Wednesday, February 20, 2013

20 feb 2013

N. Scott Momaday [pic by Christopher Felver]

When Angela returned that night to the Benevides house, she was alive to the black silent world of the canyon. The roadsides rushed through her vision in a torrent of gray-white shapes like hailstones coming forever and too fast from the highest reach of the headlights, down and away to nothingness in the black wake. She drove on, and she was sensible of creating the wind at her window out of the cold black stillness that lay against the walls of the canyon. Something she bore down upon and passed, a bobcat or a fox, before it sprang away, fixed her in its queer, momentary gaze, its round eyes full of the bright reflection of the lights and burning on in her vision for a time afterward, brighter than an animal’s eyes, brighter at last than the windows of the Benevides house, which mirrored her slow approach and stop. And there was the dying of the wind she had made, and of the motor and the light itself. And in her getting out and straining to see, there was no longer a high white house of stucco and stone, looming out against the leaves of the orchard, but a black organic mass the night had heaved up, even as long ago the canyon itself had been wrenched out of time, delineated in red and white and purple rock, lost each day out of its color and shape, and only the awful, massive presence of it remained, and the silence. It was no longer the chance place of her visitation, or the tenth day, but now the dominion of her next day and the day after, as far ahead as she cared to see. In the morning she would look at the Benevides house from the road, from her walk along the river, while eating an orange or imagining that she could feel, ever so little, the motion of life within her. She would see into the windows and the doors, and she would know the arrangement of her days and hours in the upstairs and down, and they would be for her the proof of her being and having been. She would see whether the hollyhocks were bent with bees and the eaves loud with birds. She would regard the house in the light of day. In fact it was secret like herself, The Benevides house. That was its peculiar character, that like a tomb it held the world at bay. She could clear her throat within, or scream and be silent. And the Benevides house, which she had seen from the river and the road, to which she had made claim by virtue of her regard, this house would be the wings and the stage of a reckoning. There were crickets away in the blackness.

July 28

The canyon is a ladder to the plain. The valley is pale in the end of July, when the corn and melons come of age and slowly the fields are made ready for the yield, and a faint, false air of autumn — an illusion still in the land — rises somewhere away in the high north country, a vague suspicion of red and yellow on the farthest summits. And the town lies out like a scattering of bones in the heart of the land . . .


  1. I love this man. Met him once in Santa Fe. What an honor for me.
    Taught the Ancient Child to reluctant students who came to appreciate him.

  2. Wow. Poetry. Language you can eat.