"Today may I walk out in beauty.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty around me, may I walk
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty."
Version of a Navajo (Dineh) Prayer
"The term 'hozho' includes everything that a Navajo thinks of as good. It expresses such concepts as the words beauty, perfection, harmony, goodness, normality, success, well-being, blessedness, order, ideal, do for us. This is probably the central idea in Navajo religious thinking. In various contexts it is best translated as 'beautiful,' 'harmonious,' 'good,' blessed,' 'pleasant,' and 'satisfying.' As a matter of fact the difficulty with translation primarily reflects the poverty of English in terms that simultaneously have moral AND aesthetic meaning."
Anthropologists Leland Wyman and Clyde Kluckhohn
After camping at Ghost Ranch, we drove out to Bisti De-Na-Zin Badlands south of Farmington, NM. The area is a wilderness with no developed trails, so it was fortuitous that as we stepped out of the car at the trailhead, a very friendly man with a "Navajo Pride" button affixed to his hat was just returning from a hike and gave us some helpful hints on how to get started. I had my maps, but they were almost useless in the trail-less vastness of a country unknown to us stretching out almost endlessly in the midday sun. The friendly hiker encouraged us to head out to the twin red hills in the distance and then follow the large wash dotted with green vegetation. What a beautiful hike it was! I always love visiting Dineh country, for I can feel my identity melting out into a vast, storied spaciousness where past, present and future all seem to interweave in the stark beauty of an ancient, sacred landscape . . .
Photos: Three photos taken in the Bisti Badlands and one taken at Ghost Ranch (which is also traditional Navajo country), NM, May 29-30, 2016
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.