But no, we did not. We added more stones from the fire before returning, increasing the temperature inside the mud and wood dome by another ten degrees. This round would be a different beast, a new challenge to conquer. We would conquer it together. And so we went for five rounds, until the purification ritual was over, all of us exhausted from the crowded heat and steam.
Within the walls of that dark space, which was small and simultaneously infinite, quiet but loud with the hissing boiling water and chanting, comfortable yet hard, we shared stories and sang songs. We listened, we spoke, we sang, we prayed, and we were silent. This was our shared experience in the Navajo sweat lodge.
"We listened, we spoke, we sang, we prayed, and we were silent. "
Saying goodbye to our new friends at the airport on the return trip was a sad moment. We wouldn’t be able to share the entire day together anymore. But not to worry, we will all grab dinner sometime soon and reminisce on our shared experiences in the Navajo nation.
Class of 2017