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Published: August 19th 2015
Leaving Ghost Ranch is difficult, we want to stay but we’ve used the slack in our schedule in Santa Fe and Taos and the road to Chaco is long and difficult so leave we must. The drive to Chaco is long – it’s difficult to make all the correct turns and maps and GPS frankly suck sometimes. I sit with my compass app open trying to locate some of the roads we need. Then we hit THE road into Chaco. This is the good, north road. Bone rattling is the way to describe it. At the end of the road is the center of the early civilization of this country – the heart and soul of the ancients who became the Puebloans.
I am not sure whether I have any original superlatives to use after 9 days in New Mexico. We are in a new landscape – sage, short and shrubby cedar. Chaco is a broad valley that is just becoming a canyon between two plateaus that create deep side canyons. The geology is not as colorful as what we have been treated to on much of this trip. But the canyon walls tell the story of ancient oceans, rivers and finally human settlement that began in ~850 CE. Without the ruins, I think that this would still be a sacred place. I wonder how this happens. There are places that bring us peace, places in which we feel afraid or insecure, places that we need to leave, places that draw us. How does this happen – is it the minerals in the soil, the landscape of trees, shrubs and flowers, the people or their souls left behind, architecture? Why do people flock to Paris and not so much to Kangala?
For myself, travel is not only about meeting new people and seeing new places, it is about learning what connects us all. The more I travel, the more I see how we are all connected. This trip connects to the life I live in Tucson, it connects to the last trip we made to Alaska, I see how the recent Asian immigrants are following the ancients travels, my own people somehow connect here as well although later but still early in transoceanic travels – somehow one thing and then another connects in a long chain. As we learn more about Chacoans, I realize that for myself, this is my heart and all of the other places are the arteries and veins that supply the oxygen and blood flow.
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