From what we’ve gleaned from ruins and artifacts and other traces of people past scattered across the American southwest, the Ancestral Puebloans once roamed through this landscape guided by cyclical shifts of drought and flood, cultural chaos and peace. They were migrants over generations, building on top of ruins left by ancestors past, grounded to this land even while moving many miles across it. I imagine families, nervous migrants walking far north in search of wetter land after being exhausted by drought, welcomed by familiar masonry, a sign of home far-flung across land and time.
I’m a migrant of this land, too, in a way and though these canyon walls lack foundations left for me to build on, I feel like I have found a home. This land is difficult to understand, eroded and evolved by wind and water and time, shifting and changing and breathing all at once. It’s prickly and elusive, a temple and a playground, tough and maternal. My confusion, however, draws me farther into these twisting canyon walls, where I find myself tethered to the moon and the stars, unable to tear myself back to the real world. But my soul tells me that this is the real world, and though I’m just beginning to meet this place and learn how the light travels across its sky, I hesitate to disagree. I want to unravel the twisting river beds; I want to read the layered canyon walls. I want to be here, to walk through this land, to understand.
Globe mallow, snag me with your bony fingers.
Juniper, clasp me in your arms.
Sage, rub me raw.
Desert, let me wander here, please.