Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Ancient Ones

THE ANCIENT ONES  or the Anasazi, pueblo people in the Southwest dating back hundreds and hundreds of years lived a perhaps-idyllic life.

We went to Santa Fe, NM for a working vacation recently. While there, we re-visited one of our favorite spots: Bandelier National Park, home for more than 600 families 5-600 years ago.  These people lived in a narrow canyon with soaring sandstone cliffs.  A stream runs through it providing water and fish.  Back then there were deer and wild turkey, squirrels, other birds, rabbits and--bears, mountain lions, and snakes.  The rattlers were poisonous.

The canyon sheltered the people from the sometimes severe winters in this high desert land.  It was sunny, pretty warm, and fertile for growing corn and squash.

The people lived in what was apartment-style or condo-style lodges.  Some were tucked up by the cliffs and others were in a large circle on the valley floor.

These people were agricultural and peaceful.  They shared in the work and the benefits of hunting and fishing the stream.  They enjoyed a communal life. Today  the valley in this canyon is much the same as it was when it was inhabited by the ‘ancient ones.’  But they are gone.  Was it disease? Or warfare? Did they hunt an fish it out?  Did they lose faith in their community? Did they jut decide it was time to move on?

We will never know; they did not leave written records, only wonderful carvings in the soft sandstone cliffs and the remnants of their buildings.

Is there a cautionary tale in this?

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