Twin Rocks Museum treasures

Visitors to Twin Rocks Trading Post often comment that the shop looks like a museum. Our primary mission is to sell jewelry, baskets, and Navajo rugs, but the statement is still flattering.

A few days ago, a woman walked through the Kokopelli doors, took a quick look around, and declared, “This place is just like a museum, and I could live here.”

After I got over my fear of the store becoming a flophouse and stopped wondering what Priscilla would look like as a fossil, I gave considerable thought to what we do at Twin Rocks.

Many people view museums as a place to view extraordinary objects and, if you are fortunate, have informative conversations with the attendants.

I can certainly appreciate that sentiment. My best museum experiences involve looking at displays while talking with staff members. I was even invited into a few curation rooms and saw lots of unusual artifacts.

In most cases, the explanations of curators and docents added more to the relic than I could have guessed.

One thing I realize is that art is primarily about the artist, and the artist is molded by his or her work.

When I look at a rug by Eleanor Yazzie, I see her woven into the fibers, and I can hear her voice and remember her children and the family’s yellow pickup truck.

In a Tommy Jackson bracelet, I envision him pulling into the gravel parking lot on his Harley, eyes shaded by narrow sunglasses.

To me, those memories make Eleanor’s weavings and Tommy’s jewelry extraordinary.

People are clearly the most important part of our operation and, depending on who is in the store, the exhibition can be captivating.

Each visitor has his or her own story to tell and distinct attributes to reveal. They have all experienced life on their own terms and are like living museums.

Their demonstrations include culture from around the world, adventure in countless environments, and knowledge about an endless variety of topics.

Yesterday, a friend strolled into the trading post after hiking in Cottonwood Wash. His focus had been on trees.

After many years as an architect, he decided he was destined to be a fruit grower. So he purchased acreage with a grove of apple trees and began life anew.

As he talked about the land and how it changed his life, a smile spread across his face. He described his grandfather, a man who allowed his young grandson to work in the elderly man’s extensive garden. That experience sparked a hunger that had lain dormant over 40 years. Unexpectedly, those seeds sprouted and passion bloomed.

He told me how he found a sandstone drainage where several juniper saplings had taken root decades before. The trees were huge, twisted, and strikingly beautiful.

Then he whispered, “I just went over and gave them a hug.”

I understood his emotion, since that’s how I feel about many of the people who visit the post. Being a bit shy, I have, however, most often refrained from embracing our patrons.

Our friend and I talked about a tree Jana recently purchased in Moab. After we completed our transaction, the greenhouse attendant helped me put it in the back of our truck and bid us farewell.

Before we drove off, I asked whether the unprotected tree would be all right during the 100-mile journey to Bluff. The assistant responded, “No problem, we have pretty strong winds here in Moab.”

Watching in the rear-view mirror as we drove home, I agonized over every lost leaf that skittered down the highway. When we finally pulled over, I regretted the damage done.

After finishing my story, the friend said, “You know, it’s going to take a long time, buckets of water, and lots of fertilizer to make that tree feel good. It will need love to survive.”

That is the beauty of the people and art on display every day at the Twin Rocks Museum. You just never know what treasures you will discover.

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