would not learn the answer that evening. We continued our conversation on other subjects and then

Isaac exclaimed, “Here comes the answer. I sent dad a text message and he has responded!”


“Answer: Iron oxide. The sandstone through millions of years acts as a sponge.” Some of Nature’s most awesome sights take time to be.


Yes. And in human art, did not Leonardo take years to paint the Mona Lisa?


The Painted Desert is a vast area. Over a hundred miles in length and up to 20 miles in width. It’s vastness is hardly comprehensible, but to understand the scientific facts which are incredible to digest in same ways, and combine science and art into a moment of the “eternal now” is one of glorious moments in knowing how “America’s Best Idea” is a centering point across the nation for the health well being and reasons for knowing this land should be preserved for future generations.



My thought at the moment is that the artistic wonders of the Pueblo and Navajo is an expression of humanity from the deep recesses of the mind, body and soul of humans immersed an environment which has evolved over millions of years, and in their art forms, this uncanny beauty is expressed in jewelry, sand drawings, basket weaving, glorious clothing for living and celebrating, especially in their ceremonial gatherings, where head dresses, flowing gowns, the beating of drums brings back the history of these first Americans through thousands of years.

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