No, no….not American Idol. I’m not talkin’ J-Lo or Harry Connick, Jr. Settle down.
Can you remember being a small tyke? Think as far back as you can possibly remember. A time when you couldn’t do everything for yourself, but you were learning. Maybe recall a time when you still wore a onesie pajama.
Do you remember idolizing an older kid who could do so much more than you? Maybe he could saddle his own horse.
Almost saddle his own horse.
This older cowpoke has his own cowboy hat, boots and spurs.
He can climb on tall things without assistance.
He’s a general stud, but you know what the coolest thing about him is? He’s nice and he takes time to play with you….a lowly little kid.
He takes you huntin’ for yyittle yyizards on the rock wall.
He helps a small feller out when he needs a leg up.
This friend is so nice, he allows you to play with the baby frog he caught.
Your friend responds with a sly grin when you ask for the thousandy-eleventh-time, “Can I go to youse house? Can I go to youse house? Bye mommy. Can I go to youse house?
After a long morning of rounding up, branding, working calves, yyizard-hunting, frog-playing, horseback-riding, and chute-climbing, the truck ride back to the chuck wagon can cause your older, idolized friend to get bone-tired.
Your only thought, your sole wish is…..you want to BE him. Just like HIM.
Some of you read my recent ranch series and you understand my fascination with the petroglyph cave at the New Mexico ranch.
Do you remember the movieClose Encounters of the Third Kind? How Richard Dreyfuss was so obsessed with the importance of a particular butte that he sculpted it in his mashed potatoes at the dinner table?
This will refresh your memory:
This is how I feel about the rock art. I’m compelled to make Valentine’s Cookies from these shapes. My mind refuses to let go.
To update you on the glyphs:
I contacted a scientist involved in dating the oldest petroglyphs in the United States. He wasn’t certain, but he thought the rock art could be attributed to the Hopi or Zuni. He asked me to contact another expert in Hopi/Zuni petroglyphs. I shot off an email to the distinguished Ekkehart Malotki from Northern Arizona University and asked for assistance in identifying the source and time frame of this rock art.
I received a very kind email response from Dr. Malotki. The glyphs are not of Zuni or Hopi origin….he is certain.
The rock art in the cave is prehistoric. Prehistoric? Do you know how that word stirs my gray matter? What does that mean?
Dr. Malotki defines it as before the first Spanish explorers visited that portion of New Mexico. How much before? I don’t know.
If you are interested, here is his email to me in it’s entirety.
Dear Kathy—Sorry for my delayed response. My PC was in “intensive care” for a while, so actually felt cut off from the world.
I’ve never been in that part of NM where your ranch is, but I can say with certainty that the petroglyphs have no affinity to typical Hopi or Zuni rock art. They are far too far removed from their ancestral lands. They also are not archaic, but most likely prehistoric (which would mean before the coming of the Spaniards).
The zigzags are totally unpatinated, so they could actually be historic. The dark color in some of the glyphs may actually be due to a lichen that has invaded the disturbed (that is, engraved) areas. But I would have to actually inspect the glyphs to make that determination.
I’m sure the “cave” is natural. Perhaps the artist didn’t want others to see his work. The place was his very personal, private “retreat.”
Some elements, like the quadrupeds are identifiable, but as cultural aliens we have no idea whatsoever what they meant to their creators. A pretty safe assumption, however, is that there were made in the context of some ritual, hoping by MAKING them for some positive outcome in matters that was of great concern to the person (or group).
There is a book on the “Rock Art in New Mexico” by Polly Schaafsma. Check the pages 138-147. They deal with rock art in your part of NM.
For those of you who slogged through my three-post series last week: put on your hip boots for this update. I simply had to share!
What of the petroglyphs?
After much scouring of the interwebs, I brazenly emailed a person mentioned in a recent science journal who was involved in dating the oldest petroglyphs (10,000 to 15,000 years old!) in the United States. He very kindly wrote back indicating this rock art was surely of Zuni or Hopi origin. He mentioned this deer as a very common symbol in the SW United States. He put me in touch with a Hopi expert from Northern Arizona University. I’m waiting to hear back. See how much we are learning?
Now for some sad news. Remember this stalwart kitty who entertained our toddler for hours?
Got a text from Sprout #1 yesterday telling me to be very careful with the little dogs while at the ranch. The ranch foreman related he had seen a coyote carcass in a tree being devoured by an eagle. He said all of the barn kitties had been swooped upon and carried away. ***gulp***
Rest assured baby H and Roxy Doxy will never be outside unattended.
If you object to hunting, don’t look at the next picture.
Really, don’t look. Leave now. You’ve been warned.
Sprout #1 has been enthusiastically tracking the mountain lions for over a year now. He’s seen lots of them, but he’s never bagged one. He has a state permit to take two cats a year. From the looks of his game-cam photos, there’s a nice population of them at the ranch. He finally bagged one a few days ago. It looked to be quite old. Hunting these is an adventure. Can’t wait to hear the Sprout’s full story.
Like I said before, this is a rough country. Not for sissies. Or small animals.
If you are a petite person, you might want to look up now and then.
I’m pulling the photo album out of my granny-handbag. Finishing up the three-part ranch series with my favorite captures. I snapped these with the Nikon d700 and the 50mm fixed lens. I didn’t want to be bouncing around in the 4-wheeler with tons of equipment. Simple is best.
Sit with me on the loveseat, won’t you? ***grabbing your sleeve***
I know you’ll want to see these, honey.
Now…..drum roll, please….my favorite photo of the ranch trip. I like the starkness of it. Feels familiar and it feels like art to me. I call it hommage aO’Keefe. I think you’ll understand.
Oh….you have to go now??***unfurling my tightly-wrapped arm from around your shoulders***
Come back and visit real soon.***wet kiss***
Here’s hoping you always find the flattering light.
Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Never knew there were so many varieties slumbering on the ground, jutting proudly from the earth, being utilized as a writing slate, leaning against one another for support, or forming mazes for us to ponder.
Behold the boulders.
Enjoyed exploring this Lonesome Dove-like land. If I was still riding a horse……oh, well.
Is your head spinning from staring at rocks? Do you feel like a geologist now?
On Friday, I’m gonna whip my photo album from my over-sized handbag and force you to lovingly gaze at my favorite ranch photos. I’ll probably invade your personal space and talk too loud. Some of the shots are artsy-fartsy. Prepare yourselves….you know I’m an over-sharer.
Juan Andres Pacheco. Former caretaker of this portion of America’s vast grassland. He wasn’t the first. The Native Americans…the Spanish…the Mexican vaqueros once inhabited this land. Natives still roam the landscape.
Along with current ranch occupants.
The ranch family tree keeps branching.
Coronado explored this part of North America searching for the Seven Cities of Gold.
He didn’t find the cities. He found the great American West.
Did he observe how the sky swallows one up in this part of New Spain?
The blood of Coronado’s lost horses beats true in the hearts of our equines. The land and beast stewardship continue.
Doesn’t matter your age.
Doesn’t matter your sex.
There’s no time to question.
Just get the job done. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but sometimes it is.
Wisdom is available. Listening required.
Years of abundance blend with years better forgotten; drought, fire, record snowstorms.
Loss is a companion.
Pulling on boots can signal hope.
Work is unending. Cattle don’t consult calendars or time pieces.
Moments treasured with family and friends in precious, cool water. Perhaps we’ve found our Cibola?