Ridgway, Colorado
May 15
A sometimes artist and photographer, sometimes I write too.  


Editor’s Pick
JULY 26, 2011 11:03PM

Water Jar Girl Running

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Self portrait

Self portrait, of sorts. Larger view here.


Part II of Time—Around and Around

This conclusion of a two-part post on some considerations about the nature of time has evolved into some tangential thoughts. 



Like Water for Time

I sat on the banks of the Chama River in north central New Mexico for quite some time lost in thought. I had driven up from Santa Fe through Abiquiu, compelled once again to view the scenes that were dear to Georgia O'Keeffe. It was a planned day trip without a firm destination, but with a vague idea of a large loop that would bring me back to Santa Fe. 


The image above is indeed a self-portrait. With a careful viewing, which isn't really warranted, you might see in the mirror the barest glimmer of light reflected off the lens used in the shot. I'm further beyond that in a darker recess. It may seem odd, but when I think of a self-portrait, I don't always see myself in it. What I see is the encompassing view of what my eyes behold—a vision from behind my head and through it. So this is a self portrait that matches my definition and experience—and I like the softness combined with the vibrancy of the shot which enhances the metaphor.


I sat for a while and then got up and wandered. It's a beautiful little river—around the bend in the distance were some fly fishermen, slowing, if not suspending, time for themselves. The river was not very deep or quick and it started some thoughts on the nature of time. The Chama flows in a linear way, of course, much like our understanding of how time works. It's the nature of linear movement that we might wade out into a shallow part, but would never really step in the same river twice. Time's march is inexorable and we often seem to float and bob along, unable to do anything else but bob up and down along the way. We're lucky when we seem to find a little eddy caused by a fortunate obstruction, moving around and around a point where it seems we have more than enough time to enjoy the moment—time suspended for a little while.


We're like those molecules of water, jostling to find our way without really knowing what the path will bring. The river may end as we know it or name it, but we continue on—though perhaps in a different form. It might be eons before our little aqua molecular self finds a way to the surface of a vast sea, only to be drawn up as vapor into the atmosphere to become a part of something else—a microscopic part of a cloud that will travel with the wind. We morph into a falling drop and find the headwaters of some other river with an untold number of partners. And it cycles again and again so the very nature of the reincarnation approaches timelessness.










Valles Caldera

The Valles Caldera. You can see a larger image here. It's a composite stitch of three photos. The little mound you see in the middle distance is the rhyolite lava dome Cerro la Jara. It is about three kilometers away and 75 meters high. The uplift in the distance is 10 kilometers from where I took the shot. The high point on the horizon at left center is Redondo Peak at 3400 meters and about 800 meters higher than where I was standing.


The image above has us standing at the edge of a super volcano. A smaller cousin to the super volcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park, Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico is still a vast structure stretching about 22 kilometers in diameter.


We often don't have the imagination to understand the largeness of a thing.  And in the case of large geology, we have no good sense of the time involved. Even with the Sesame Street-ish object lessons—this and this and this equal that, our minds can't always bend to take it in. You need to get high above Valles Caldera to see it from one end to the other. Your vision at ground level is too limited to encompass the size and time of it.  



An image of the Valles Caldera captured from the Landsat 7 satellite. There is an added red arrow that shows my location for the panorama image I took. You can see a larger view here. The Earth Observatory page with some additional information is here. The city of Los Alamos is at the center right of the EO shot. Image is in the public domain.


I think the view from outer space makes it seem as if the caldera is an enormous paw print left by some being beyond our ken and out of our time. The Valles in the name of the place means "grass valley" not simply a generic valley. The grass is never much overgrown because of the wildlife. The largest herd of elk in the southwest finds it's home there along with countless deer and wild sheep. It has been a feeding ground for millennia and the first human nomads knew of it and exploited it for the hunting and other resources. Spear points dated to 11,000 years ago have been identified. Nomadic family groups evolved into disparate tribes and settled into different neighboring areas. They all came to hunt in the valles, but they also found obsidian to use for spear and arrow points. 


