Women of the East and Southwest

She stands alone with windswept hair, eyes closed as if she were at one with the land. In a nearby courtyard redolent with the aroma of jasmine, a mother and daughter share an eternal moment under high blue skies. The statues of tribal women of the Southwest offer a moment of reflection for the woman visiting from the East.

Who were these women? The legend of the raven penned in black ink on an adobe wall holds the answer. An inverse interpretation to Poe’s sad ‘nevermore’, the raven in Native American teaching symbolizes the magic of darkness. The color black has many meanings and the raven speaks to the awakening that comes from the void.

New possibilities, new meaning emerge from darkness. The woman from the East felt the darkness in her own life, felt herself drawn into a void of lost dreams and expectations. Eventually, dawn’s light returned and she moved on to a new day.

The woman from the East walks from the museum toward the riverbank. Oak trees shimmer incandescent chartreuse.  Gray-green grasses carpet sunny slopes. She feels the sun and the wind on her face just as the tribal women must have felt.

Conquerors stole and raped the land. They trapped animals, mined for coal and turquoise, built railroads and hotels. As word of the healing warm, dry air of New Mexico spread, they pushed the indigenous people off vast lands onto small plots.

The woman from the East stands in the shadows of the women of the Southwest. She draws strength from them, remembers their story … their love of family and of the spiritual life here in this tan and azure land of enchantment.

Published by Susan G. Weidener

Join me as I share reflections, always with an eye toward the challenges and struggles we women encounter and embrace in both creative and personal ways. My memoir, Again in a Heartbeat, was selected as a 2011 editor’s pick by Story Circle Network. Its sequel Morning at Wellington Square has also achieved critical acclaim. A Portrait of Love and Honor, a novel based on a true story, is centered around a story of two people destined to meet and one man's commitment to honor following his years at West Point. In 1991, I joined the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer and worked as a reporter covering news and writing feature stories until 2007. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs, I attended the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, I started the Women's Writing Circle, a critique and support group for writers in suburban Philadelphia, which now meets informally. I live in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania with my Yellow Lab, Lily.

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