An Anasazi connection; My favorite place
I believe in love at first sight, because it's happened to me twice. Once, with my husband. Second, Arizona. The combining of these two connected me to the Anasazi, the "ancient ones," in a way I never expected.
It was my second trip to Arizona, having coaxed my husband into going there on our honeymoon. The red rocks of Sedona had done me in on the first trip, and I wanted to savor both of my loves together.
At Wupatki Ruins, in search of petroglyphs, we asked a ranger for advice. "Try Lomoki Ruins," he said, and off we went. Out in the desert, you can see a storm coming from a long way off, and you don't worry much about being rained out. Washed out maybe, so avoid canyon bottoms. That's why we didn't pay much attention to the clouds stirring up darkly in the distance.
As we pulled into Lomoki, rain was falling, and the sun was expanding to a big, red-orange ball low on the horizon behind the shower. We decided to ignore the sprinkle and visit the Anasazi pueblo while we had the chance. Long, warm rays of the sun slanted through the wetness, altering the sparse desert landscape, giving it a sharper-than-real-life focus, a cleanness, an otherworldliness.
We walked through the scatter of raindrops, which disappeared into the parched ground almost before they touched down, and found the "beautiful house," so named for its exquisite stonework. It stood elegantly beside a small canyon, its finely shaped stones bathed in the glow of the sun and the desert.
It used to be thought that these pueblos were rare or isolated. Archaeologists now realize that pueblos cover the Four Corners area - disguised as piles of rocks.
Some of the pueblos we have visited engaged us intellectually, but it's clear that they are inhabited only by animals, tourists and the ghosts of the dead. But this place, this beautiful house, was different.
I feel as though I am standing there now, looking over the canyon, across the desert, into the huge bowl of sky. The ancient Anasazi are near to me in this place. If ever I could time travel, if the space between the present and past became indistinguishable, it might happen at this house. When I close my eyes and listen with my heart instead of my mind, the wind begins to speak in the voices of the ancient ones. I hear the sounds of everyday life, of laughter and banter, work and play. The rain patters down just as lightly, and the earth drinks it up just as easily.
Dolores Maminski lives in Westminster.
Peter Hutchinson, Salisbury
"A marvelous country of great contrast and beauty. Mosques and minarets. Early Christian churches carved into mountains. Ruined cities of the Greeks and Romans. Sultans' palaces. Blue Aegean water. Good, inexpensive food and lodging and the friendliest people that I have met anywhere."
Louise and Ray Smith, Havre De Grace
"Going around the bends on our Durango-to-Silverton narrow-gauge-railroad day trip, we were awed by vistas of deep gorges, sparkling waters, golden aspens and snow-capped mountains. Equally breathtaking was the sight of the train's other cars, snaking along the cliffs of the San Juan Mountains with no visible means of support!"
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Pub Date: 12/13/98