In the first installment of this time diptych about the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument we saw some unusual geologic formations, cones that seemed to defy the normal slow progress of wind and water erosion. The cones of soft pumice and tuff that spread out beneath harder caprocks were initially deep flat deposits of volcanic rock and ash. Within the strata are bits of obsidian that are rounded and shaped a bit like raindrops as they were flung from the super volcano that spewed the ash and pumice. They are called "Apache tears." It's against the law to excavate or collect them now, but it was the source of a burgeoning trade economy for the first peoples. 


In more modern times the Spanish invaders, Mexican settlers as well as the Navajos, used the valles for seasonal grazing. From the time of the first visitors there have always been clashes and raids, it was too rich for just one group.






Now here's the thing. Long before there were any peoples in what is now northern New Mexico there were massive eruptions from the Valles Caldera super volcano. The largest was about 1.5 million years ago in the Pleistocene epoch. What's surprising about the Pleistocene is that in doing some research to place it in context, 1.5 million years ago is a blink of the eye in terms of geologic and megafauna history. The last of the dinosaurs that roamed this same area died off about 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period. 


Many scientists believe that New Mexico saw the first human inhabitants about 13,000 years ago. Interestingly, some of the megafauna (large animals) that survived to the end of the Pleistocene became extinct with the arrival of those nomadic hunters. The last American mastodon, Mammut americanum, left our world about 10,000 years ago, having survived super volcanoes and incursions of vast inland seas and multiple ice ages in its 3.7 million year residency in North America. 


So I'm at 8,000 feet above sea level in the middle of April. It's still cold enough to need a light jacket as I stand contemplating the nature of time and place and who was in it and when.


Who does it belong to? The first peoples? They often didn't have the same notion of land ownership that later European settlers imposed, though the Black Legend of colonization in the New World had, in hindsight, a predictable result. One might make a case that the Roman Empire brought many benefits to the conquered peoples, but there are many historians who calculate the cost to the various indigenous peoples subsumed or who disappeared. Has there ever been a colonization that honored and protected a native people? Manifest Destiny taken to the logical absurdity says that if I paved your gravel driveway then I get to own your house. The codices of the Mayans were collected and burned en masse because they were written by the Devil. Smallpox and other communicable diseases eradicated native populations, at first passively and then later as genocidal weapons. Why is the history written by winners taken at face value? 








The People

The archaeologists and social anthropologists who in later years placed the Hemish people in what was to become northern New Mexico probably also believe in the Land Bridge theory of immigration. During the last great ice age, the Wisconsin Glaciation, ocean levels were down about 200 feet from present levels beginning about 50,000 years ago and lasting until about 10,000 years ago. Much of the continental shelf was exposed due to sea waters being sequestered in ice. The estimated continental ice and glaciers in the northern hemisphere meant that the land bridge between Siberia and the western coast of Alaska was about 1,000 miles wide—more than wide enough for migrating game herds which were followed by those hunting them.


The hunters, who gradually made their way south—first along the coast and then inland—were the ancestors of the American Indians. That's the theory, and recent discoveries have found some chinks in the archeological armor of evidence supporting it. It was long held that the first non-nomadic settlement in the New World was a site near Clovis, New Mexico at 11,500 years ago. But in 1997, artifacts from Monte Verde, in Southern Chile, were found to be at least a 1,000 years older. And new evidence from the Clovis site by carbon dating some artifacts place the time frame at nearly 14,000 years ago.


Whatever the science involved, many Native Americans have never accepted the theories. In various but similar genesis stories, many of the first nations cultures believe that the Creator who formed the land also caused the people to rise up from it. Those beliefs don't actually counter the science of the Land Bridge theory, the Asian nomadic hunters could very well have crossed that ice free connection, but they encountered a land that had a host of peoples already in the new world. Charcoal found in what is now South Carolina had a radiocarbon date of at least 50,000 years, before the Wisconsin Glaciation ice age. 


Whether populated by Proto-Amerinds, or raised up from mud, clay, fire or water, the inhabitants of the New World followed the land and what it had to offer and were often driven by ecological cycles that spanned generations.





Water Jar Girl




The river trees have not yet lost their yellow leaves, but they will soon. Mountainside colors have changed to acorn orange and dull green. The nights are now cold, but the days are still warm enough for those outside to seek shelter from the sun. It is a favorite and welcomed time of the year. The maize is in and stored, the summer hunt meat is smoked and put away as well. This is the time between the hot hard work and the more meager winter hunting. It is a time when the people enjoy each other and their place in this world—the narrow canyon world. It is a time for coming together.




