If one is willing stumble around in the side canyons off Butler Wash long enough... tolerate pesky No-see-ums buzzing eyes and ears... carry enough water to stave off dehydration... risk rattle snakes Gila Monsters and Lyme Disease... Ruin-ation will eventually come out of hiding. We had the good fortune to come across a sizable cliff dwelling... and it had a Kiva!
In case you are from another world or back east, a Kiva is the sacred ceremonial chamber Anasazi's used for matters of the Spirit. They are usually round, at least partially underground and have a roof with a small opening near the center for access with a ladder. The four posts supporting the roof are thought to represent the four cardinal directions. Below is a reference photo of a roofless Kiva in Mesa Verde National Park.
Take note of the fire ring and four stones. The stones functioned as crude thermostats. When placed in front of the rectangular subterranean fresh air shaft (rear) they allowed for control of airflow into the Kiva.
Now take note of the small hole in the floor... it's called a Sipapu (see paw poo), a passageway for the spirits of ancestors. Can you imagine the intensity of some of the ceremonial events that took place in Kivas? Now have a look at photos of the Kiva we found and note their similarities to Mesa Verde.
|Not nearly as clean... but you get the idea. The vent shaft tunnel is located out of sight in the lower left corner of this photo.|
|An exterior shot of the Kiva's vent shaft|
|An interior shot of the vent... the fire pit and Sipapu long filled in with rubble.|
|Shooting pretty much north here.|
|It seemed that more care was taken with masonry work in the Kiva... this is beautiful.|
Unlike previous cliff dwellings we found, this one had metate's... stone worn down with grooves from grinding corn and various seeds into flour.
|The Metate is the large base stone with grooves. The Mono is the small hand held stone sitting in one of the grooves.|
|Note the bowls carved below the grinding grooves in this Metate... A place for the flour to go.|
|It wasn't all work and no play. Note the "doodle bug" on this Metate... no doubt left by some poor teen girl tired of grinding, grinding, grinding.|
I feed off of the positive energy of kindred spirit readers... adventurous fellow wanderers and life enthusiasts like Gaelyn, Dick, Scamps... anyone who pushes limits, anyone who must see what's over the next rise in the road or trail, anyone who latches on to a dream and doesn't let the hell of life wrest it from their grip, anyone who values freedom more than the security of a noxious treadmill and has the balls to go for it. Thank you for reminding me and other readers not to second guess choices and to keep following hearts and dreams.
Pen Pal reader, Claudia, sent me a link the other day with a note that said, "Looks like you're on the right track." I followed the link. After reading it I felt the force of the Universe alter my life-course ever so slightly... so as to avoid an eminent collision with a re-occuring treadmill. Here is the bottom line of an article by Susie Steiner from The Guardian about the Top Five Regrets of Dying.
Just something to think about on a Sunday Afternoon...