Part two of a three part series by Magda Santos
When it was time to go, we climbed into a vehicle without sides and a metal cover overhead. It was a truck jeep thing that was rugged and could take all the bumps and grinds of the terrain, as we were soon to find out. It was a cold day in March. Racing down the roads increased the wind chill, but we were so happy to be on this land. We just pulled our scarves tight around our necks and held on tight.
We stopped at several places with monuments in the distance. King Arthur began describing the monuments as cartoon characters from popular television shows and movies. There was one that had an ear that looked like Mickey Mouse, he said. Andrea and I were stunned and confused by his descriptions but we decided after glancing at each other that we would give it some time before asking about his unusual narrative. There must be a reason for the commercial tone to all his comments so I smiled and only asked a few times about the importance of this valley.
We bumped along and got thrashed from side to side, but even with the strange narrative the splendor of the Valley was impossible to ignore. The valley has iron oxide mixed in with the sandstone and that’s what gives the valley its’ reddish tinge. The buttes, shale deposits, and erosion formed the monuments. What’s left is an ocean of sand and towers of stone in this corner of Utah.
Then suddenly a young man mounted a brown horse and raced down a road next to us and turned left. He had on a red shirt. I wondered why he was wearing a red shirt and why he had gone out on the ridge. Then I heard the jeeps. It was like a swarm and out jumped Japanese tourists taking pictures and pointing everywhere. They all took a picture of the young man on the horse. I do have to say he did look like a picture postcard.
At the archaeological site, we stopped and walked to a huge smooth stone; I laid on it and looked up. I could see the sky. An elliptical opening at the top of the rock formation let in the bluest sky. I was on my back looking up at the heavens.
We didn’t stay long. We had already been on the road for almost two hours. We drove back toward the visitors’ center but made one last stop on a plateau. I asked King Arthur if there were any monuments with sacred names. I had gently asked this question in many ways for two hours. That’s when he pointed to one of the rock formations and said, “That’s the storyteller.” I don’t know if I thanked him but I did feel I had been given something special, his trust.
In the next and last part of the story, dreams, visions, and a clue about the deeper meaning of Monument Valley.
Read part thee of King Arthur of Monument Valley