Three days ago we packed up two cars with gear, guitars, bags and books and began our drive to Navajo Mountain to begin the official reconstruction of the boarding schools. One car held the team, Ryan, Graeme, Magdalena, myself: Ella, and a volunteer, Sarah. The other car held three volunteers, Grace, Sitou and John. Everyone was extremely cozy, wedged between what we were transporting and each other. There was a lot of resigning ourselves to the space we had and the fact that we would be driving through the Mojave Desert, and drive through the Mojave we did. That Tuesday the white sand and white-blue skies boasted 106 degrees and every time we stopped for gas or a restroom it felt as if the sky was giving us a tight, hot hug and wouldn’t let go no matter how much you wiggled. Needless to say there was a lot of talk about sunhats and watermelons.
In Ludlow, California, we pulled over to watch a spectacular desert sunset in. It was a chance to take stock of the situation: this is actually happening. We are going to restore the boarding schools. We will be spending a little over a month in the red, high desert of Utah trying to participate in healthy community building and art practices. OK. But what does that mean? We don’t have many answers beyond general dialogical inquiry and listening a lot. We have a lot of questions and thoughts. We are all trying to be brave enough to really look at ourselves and our beliefs and intentions. I think I’m using the word we a little liberally. I’m mostly talking about how I feel: full of a lot of questions and a really tender heart. The sunset helped.
The two cars met up at the notorious EL TROVATORE motel. Is it really notorious? I think it has become notorious in my mind. Three weeks ago Ryan, Magdalena and myself took a treacherous three-day road trip form the East Bay, California to Navajo Mountain in Utah and back, to meet with the Navajo Mountain Chapter Council and discuss our project with them. We managed to get there in one drive (a whooping 18 hours), but had to break up the way back because our sanity was leaving us (we had a mere 22 hours at Navajo Mountain for our meeting, which went wonderfully, and rest between car travel time). We ended up breaking up the drive in Kingman, Arizona, at El Tovatore: a Route 66 themed motel.