I have lived a total of six days in Flagstaff now. I don’t know what to think of this place yet? I love the singing Ponderosa Pine that engulf the sprawling town. There are so many trees, that I couldn’t even find my way around. A few times, I got lost. This town is actually environmentally friendly; at least when compared to the towns of Utah. A lot of ravens take up residency too. It’s a quiet place, except for the trains. They sound their horns at all hours. It isn’t bothersome though.
Compared to Southern Utah, this area is a lot more diverse with people. There are a lot of folks coming from different backgrounds. In Utah, it seems like 90% of the population is Mormon and of the same mindset. There’s the Paiute in Southern Utah, and a few Mexicans. But in my humble opinion, Southern Utah is culturally lacking. I say this respectively, not to offend anybody. I have yet to become familiar with the citizens of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Today, I drove to a place called the Oak Creek Canyon overlook. There was Native people selling stuff there. Ravens were chatting. Far below the overlook railing, I could hear the creek rushing downward. I loved the steep walls of the canyon, and the various layers of sandstone that composed it. Then I wanted to go see Sedona, despite all the New Agers and frauds that I’ve heard are living there. I didn’t dare drive down to Sedona anyway, because my car has been acting like an creaky dinosaur about to kill over. In the past few months, it’s been acting strange and unpredictable. I can’t stand the thought of getting stranded again, like I did the other night while coming into Flagstaff. A radiator hose blew out in the engine, and I ended up trying to stop people on the highway for help. It’s a lonely feeling, when no one was willing to stop and help. I guess people let fear, or carelessness dictate their lives. I try to stop and help people when I see them in that predicament. Finally, a highway patrolman stopped and called a wrecker.
So now I am living in Flagstaff with three other room mates. What a dark town it becomes at night. I’ve noticed that it blends into the surrounding forest after sundown, below the San Francisco Peaks. These mountains are sacred to the Hopi and other local Native peoples. I’ve known the controversy surrounding the peaks, and I side with the original nations in this area. Down below the peaks, the desert is primordial, calling to all those that hear its vision. And how I love the glow of the peaks, when the pale moon shines upon them.
I love traveling through the Navajo Reservation, and seeing the long empty shadows being dropped from low rising sandstone formations. Just before sundown, there is a twilight of emense silence, and the only sounds I hear, are the roaring engine and the wheels humming against the endless highway. Navajo homes with little street lamps, weave a spider web of existence in the black labyrinth of Northern Arizona. I feel the strong warmth of isolation. I feel something that is hard to speak of. I listen to the radio buzz, and the static responding to the RPM of my motor. Into the blackness, into the Painted Desert I traverse.
Flagstaff is a quiet place. Yes, it is a busy little city. But it isn’t really. It is full of interesting things. I have yet to explore it. When I see Arizona, in a wholesome sense, it has a spirit that is far different from Utah. Even the local Wal-Mart has an ‘Arizona’ smell to it. Yes, I am going to miss Utah, but I left to find some personal indipendence.
And to Zoey, I appreciate your comment. I checked my bloginality, and I may post the result in the sidebar somewhere.