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Sunday, August 23, 2009


Reading Stephen Maurer's poem Mimi's Solution, at first I thought instead of 'yurt' he meant a different circle structure, 'kiva,' like the one pictured here. Only this is ruins of a kiva, a ceremonial room, a sacred place for those who built these walls. But of course, his poem itself reveals that he meant 'yurt.' And the link below his poem leads to a kiva experience.

Still, it reminded me of Chaco Canyon, where the photo was taken. It is a national park, whose website includes this under 'directions' - "Warning: Some of the local roads recommended by map publishers and services using GPS devices to access Chaco are unsafe for passenger cars." They might have warned, too, that even the road they recommend is a 35 km journey after you turn off the highway to Cuba, NM, and much of this road seems designed to shake you until you wonder what parts might have come loose and fallen off your car.

This tends to discourage casual tourists, apparently, because we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. And Chaco Canyon is a beautiful place to go, to camp. To walk amid the ruins and feel the presence of their absence, of those people who built and lived there and chiseled their symbols in the rocks. Who grew from children and themselves raised families in this community, in this culture. And added stones to its walls. Someone told us that the word Anasazi is Navajo, and has come to mean 'cliff dwellers,' but originally meant something like 'ancient ones.' Or, said another way, it meant 'we don't know who they were.'

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