June 27, 2005

Buildings of mystery

In one of those cruel twists of life, something you treasured as a child -- Summer, that precious, magical time you counted down the days to get to, and which could never seem to last quite long enough before you were back in the stores buying your new school wardrobe -- turns into a vast, tortuous wasteland of television reruns and sundry "entertainment" crap. ("I Want to Be a Hilton," anyone?)

Given this state of affairs, I've found myself drawn into the TNT miniseries, "Into the West," almost against my will, simply because it's new programming and will go on for a number of weeks. I'm not really a big fan of Westerns or, as I tend to think of them, stories of how the West and its native peoples were royally screwed over by European hubris. But TiVo has made it so easy to watch this one on my schedule that I got sucked in by boredom, curiosity, and a preview for the show that made use of the Sarah McLachlan song, "World On Fire," which I happen to really like. (And which you may have heard about, back when the video came out, for her charitable contribution.)

It's not the best miniseries ever, and it can be a bit confusing to follow because there are so many characters in so many places over so many years, but it is interesting. They show the episodes a bunch of times each weekend, if you're inclined to check it out -- I'm sure it would be easy to catch up.

Why am I going on about this, you may be asking? Today I finally got a look at the photos I took during my most recent trip and some of them reminded me of the sad fate of those native tribes.

These pictures were taken at Wupatki National Monument in Arizona, in the Box Canyon ruins. There were other ruins in the area, but if you look at the sky in the first picture you will see how overcast it was becoming, and I chose to head back to the car when the sky opened up.

The enduring nature of the structures is pretty amazing to me, as they have been there for some 800 years and so much is still intact. I didn't learn as much about inhabitants as I would have liked, since my visit was so short, but I do recall that the Anasazi were among the those who are believed to have lived here. As there is so much mystery surrounding what happened to them as a people, it was a little surreal to be standing alone in what might have been a sacred site of the pueblo, with the wind whipping and the thunder and lightening going on all around me. I'd like to go back sometime to explore it further.