There are times in life when I am spinning, times when I am just cruising, and then there are times when I am undeniably touched by something much bigger and more special than I could ever scheme. These are the times that are filled with overflowing love and beauty all around. It started with the laughter of happy children. Their connection to their loving moms. The example of strong matriarchs. Stunning beauty in nature. The peace and quiet of the desert. The love of a people with strong history. Connecting to a powerful canyon. This was our Project Bike Love trip to the Navajo Reservation.
I was honored to photograph the work that Project Bike Love is doing there. PBL is an "advocate for women, empowering them with a bike and the support of a global community". They have delivered bikes to women in South America, Southern California, and to these amazing Navajo girls and moms. (See http://www.projectbikelove.org/.) Not only was it a blessing to capture the joy and excitement in the young girls, but it was very moving to photograph the engagement of the moms as they accepted the challenge of mountain biking with their daughters. Then we all rode together. How fun to see them become friends with their new bikes. The people and the landscape treated us well. We were treated to a very special hike down into Canyon de Chelly, lead by the wise Ranger Ravis, who painted stories of natural and cultural histories. A young traditional Navajo man, Ravis literally introduced us to his customs and his home in the canyon beneath us. We were floored by the sacredness and beauty around us. We reflected on our own identities as well and learned deeper respect for our Earth. It was breathtakingly beautiful beyond measure. It was such a gift to meet the First Lady of the Navajo Tribe and to hang out with these Navajo Families while learning about the issues that they face. They have an interesting conflict with one foot in two different worlds. Lots of hard decisions to make. I am beyond thankful to Belen of PBL for my experience on the Reservation, and happy to contribute even a tiny piece with my photos.