1. From Sky City Mesa (Acoma Pueblo)
We drove west from Albuquerque and took the quiet road to the Acoma Pueblo, also called Sky City Mesa. It’s been occupied since the 2nd century. We saw the mesa from a distance:
We stopped at the marvelous cultural centre and arranged for a tour. Up onto the mesa, past little corrals and stone buildings collapsing into the landscape. And on the mesa itself, the beautiful pueblo, where about 15 families still live and where ceremonies still occur, the ladders to the kivas ready.
There are places on earth that speak so clearly and plainly of their history and you understand the long attachment of people to place. It’s them, or maybe I mean they’re natural extensions of everything I understand a place to be. We bought a little piece of Acoma pottery, crosshatched with lines of rain, the ears of corn there too.
2. Postcard from Boca Negro Canyon
We stopped at a canyon near Albuquerque to see the petrogylphs made by the ancestors of the native pueblo people. Some of these were created perhaps 400-700 years ago and some as long ago as 2000-3000 years. They were made by chipping away the surface desert varnish or patina from basalt rocks. No one knows exactly what they mean but they are deeply beautiful and evocative after all these years. I passed one young woman texting on the trail and I thought that in some ways these were a form of terse communication. A turtle:
Some squiggles which I think are snakes — while a sign on the trail warned to watch out for rattlesnakes. And of course spirals (this seemed inevitable to me, who spent the winter quilting them), an acknowledgement that we live in the cycles of life and death, summer and winter: