For the Navajo, The Rez being labeled “the third world” is an ironic one. In Navajo creation myth the Diné have emerged from three worlds and are currently living in a fourth. The poverty is striking. How could it be anything different to a privileged middle class school librarian? I still live check to check, I’ve been laid off, known the misery of not having my skills valued. I recently took a new job at a lower rate of pay, but it was on my terms, my choice. Or at least I tell myself that, as it may really have been preventative paranoia about being bumped around by public politics. We are taught in white culture to value the number of zeros attached to a paycheck. Each year I grow older I value happiness over the social imperative to “get ahead.” In reading the introduction to a travel guide on the Four Corners, the author relates an encounter where he picked up a hitchhiking Navajo man who told him about his work herding horses, then simply stated, “I am happy.”
Returning to the idea of the genders being reduced to rainfall intensity, maybe it is that simple, but it isn’t about genders, it’s about state of mind. Male or female we rage and caress with the same hand. There is a time for righteous anger and a time to console. Then there’s the problem of reducing acts of nature to human situations. Nature simply is. Indifferent to the human condition, that’s its draw, its lure. The imperative is then to know thyself. Know when to rage and when to caress.
The words of my favorite song (“Librarian,” from My Morning Jacket) about unrequited love come to mind, “Everything’d be great, everything’d be good, if everybody gave like everybody could.” Give like a monsoon and not a drizzle I might add.