The Sad Sister

February 16, 2010
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Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, a vast land of sandstone pinnacles existing on the border of southern Utah and northern Arizona, is an ancient realm that has been preserved as a region of magnificent boulders. The national park is like a rough particle of Mars’s outer skin that has been brushed off and blown to Earth—a canyon world of burgundy walls and history. Some buttes resemble gloves with their large palms and naturally etched lines. Some look like red tombstones. The valley of buttes and mesas creates a realm that the ancient Indians have called home and tourists have claimed as a magnificent horizon.
As a tourist, I rode in a car down the rocky trail to see the gigantic red boulders. I saw the different shades of red and felt the coolness of the pebbles on my palm. Looking out the window, I could see the crimson towers almost reaching the blue sky, fire and water parallel against each other. The cool desert wind brushed past my face, making me blink, but the stone walls of the valley stood still, like they had for millions of years.
I didn’t need a tour guide because everything was clearly displayed in front of me. Turning my head to see the landscape, I saw a butte that was strikingly different from the others. There were three towers connected together in a very intimate way. A miniscule sign next to the butte said, “The Three Sisters.” I gazed at the towers one by one, and implanted near the top of the buttes were three primitive and jagged impressions of faces. Then in a second, my eyes locked into theirs. The “sister” on the left was narrow and was the tallest. The “sister” in the middle was the narrowest and shortest of the three. The sister on the right had a melancholy expression. The lines of the layered rock created what looked like a hood. The hood covered a long slate of fiery red hair and her hands below her face were clasped together as if she were praying. She had a sharp nose and dark deep eyes. The lines on her face etched out tears but I didn’t understand why she looked so miserable. Her face hypnotized me—it pleaded with me. But I could only watch; I was merely a tourist admiring the broad sea of monoliths.
Still not quite believing what I had just witnessed, I took out my journal. Hastily, I opened to a blank page and quickly sketched the red-stone girl, accentuating her wide anguished facial appearance and promising myself not to forget that face. In the future, I will see my preserved reminiscence of the girl, like I had laminated the red human figure of Mars and had placed it in my packet of souvenirs to take home. I watched the magnificent but unfathomable being, shrinking farther and farther away as my car rumbled away and the tangerine-tinged sky covered the horizon.

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