Having my period, I couldn’t participate in the sweat lodge yesterday night. It’s interesting sharing a part of a culture by one’s exclusion rather than one’s inclusion. It was explained to us that a woman experiencing her menstrual cycle is already going through a purification process, and that she is too powerful, during this point in her life, to participate in the sweat. I almost wonder if there’s a practical side to this belief as well; maybe a sweat would have a greater strain on a woman’s body during her period because her body temperature is slightly elevated? Anyway, this incident makes me more curious of how different cultures address menstruation.
I decided, instead, to go on a hike up into the painted desert. I found a little side road and started climbing up the large slabs of striated white and red rock. I didn’t realize that the painted desert is as soft as it is hard. My feet would break through red, or scuff white, the boulders forming a rising/falling plane—shallow and smooth. I had to climb quickly, using momentum to gain purchase over the rocks.
I found a high-point, from which I could watch the sunset. With a small black spider as my companion, I thanked the world for this trip, my life, the people I share it with, because we work too hard and worry too much, and sometimes it’s just good to say thank -you.