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NAVAJO LAMENT, by Susan Gordon

October 17, 2009
by
Record heat,

I always feel a sense of hope when I see a rainbow. Sedona, Arizona

I always feel a sense of hope when I see a rainbow. Sedona, Arizona

and record cold.
How will it be
when I grow old?
Ponies grazing
no more grass.
Wind is raging
will it last?
Sand is shifting
no more plants.
Who will survive
if only ants?
Sheep must leave now
no more wool.
What of our baskets
wells not full.
Our way of life
gone forever?
We pray and dance
it’s now or never.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We hear so much about the loss of Arctic ice, and drought in Africa, yet much closer to home, many people are already feeling the effects of climate change in their areas too.  One that is very personal to me is the Arizona Navajo Nation, as my winter home is not too far from there.  The windstorms and blowing dust have been unbearable of late, thanks to much drier and hotter summers over the past 5 years.  Less rainfall means the vegetation that normally keeps sand dunes together is gone, and the shifting sand has created a multitude of ecological changes.  The Navajo’s entire lifestyle, which is very sparse to begin with, is having to change as a result of rapid, irreversible climate change.
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