From the Introduction
by Editor Juan Morales

Hózhó. Hózhó is a Navajo (Diné) word that defies any easy translation into English. Though it names a way of being, best understood in the culture where the word is at home, it speaks also to a yearning for relationship, for truth and balance, and for harmony and beauty that lives in many, if not all hearts. In the Navajo (Diné) tradition, the prayerful greeting of each new day in the pre-dawn light is a way of being open to the blessings at hand. Hózhó, like an experience of the Holy Spirit, is not something that can be grasped. It is instead an experience that comes on its own terms and only when one is open to it.

The opposite of hózhó is alienation—from the depth of one’s own heart, one’s own family and friends, one’s place, one’s culture, one’s sense of that which is holy. The harried complexities of life today are such that we may be more familiar with the absence of the experience that the word hózhó names. But if the yearning for an experience like this is alive, then so too is the possibility of coming home to it. If the stories in this issue are any indication, and I believe they are, animals of all sorts can be trustworthy guides along the trail back to an experience like hózhó, or at least the notion that such an experience is possible.


From The Horses by Frank Waters

My few horses, then, helped to put me in closer touch with the wildness of the living land. A silent communication grew between us. I could not at first understand how they silently called me from the house when anything was wrong or they needed immediate attention; nor how when I wanted them and they could not be seen, they trotted out from the woods. Then I began without question to rely on their intuitive calls and responses. This involved of course the mystery of silence, in which all we children of our Mother Earth speak in a common tongue.


From Pilgrimage of the Eye by Cheryl Merrill

My bones melt and my gait slows to a saunter, the acceptance in my mind and nerves tells me not to run when a monster materializes out of a clump of brush and moves to an arm’s length, breathing so quietly I wonder if it’s sleepwalking, I wonder if I’m sleepwalking, because everything that is happening, this monster, this place, my fog of serenity, must be made from dreams.... The monster moves closer. My slow-motion mind slowly comes into focus. I stand to my knees in dry grass, my camera lowered, eye to eye with an elephant.

Eye to eye with an elephant.


Words Along the Way from Doug Peacock
The smell of danger floated on the mountain air....My strength was returning, conditioned by the dozen miles I walked every day. My physical senses were honed even sharper than they had been during my jungle days. I heard the secrets passed by flapping ravens and smelled, when the wind blew right, the fetor of damp bear fur floating down the trails....


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