Good Gawd, but I am behind on my writing. Sorry Guys, so much has happened and I needed a break.
So, I finally left Flagstaff, full of experiences and new relationships, and on I went with next stop being Starschool. It was two half days walk which suited me fine. Initially I was among the Ponderosa trees, until they became smaller bushes. Ahead of me lay Starschool, and my next hosts, Mark and Kate whom I stayed with for a night.
Starschool is a charter school that Mark and Kate created from scratch – and it is an impressive school! The school is completely self sufficient and off the grid. Water is gathered from the roof tops or picked up in Flagstaff. Electricity is provided by solar and wind power, with a little help from a back up generator. And, a building is set up to also be a greenhouse that grows delicious, fresh vegetables. Starschool works closely with The Navajo Nation and beautifully express the culture that it serves.
Mark in front of the solar panels at Starschool
Starschool gathering place outside. On the side of the walls are mosaics of the different Dine clans.
That evening and next morning with Mark and Kate wonderful conversations were had. Thomas a friend of Mark and Kate’s stopped by in the evening and gave me a great overview of what to expect ahead of me. The next morning Mark and I had great conversations about the role of protesting, civil disobedience and on creating beautiful things to make a positive difference. And, by noon I was ready to move on again. Ahead of me – The Navajo Nation – First stop the town of Leupp. I was still walking a bit slowly and it took me two and a half days to reach Leupp.
Around me was now again solidly desert. No bushes, just sparse vegetation, and the earth was becoming deep, blood red. And again, like in the Mojave Desert I was impacted by the desert all the way into the depth of my being.
Some of you will remember that the last time I was in the desert I struggled because I had fallen in love. I thought that was why I was so deeply touched by the desert experience then, now – no longer in love – I was touched yet again and in the same way. Love, forgiveness, ecstasy and pain all intermingled as I continued to walk. And then I reached Leupp. The chapter house welcomed me with open arms, and told me some about their work, as well as asked about my journey.
Work is underway from the Leupp chapter house to get grants to, among other things, build more agriculture out on the reservation. Then I got down to bras tactics, and got writing using the chapter house Internet.
As I was set to leave for the evening Lina invited me to her place for the night, as she lived around the corner. This ended up a delightful evening with Lina and her extended family. We talked about many things – my walk, life on the reservation, alcoholism and it’s impact on Native People and many other things. I learned a few new things as well. For instance, the federal government provides money for wood for poor people on the reservation. Unfortunately, the government does not allow local reservation sellers to provide the wood. This means individuals need to find a way to drive to Winslow or Flagstaff to pick up the wood. There is enough wood given that there are usually several trips needed. Unfortunately, many poor people do not have trucks and / or can’t afford the gas, and so it becomes a real problem. A problem that could be fairly easily solved if the government had the foresight to allow locals to provide the wood.
The next morning, I spent a half day writing again, and then I headed out towards Birdsprings.