The day after the grand light show extravaganza of the century (a white light on a canyon wall, read all about it in my last post), we decided we had just not spent enough time in the car, which truly was a poor decision. We went to the Four Corners National Monument first. At first, this location was a bit intimidating to me, as I read a sign about the illegality of dispersing body parts upon entrance. What kinds of people come here? What dangers await us? Upon reading further, the sign explained that the Native American culture of the area found cremation to be extremely disrespectful, and I felt a lot better about the whole situation.
After being in four states simultaneously, we went to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Though we faced a bit of rejection, we were accepted for our second choice, the tour of Balcony House. This park is unique in that it has the remains of cliff dwelling communities.
As previous experience has taught me, a tour guide can totally make or break (ok, mostly make) a vacation (see http://jennareallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2012/06/el-museo-de-eternidad.html). We were greeted by a park ranger and our tour guide. This young lady's most prominent feature was her unceasing smile. Well, almost unceasing. One time, after telling a joke, she stopped and I just did not know what to do. Other than that, whether tour guide was telling about the food of the cliff dwellers, summoning of ancestors, or, believe it or not, the smashing of heads with stones, Laura's eerily perfect pearly whites glared at me. In addition to all of these smiles, we faced an uncomfortable pause at the end of each phrase, as if there was a hidden question we needed to answer, or a deep piece of knowledge upon which we needed to ruminate.
This tour was much more academic than anticipated. We explored ancient living spaces through a progressive lens of Maslov's Hierarchy with a call to action in leaving a legacy at the end. Very well put together.
On the way back to Moab, as the sun set, we witnessed the most incredible storm. The sun loomed as a small but brilliant explosion of orange at the horizon that I thought for a moment was fire. The lightening kept coming, ripping across the sky every few seconds, but strangely elusive of photographic attempts.
'Twas a lovely day.