Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm going up country.........

I'm going up the country, baby, don't you wanna go

I'm going up the country, baby, don't you wanna go
I'm going to some place where I've never been before. Canned Heat

So yesterday Sweet Man took me up country and we went about an hour west of ABQ to Sky City, no not the casino, although we passed by it, but to the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America (I'll see you one Jamestown and raise you a Sky City). Acoma Pueblo is just one of the wonderful Native American places in New Mexico. Acoma is known for it's pottery and I wanted to have a look. I have lived here all my life and never made that hour drive to see this wonder.

Maybe I'm glad I waited until now.

Sometimes in life, it is fabulous to have a suprise and an AHA moment.

Pure joy is a rare commodity.

As we approached Sky City on a wonderfully scenic road, we were greeted by typically New Mexico vistas, wide blue sky, far off mountains, red, yellow, green and purple dirt, yucca, scrub brush, sage, occasional wildflowers, hawks, clouds to make stories about and then the road ends at.........the most amazing canyon site I have ever encountered. I've seen Grand Canyon, Royal Gorge, Rio Grande Gorge and each of them is deep or wide or vast or colorful but nothing is as breathtaking as the giant monolithic sandstone piers on which an entire pueblo is built. This edifice is surrounded by stonehenge like blocks of the same sandstone. And all of this sits inside a huge valley inside a flat topped bowl. I am not doing it justice with my words. It is like a stack of saucers (where the enclave sits) sitting in a huge sink.

No pictures of Sky City are permited without a permit and in order to get a permit, you must go on a tour....gotta hike down about 3/4 of a mile on a dirt path. After my knee replacement, me and inclines are not on speaking terms so, we opted to tour the museum and see some of the most amazing examples of centuries of the yuuni a Teres word for pottery, the Spainish conquerors called them olla, watch the video that was offered in the visitor center and then we wandered around visiting with the artisans and visitors. That was really fun. I know there are those people who would not understand why "outsiders" are not permitted to take photos of Acoma or Sky City or many other Native American lands and buildings but I do. It is not just their home like we would think of it but rather it is a part of their cultlure, their being, their essence.

The people of Acoma like many of the pueblo dwelling Natives are in their ancestral homes. Some are over 1000 years old. The creation stories of the pueblo peoples are living spirituality. They are part of the land and the land is part of them. Mother Earth is just that, their Mother, honored and revered.

The flat seedpot is painted in traditional black white of many pueblos and was made by a sweet young mother whose 7 year old was learning to bead while they watched their booth. Cute family.... The small primitive pot was sold to us by a very proud grandmother whose granddaughter of 8 molded, styled and painted the very "Acoma" pot. Her name is Mia and now Gerea has that pot. The designs represent mountains (heavy black angles), rain (slanted lines), wind (straight lines), sunshine (the orange, I would call it terra cotta). Sounds like a pot made for someone who honors the four elements....funny about that.

Awesome day, wonderful drive, respite for my tired old soul and time spent with my sweetheart. And I scored some amazing memories and photos of (non Native) countryside I will share tomorrow.