Listen to the Silent Roar of history

Gila Cliff Dwellings Photo by Carla DeMarco
Gila Cliff Dwellings Photo by Carla DeMarco

Cliff dwellings. What an unremarkable phrase for such a remarkable feat. An entire village carved out of solid rock. Carved not with the bulldozers and explosives that we so casually use today to gouge mortal wounds into Mother Earth, but with primitive tools and back-breaking labor. Carved not to pillage or destroy but to settle into Earth’s protective bosom as children settle into their mothers’ laps.

New Mexico’s Pueblo Indians built these great villages to survive - to be safe from man’s greatest predator - man himself. In the process, they managed to build cities without devastating the Mother who protected them.

When you come, visit this extraordinary sight during a time when visitors are few. If possible, walk the path alone or with someone you love. Listen to the silence. You will hear the spirit voices of the ancients call to their gods. You will feel the presence of a proud race of people who left their ghosts to guard the homes they had to leave.

Close your eyes and smell the fragrant smoke of cooking fires. Hear the grinding of stone against stone crushing dried corn into baking flour. Listen!

Can you hear a young mother crooning softly to the baby in her lap while she sews soft rabbit skins together to keep her child warm when the snows come and winter winds wail?

Do you smile at the boasts of young warriors as they hurl their spears and draw their bows in games to sharpen their hunting skills?

You can detect a whisper of history from the unseen, shriveled mouths of old men teaching young boys what they have learned, and old women tending laughing ghost children as they play at learning to tread carefully along the cliff’s edges. The women know that soon, the youngsters will scramble up and down the steep cliffs like mountain goats.

Open your eyes and they will be gone.

Only the wind remains to sing its melody to the deserted landscape. Sagebrush stretches across the plains below hiding the shadows of an ancient people that once shared this land with God.