I wrote the following after re-reading a passage from one of my favorite authors, the Kiowa poet/novelist N. Scott Momaday. The passage brought to mind the few nighttime hours I once spent in the desert north of Tucson.

Momaday wrote:

Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon
the remembered earth… He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it.

NIGHT WALK

To the desert lit only in the small hours by a waning moon, in the company of dread among the looming saguaro, ocotillo, cholla, prickly pear, skirting rock and creature holes, drawn by distant silhouettes as if to navigate the land to seek out the gods on those black peaks. But that would be the final walk. Some day, perhaps. Not now. Not yet.

Perched on table rock, hug myself against the night cold. Outcries come from there and there. Indignant screeches. Rustlings. Warnings. Threats. “Two-legged here!” “Away! Away!” one cries from underneath the green stick bush. Foolish creatures, sighs another. Leave him be.

Night cold wraps about me, sets me to shivering, sets me to some regret of my ill-formed mission, of taking the dare to come under the desert night, black blue sky, earth rising in dark places, the land alive with countless sighs and rustlings, shadows that slither and skitter across the sand.

Then comes upon me the weight of such a bright berry-painted robe still warm from the heated stones, folding gently about my shoulders, tucking around my legs. Stay awhile, child. Hear our Talk. There will be songs. That One will tell sly ancient stories.

If I will it, I am there, body against the stone, faint breeze across my face and Her, pausing from weaving to consider me.

Edward Frost
January, 2010