(大土佬兒于 09/02/2013 于紐約阿帕拉契山內。)
Virgil, my guide to the dinosaur fossils' field proudly declared that "I am a 100% pure blooded Navajo." I wouldn't doubt him
a bit. He is masculine and quite handsome in Navajo way." Virgil is polite and quite knowledgeable about what he is
guiding. This high school graduate looks over 50 years old while his actual age is only 38. Baking himself under the sun
everyday on the dirt road side hoping someone would come along and let him guide to see the fossils has made him as
dark as a 100% pure blooded African American. That doesn't matter, I know that his heart is 100% pure blooded Navajo.
How do I know that? Well, life is so boring in this desert that even the hardiest sage wouldn't grow on it. How would a real
Navajo do to keep himself occupied, at least spiritually? He talks to his ancestors and the sprites of mesa, canyon, rock,
creek, wind, rain, sun, cloud, dinosaurs, , , , , etc.
After showing me the first a few dinosaur fossils, Virgil started to chant intermittently. He chanted "Hay! yoo, yoo, yoo, yoo,
~ ~!", just like those Ramapou of the Lenape in the Up State New York chanted in many Pau Wau I attended. http://www.
When I was busy taking pictures of the fossils or pondering which part of which dinosaur could certain piece of fossil bone
belong to, Virgil was bored. He walked away. He needed to do something. So, he chanted "Hay! yoo, yoo, yoo, yoo, ~
~!". So, he danced as if he was in a trance.
When we were on a winding bumpy dirt road to a petroglyphs rock art site 10 miles away, Virgil chanted. "Hay! yoo, yoo,
yoo, yoo, ~ ~!" He was interupted only when I offered him a can of icy cold Coke. He poured down the entire can of Coke
into his throat in one gulp. Then, he chanted "Hay! yoo, yoo, yoo, yoo, ~ ~!". I offered him the second can. He poured it
down again. Then, he chanted "Hay! yoo, yoo, yoo, yoo, ~ ~!". I stopped my SUV, opened the back door to retrive
another can of Coke for him. Well, down to the hatch again. "Damn!" I thought to myself "If Virgil were a camel, he could
walk 10 days, 200 miles in this desert without drinking one more drop of water, after these Coke!"
You know what? Just like what the books said, there is no such word "Thank you." in American Indians. You give. They
take. They give. You take. There is no false modesty, no pretence.
Before I accepted his guide services, I asked how much would he charge. Virgil offered "You donate whatever you like." I
insisted on "Give me an idea on how much is proper." He said "20 dollars, if you are pleased." After the tour, I thank him
profoundly and gave him a 100 dollars bill. Virgil just smiled and accepted it. There was no "Thank you!" That's what I like
about Navajo. They are natural and with dignity.
Next time you offer me a cold beer, my friend, you wouldn't hear me say "Thank you!" either.
I drove Virgil back to the roadside stand. I got out of my SUV to stretch my legs. A melodious voice greeted me "Will you
please come over to look at what I made?" She is Virgil's cousin sister as he told me during our fossil expedition.
"Yes, I made these by myself. If I didn't make them, I won't say I made them." the melodious voice answered my first
question in a sweet but firm tone.
"These bead purses, bead head bands, , , , , were made by my mother. Aren't they beautiful? My mother threaded these
tiny colorful beads all by herself. The colors and pattens of these art works are of our Navajo traditional."
"Yes, we have diamond cutting wheels to cut these very hard semiprecious stones and power drills to make tiny holes on
them so we can thread them with very strong and durable jewel thread. We use tumbler to polish them. This is how we
make our jewels "
The melodious voice explained to me the meaning of each jewel.
"This is our sun god. He brings life to this world."
"This is our symbol of strength and energy."
"This is our rain god. We need him to plant our crops."
"This is our healing god. He heals our wounds and diseases."
"This is our , , , , , god, He , , , , , ."
"This lizard answers our prays. We touch it with our fingers, then touch our hearts with our fingers, then, our wishes will be
"Are you religious?" I couldn't help but asked.
"Yes, I am very religious. I pray twice a day. At day break, I pray for my yellow corn. Before dark, I pray for my white corn."
"It has to be this way. If I pray for my yellow corn before dark, and pray for my white corn in the morning, it won't work."
"My name is Wanda Riggs. People call me Wanda." The soft melodious voice kept on coming out of this beautiful young
lady. Her face was as sweet and dark as a piece of brownie. Her smile can only be found in the most refined people.
"In addition to corn? Oh! I also plant squashes. Two kinds of squashes, one is water melon and the other is our common
squash. I keep my harvested squashes in the dungeon so we can eat them even in the winter."
"I also plant beans in the spring. My son help me to plant them. I carry water from the creek with my clay pot to irrigate each
of my bean plant. "
"We eat what we planted and we plant what we will eat."
"We do not want anything more than we need. We do not need a lot of things other people want." Wanda said softly.
A chill came up to my spine and goose bumps crawled all over my skin. This sweet Navajo lady's talk and her melodious
voice reminded me of "Si, mi chiamano Mimi" in "La bohème".
Mimi is a delicate seamstress in the opera "La bohème". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_G8uxVlfco
English Translation of "Si, mi chiamano Mimi"
Yes, they call me Mimi
But my name is Lucia
My history is brief
To linen or to silk
I embroider at home or outside …
I am contented and happy
And it is my pastime
To make lilies and roses
I like these things
That have such sweet enchantment,
That speak of love, of springtime,
That speak of dreams and of visions
Those things that are called poetic. Do you understand me?
How I wished that Wanda is my daughter, so I could love her and take care of her!
On another thought, I shouldn't be so selfish. Wanda belongs to this land of her Anasazi ancestors. She bloomed like a
purest white squash blossom. She grew into a delicious squash important to her people. Her seeds will carry her beautiful
traits for thousands of generations to come.
Wanda stands taller than anybody in her 5 feet figure. She does not need another father. What Wanda needed was that
this old Chinese appreciated her beautiful jewels and put his appreciation into a meaningful action.
So, when you receive a piece of jewel from me some day, don't ask "Why?". Wanda made it.
Virgil and Wanda