National Geographic : 1984 Oct
On Assignment ATASTE OF POLLEN became almost a steady diet for staff writer Cathy New man as she investigated that necessity of na ture that is also the bane of hay-fever sufferers. Here she is offered a sample by the late Navajo medicine man Fred Stevens, Jr. (right). Sa cred to the Navajos, pollen is offered as a bless ing to the newborn, to the newly married, and even to each new day. "The promise of provi dential goodwill was welcomed; the pollen tasted slightly sweet," she recalls. During her coverage, Newman ate pollen-touted as health food-in tablet and bar form, enjoyed a pollen facial, brushed her teeth with pollen based toothpaste, and sniffed a jar full of rag weed pollen. There were no ill effects, she reports. "Fortunately, I'm not allergic. Yet." OLLOWING THE TRAIL of Hernan Cortes to Mexico City, anthropologist Jeffrey Wilkerson (below, second from left), Victoria Velasco, Genaro Dominguez, and photographer Guillermo Aldana E., right, faced their greatest danger on horseback in city traffic. "I thought it was just a matter of time before one of us would be injured or killed," said Wilkerson. But all escaped un harmed to pose for a triumphant picture in the Z6calo, the central plaza. Aldana, a native of Sinaloa, Mexico, thanked his early experience in California training horses for Hollywood movies. Wilkerson began tracing Cortes's route in 1963, searching through thousands of dusty documents in Seville, Spain. He was startled to find one signed by Cortes himself. "After more than four centuries, there he was talking to me."