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Kokopeli, Anasazis, et al

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You mightn't be aware of it, but the Kokopeli stick-figures you see around originated with the Chacoan, Anasazi, Mimbres, Mogollon, Hohokam cultures I belabored a couple of entries ago.  This one's actually a tree root I dug from under the floor of my living room.

 

As for you blog-readers and your secret, silent demands that I tell you a bit more about them, I understand.  I hear your cries, even though you've suffered silently.  Here's a bit more of the unfinished manuscript I used for the earlier entry:

 

The mountain I used to prospect to for several years is covered with ruins wherever there is water.  Big ruins.  I used to sit on one near my camp and try to imagine what it must have been like.

One summer solstice afternoon I was sitting on the cliff boundary of the ruin watching the sunset.  In the basin below there's a volcanic knob out toward the center of the plains.  I'd discovered a single kiva on top of it years before and puzzled over it vaguely.  What was that kiva doing there, miles away from the big houses? 

But because that day happened to be solstice, I suddenly noticed when the sun went down, it vanished directly behind the point of that Kiva knob!  Yon damned Chacoans used it to mark summer solstice!

A place like that fires the imagination, and I spent a lot of time thinking of how it must have been for those people. Some of these groups had evidently been in the same locations for 300-400 years, and suddenly their government leaders decided they had to leave.  They probably watched and even hosted strings of these travellers along the trail until their own turn came.

Then one day they  just left.  What a thing it must have been to be one of them on that last day, saying good bye to the place your great-grand-dad, your granddad, your dad, and everyone else as far back as anyone could remember, including you were all born, lived, and mostly died.  Everyone voluntarily packed a few belongings, a medicine bag and blanket or two, a stone hatchet and a few scrapers, and left, leaving corn in the bin for those coming behind.  Abandoned pots lying around all over the place measured the things you couldn’t carry.

Sometimes sitting on that mountain early in the morning it sort of overwhelmed me, thinking how it must have been.  Probably they all left in the morning one day, after a while of maybe being notified it was their turn.  A few weeks of  planning.  What to take?  What to leave behind.

Finally they probably finished the last minute packing the night before.  At dawn they made a line down the basin heading south, looking back over their shoulders as long as they could, feeling so sad.  Knowing they'd never go home again, wondering about the place they were going. 

Remembering how it was playing on the mountain with their grandads when they were  kids, remembering the special, secret places kids always have.  Just looking and yearning to stay, and already missing that long home where their ancesters had roamed for 2000 years.

They’d have tried to keep it in sight as long as they could, each one stopping to wipe the trail dust off his face, pretending to catch his breaths.  But yearning back at the old home place, piercing the heat waves with their eyes, straining to see it one last time, maybe crying, certainly crying inside.  The kids probably screeching aloud enough to cover everyone elses sorrow.

As they trekked south they were joined by other groups from the neighboring villages.  The dust rose on the trail making a plume, a cloud around them.  They examined these strangers who were now trail mates and wondered who they were.  Some, they probably soon discovered had a mother-in-law, or uncle who came from their village.  They got to know one another better there on that hot, sad, lonesome trail away from all they they'd ever known, and they shared the hardships of the journey together for a long time.

Jack

 

 

Entry #180

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