Thrown back on a Thursday

I worked at Haskell Indian Nations University during the 75th Anniversary of the Haskell Arch.  There had been a lot of fanfare leading up to the celebratory anniversary.

My office was in the Cultural Center and Museum.  For years, I had worked closely with the Haskell Archives.  I had examined photos of famous campus people, famous Indigenous leaders and just about every building on campus.

I remember spending a great deal of time examining the intricate details on one particular photo of the Haskell Arch from the grand celebration in 1926.  The details were amazing.

Haskell Arch, courtesy of Haskell Cultural Center &  Museum

Haskell Arch, courtesy of Haskell Cultural Center & Museum

At the time, I had been in charge of major events on campus, like Commencement and Convocation.  As I studies the image, I imagined what the those little people must’ve been talking about and what they were feeling.  I imagined a bit of anxiety mixed with a healthy dose of excitement.

I knew we were planning on having a celebration in commemoration of the 75 anniversary, but I had not been part of the planning process.  I was excited to see what they had in store.

Each and every morning, I drove by the Haskell Arch.  If I wasn’t rushed, I’d glance over…but most of the time, I knew what was there and I just sped past without much acknowledgement.

One particular morning I was driving onto campus and came to a screeching halt.  My peripheral vision signaled something out of the ordinary.  After I stopped I turned slowly to my left to see the image below.

Haskel Arch, 2001.  Courtesy of the Haskell Cultural Center & Museum.

Haskel Arch, 2001. Courtesy of the Haskell Cultural Center & Museum.

Oh boy, did I have to readjust my vision and thoughts.  Just a few days before I had been staring at the 75-year old black and white image.  On this day, I was face-to-face with a historical recreation.  Chills coursed throughout my body.  I sat for a moment to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind.  Yes, in the middle of the street.  But, I wasn’t the only one.  Another car had pulled over well behind me in equal amazement.

It. was. real.

Later in the day the long draping flags went up.  It was a magnificent sight. We were witnessing history.  Literally!

All throughout that day, from the little window of my office at the Cultural Center, the past and present were visibly one.

Olfactory recollection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was sitting in traffic with my windows down on an unusually warm day in January when a passing fragrance gripped my memory.

                       I remembered that scent from my childhood. 

                       In an instant I left the confines of my car and traveled back in time.

I remembered the creak and hum of the tall cottonwoods that surrounded my grandparents farm.  We sat comfortably in their shade and played in the cool damp dirt that we found beneath the hard desert surface.

                      Little hands built hot wheel metropolises that we imagined existed beyond the front gate.

I remembered the sounds of talking and laughter as my mom, aunts and grandma tended to the handmade wire grill that rested atop a circle of river rocks a few feet from our front door.

The smell of the hot sizzling peices of meat trveled to our dirty little noses and hungry tummies as we waited impatiently for dinner.

I remembered the smell of the heavy rain drops that fell on the hot summer ground during monsoon season. 

The storms were slow to swell and quick to leave.  And almost always made me want to eat the dirt that smelled so clean and fresh.

I remembered the smell of my home.

Imaginary or not, it was a welcome respite from the life that I now live in a city hundreds of miles from an inherited existence that always finds ways of calling me back.

%d bloggers like this: