There are a few places in the world where I feel completely at home. The Black Forest region in Germany holds a very special connection for me that goes all the way back into my early childhood. The northern tier of the Rocky Mountains is another region that has a strong connection for me. A little further east, the mid-western plains have always provided super strong connections. Then there’s the extraordinary feelings that I get within Carlsbad Caverns. However, all these places have provided strong connective aspects with Spirits of Place, but never with specific Gods. There is a place where I have had that moment – Mesa Verde in south-western Colorado.
I blogged about this particular moment while I was on vacation in the area around Mesa Verde. Coming face-to-face with a God, even a Trickster God, can be a touch unsettling – especially when you are not expecting it to happen. And I would posit that most of the time, a first encounter (which this was not) is an unexpected moment for most.
Honestly, I was just walking the Petroglyph Point Trail at Mesa Verde to get a photograph of the petroglyphs at the end of the trail. The trailhead was near the Visitor’s Center and was paved, so it didn’t seem like a difficult walk. However, the trail soon devolved into a dirt path along a cliff face. At a few points, the trail worked downwards to the edge along broken rock. The only thing I had to assist me were various trees. I could have easily stepped on loose gravel and rocks and slid off the trail quite easily. So, the walk was not the easiest. I also did a stupid thing – I went alone. I could have sustained any kind of injury that would have immobilized me, and I would have been hoping for someone to come along the trail after me. Have I ever mentioned that I do reckless things from time to time without thinking of what might happen? Yeah. So very much me.
However, at the end of the trail, I did something even more reckless. I climbed up the broken rocks next to the petroglyphs – which is not the way up to the top of the mesa. Halfway up, I kept thinking that this was a rather dangerous way to have people get to the top of the mesa. It wasn’t until two years ago (my original trip was in 2015), that I found out that the trail continued to a much easier to navigate staircase. Yeah. So very much me.
So here I am in 2021. The pandemic has subsided – for the most part. I still carry my mask with me everywhere I go. I still wear my mask when I am in public places, even though most people have completely eschewed the continued wearing of the mask. I’m vaccinated but am still cautious around other people. In my mind, this pandemic is not completely over – yet. However, I do have a need to get out of Tejas, even if just for a week. I just need to be cautious. No need for reckless behavior. Not now.
Part of the plan is to visit Mesa Verde and walk Petroglyph Point Trail again. This time, I plant to carry water, a rudimentary first aid kit, some granola bars for energy, my walking staff, and a pouch of tobacco. The tobacco will be to provide an offering at each of the two passageways I walked through before. I’ll also be carrying my phone with me, even though there is no cell reception along the trail. This will serve as my camera and keep the weight down from my Canon and its lenses. I’ll also not be trying to walk the trail nearly as quickly as I did the first time. No need to be careless.
While in the area, I will also make a visit out to Canyon of the Ancients. On my 2015 visit, I did not get the chance to visit here. I will also be taking the steam engine trip up to Silverton from Durango. This will also allow me to see the Animus river there in Durango as well. And yes, I will be blogging while I am on this trip.
The trip serves a dual purpose as being a vacation, of sorts – as well as pilgrimage for me. This area holds very special meaning to my Spirituality, and I am extremely excited to be returning. As with any pilgrimage or visit to a site that I consider sacred, this is not just about taking pictures, but concerns bringing me back to a particular state of mind and being. My last eighteen months have been a period of tumultuous change – some good, most not. Mesa Verde was picked as a first major trip after the pandemic specifically to help me bring things back around full circle – to provide a little boost in nudging me back on to the track that I belong. To that end, I am cautious, but optimistic. Part of change is a frame of mind. Another part is action. Thus, I will have a lot of time for thinking, outlining, and determining my first steps of getting back on track. Nothing heavy. Gentle, but firm steps towards getting back to where I really need to be.
So, I am winding this down after a day of thinking about this and trying to write about it. I hope you’ll join me along for the trip – here on the blog. I am not sure where I will be posting pictures of the trip – maybe Instagram, maybe Tumblr. Wherever I do, I’ll post the link here in each of the blog posts. Looking forward to sharing some of my trip with you.