Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The mystery of the pueblos

Scattered all over northern Arizona are pueblo ruins. Gorgeous, unobtrusive structures that blend quietly into the landscape, for defense or aesthetics, who knows. Today's architects would be well off to study these ancient builders.

Communities of people lived in these pueblos for hundreds or sometimes up to a thousand years. And then they just fall off the radar screen. One minute there is "thriving" community, and then they are gone. There is no explanation. No record of why they left. Always it is said that the people "inexplicitly" left. Then sometimes a series of questions is posed: Was it disease? Famine? War? that forced these gentle people from their idyllic home?

I have to smile.

Did anyone ever think that these gentle, peaceful souls who tilled the land and lived as one with the universe might have been under the influences of the same forces that we modern folk are under? Could greed or jealously split the community? Might have one family group tried to lay claim to property of another, starting a chain of human political events that finally tore the group apart. Perhaps adultery, pettiness, or deceit insidiously rotted the community.

Or maybe the best of the human spirit took over, and after four hundred years, the young said, father, mother, it's time for us to move on. The view of the river and cornfields touch my soul, but I want to know what's over the horizon.

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