It seemed far-fetched, one I thought would take years to accomplish. But no! I just got back from living that dream--to further explore the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, Colorado, and to re-visit where I spent the first nine years of my growing up, hopefully discovering where my dad spent part of his boyhood, and then cap it off with a trip through Zion National Park. I was willing to do it by myself, if need be, but if I could have a sister along, that would be the best.
And it was! Our 2000-mile trip whizzed by, full of conversations, laughter, hiking, coffee, hiking, lunches from our little blue cooler bag, and did I mention hiking? Here are some of the things we experienced along the way...
|Petroglyphs at Mesa Verde National Park|
A 3-mile hike took us to the majesty of an empty canyon where the only sounds were the cry of an eagle on the wing and the breeze as it brushed by us on the trail.
There, far from civilization, we gazed in wonder at a story pecked in the wall--birds, lizards, spirals, handprints--and pondered the meaning of the tale that burned in the artist's heart more than 1000 years ago--burned hot enough to capture it for all antiquity.
|A piece of captured sky...|
After climbing like cliff dwellers ourselves, even traversing a bit of the path by hand and toe-holds as jauntily as if we did it every day, we stopped for a breather near this piece of earthbound sky. Mirrored in a pool on the mesa top, the water sat as crystalline and still as if it had been thus since the cliff dwellers inhabited this high green tableland. circa 1280 A.D.
What caused these people to abandon their well-crafted dwellings and migrate south, never to return? The stones are all silent regarding this. Silent and serene, and in the many homes tucked beneath the caprock of the canyons, the answers rest, content to be unknown, yet willing to yield their secrets to the questing minds of archeologists and dreamers...
We found the canyon, inhabited only by birdsong and the occasional jackrabit. Additional finds included the remains of an outhouse; a plethora of pottery pieces; shell buttons; an old spoon; a stove grate. The thought that we were walking the same ground where nearly 80 years before our father worked and played, was both mystical and poignant.
Then on to the red rocks of Zion National Park, with its endless tunnel curving through soaring palisades, hiking trails that took us to the root of the mountains to gaze on emerald pools hard-won over miles of sandstone and granite .
We sweated. We almost got stuck on a deserted road of rain-wet gumbo. Remembered places had shrunken (as is the way with childhood memories), and some we remembered not at all. This was a dream that felt like a dream even as we lived it, and if I didn't have pictures to prove it, I would wonder if we'd really stepped foot in these places, now that I am back to normal life.
Funny, isn't it, how such times often arrive so incrementally that we can actually be living the very things we've longed and worked for, yet fail to notice in the moment that our dream has surfaced into realtime.
Even living the dream, we can get so focused on the next hill, the next goal, the next dream, that we can fail to stop and breathe in the rareness of it all. We can, but let's not, for dreams are far to precious to walk through unaware...
Kiva hole and ladder at Spruce Tree House