Creatures of habit

Like Pearl, the canine Queen of the Post, I am a creature of habit. Every morning I wake at 6 a.m. when the radio clicks on, listen to the news summary on NPR, make the bed, and head downstairs to start the day.

Lately, however, there has been no news, just static. I think something has gone wrong with the station, maybe the radio itself.

It has been a week since this problem began, and I have yet to resolve the issue. Instead, I roll out of bed and turn off the radio, assuming it will somehow fix itself over time. It hasn’t.

Consequently, static has become an ongoing part of my routine. The radio gives me static. Visitors to the trading post give me static about wearing masks.

Priscilla gives me static if I don’t take out the trash in a timely manner. Rick gives me static when I miss my writing deadlines, and let’s not forget Frances, a persistent source of static.

When I complained to Priscilla, she reminded me that static is often found in those lacking development and vitality, which she said describes my recent state of mind, not hers.

It is true the persistent heatwave has gotten me down. I am not as energetic as I am when milder temperatures prevail.

Historically, I do better when it is cooler and when things are busier and more challenging at the store. A soft rain does wonders for my attitude.

The heat has caused me to slow way down and has also driven most travelers to higher elevations. Consequently, traffic in the trading post has dropped.

As I explained to Priscilla, doing nothing all day is hard work, and she should therefore be more considerate of my circumstances. She offered to spray me with the garden hose. I declined.

She went on to point out that she and her granddaughter Kaiyra, a recent hire, have not noticed a shortage of things to do around the post.

In fact, they are taking the extra time to muck out years of accumulated rubbish that threatens to overwhelm our operation. Tons of waste have already found their way to the landfill under the direction of Priscilla and Kaiyra.

While all this is going on, the mercury has been hovering above 100 degrees during the day and is threatening to go as high as 110.

Here in southeastern Utah, it feels more like Phoenix or Death Valley than Bluff; all we need is the saguaro or mesquite.

Walking out the Kokopelli doors and onto the porch, I pointed out that even the lizards are showing signs of heat exhaustion. They slink in whatever shade they can find or hide under the rocks until the sun sets.

“What am I supposed to do when even the reptiles are overheating?” I asked.

Priscilla just edged closer to the spigot. The lizards and I scattered.

While I was dodging Priscilla, patron saint of the hydrant, I noticed a new pickup pulling into the parking lot. Lately, I have been watching to see if any of the Ford Lightning trucks show up in town.

Ever since Joe Biden was caught on camera driving one, I have been captivated. I think it is too early to see them on the open road, but I am searching none the less.

Imagine an electric truck you can plug into your house when the grid goes down. With all the air conditioners presently running, the lines are sure to collapse.

I am convinced it is just a matter of time. The power infrastructure, like the reptiles and me, are overtaxed.

As it turns out, the truck was driven by Ruby Coggeshell, who brought along her mother, son, and only granddaughter.

Ruby does a type of rug known as Red Mesa Outline, which appears as wavy lines that look like static electricity permeating the rug. This particular style is also known as an Eyedazzler, so you get the picture.

Ruby is one of the best, most-accomplished weavers doing that particular motif. I took Ruby’s appearance as a sign the static affecting me would continue, and maybe even increase.

Ruby and her mom, Bessie, have been bringing rugs to Twin Rocks since Ruby’s son was a toddler. Kevin has now been in the U.S. Navy for over 16 years and is set to retire soon. That gives you some idea how long we have known the family.

Additionally, Ruby’s aunties, cousins, nephews, and nieces have all been in to see us over the term of our existence. Many of them have stopped weaving, victims of old age, illness, difficult economic cycles, and higher paying jobs.

The loss of contemporary Navajo rug weavers is staggering. Year after year, however, Ruby and Bessie continue producing beautiful, complicated, colorful, and eyedazzling rugs.

Their particular style grows out of the Teec Nos Pos region of the Navajo Nation and seems to have arisen when aniline dyes became widely available in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

That era was marked by an explosion of colors which have become the signature of this type of weaving.

Guests to Twin Rocks often ask whether Ruby’s rugs have specific “meaning.” As she has counseled, I often answer that many Navajo rug and blanket designs actually do have sacred meaning, which is held secret by tribal members and artists, and which may not be freely divulged to outsiders.

Early on, in honor of her mother, however, Ruby explained that Red Mesa rugs have been identified with “Female Energy,” the only opponent the Navajo Hero Twins were not able to overcome.

In Navajo culture, certain creatures such as Horned Monster, Kicking Rock Monster, Monsters That Kill With Their Eyes, and several others began terrorizing the Navajo people.

These adversaries were eventually slain by the Hero Twins, known as Slayer of Alien Gods (Monsterslayer) and Born from Water, the sons of the Sun and Changing Woman.

The only combatant the twins could not defeat was Female Energy. From that point forward, men have been contending with this formidable and unstoppable power.

As everyone at Twin Rocks Trading Post will confirm, female energy, as represented in all Coggeshell weavings, provides enough static energy to power a metropolis.

Is it any wonder then, that the static, like the heat, is projected to continue into the foreseeable future?

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday