The Western Horizon
Monument Valley, Arizona
Photo by Macduff Everton © 2000
The Navajo call this open flatland "Tse Bii Ndzisgaii – the clearings among the rocks." The San Juan River wraps around luminous rock walls, scoring deeply into porous sandstone canyons that reverberate the slightest whisper. Leathery slickrock pierces the turquoise sky. Lone buttes throw mile-long shadows and broad-shouldered mesas foreshorten distance. This is what grabbed director John Ford's imagination and forever linked the Western film genre to this quintessentially Western location. This is why hiking into Monument Valley is like walking onto a film lot. A cowboy or an Indian on horseback, backlit, on the ledge of a cliff, assumed the heroic dimensions of these operatic clearings studded with monoliths...

- Mary Heebner © 2000/ excerpt from Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Essay,The Western Horizon (Abrams)

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Click on image to see more watercolors sketched on the Colorado Plateau.