It has been a long time since the Diné from the northwest or the Tewas from the northeast had come to make trouble for the Hemish. Most of the peoples in the scattered pueblos knew it was for the best. Didn't they all come from the earth? And whether you were Apache or Zuni or Tewa or Diné or Hemish—the very thing you called yourself confirmed those origins because they all meant the same thing: the people.


It was a comfortable time of peace, the leaders of most of the nearby clans and pueblos had long since resolved most issues of sacred places and hunting areas. The people were left to grow their corn and beans and to hunt—and to run. They loved to run, for running brought breath and life. To run was to be one with the deer, and the closest you could come to flying. 


Water Jar Girl was born into this peace. She was of an age now where her questions were more than about the asking. She wanted to understand the answers. 

"When you learned to walk, you began to run. You haven't stopped running granddaughter Water Jar Girl, I think you will always do so."


"I don't want to see the visions in the water, grandmother. I just want to run."


"We are many things Water Jar, some we choose, some we cannot. You can run for the joy it brings, but you cannot run to break your shadow. You will see the future in the water. You must choose if the gift the First Ones gave you will help our people. It does not matter that there is no sense in it for you, perhaps that will come. It is the Elders who will see the meaning through your eyes. It is theirs to bear what our people will do with what you see."


"I just want to run."  


Fall in Indian Country


It was a short walk to the stream that ran next to the village. She took a worn path upstream to a favorite spot and settled next to where the stream cut a smaller channel. She knelt on her flat rock next to a still pool and peered into the water. 


Water Jar saw herself running and smiled at the reflection. The gentle ripples made it seem as if she was running faster than she could and as if she barely touched the ground. She stared and realized she should not be smiling...there was no joy in this running. Her image slowly vanished, but there was still a runner there. A young man had taken her place and she could tell that he had been running for a long time. He bore the terrible news that she had given him. 


She saw the people in the windows and doorways of a place she didn't know...walls built below an overhang of a sheer cliff. It was an ancient place abandoned ages ago and now ruined. She didn't recognize anyone, but knew they were her people. They were worn and scared. 


Cliff Palace


They were hiding from strangers, people that must have been called up by the gods for punishment. People they didn't know how to fight. People who were bringing the end of the world.








Part of my journey that brought this story and all these thoughts and daydreams had me traveling up the Jemez Valley, what is known as the San Diego Canyon. As hinted above, the name Jemez was a Hispanicization of what the pueblo people in the area called themselves—"the people" in the Tewa language still spoken in the Jemez Pueblo today. When they said "Hemish" to describe themselves, the early Spanish explorers heard "Jemez."


Here I found the ancient Hemish village of Giusewa (pronounced Gee-eh-seh-wuh). The people came late to the valley, probably migrating away from drought stricken areas to the northwest in the Four Corners area. Giusewa was settled around A.D. 1500.


In the winter of 1540-41 it was as if an asteroid stuck the pueblo. Millennia-old patterns of puebloan living was forever altered. Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his entourage of soldiers, Franciscan priests and Mexican-Indian auxiliaries set up camp near the present town of Bernalillo and sent exploratory parties throughout the region. 


By the early 1600s life and culture had changed. The people were conscripted to build the Franciscan mission. In 1620 the Mission San José de los Jémez church was built with indigenous labor. The ruins of the church is still visible. The ruins of the lives irrevocably changed are harder to see—it takes a knowledge of the pre-invasion history and culture to compare that with those who remain—and then a subjective analysis. 


I know what has gone before in this post is a long and rambling introduction to the following images. Thanks to those of you that took the time to scan though those thoughts. It's not really necessary to understand how I think in order for you to get whatever enjoyment you can out of a few travelogue style photographs, but it does provide a bit of context. That we fell into some unfamiliar territory with the insertion of some historical fiction is just some added fun for me. I hope you enjoy the before and the after. Now for the after: What follows are images of the Jémez State Monument. It's a place where you can wander on smooth concrete paths and think about all the time it took for you to get there. The immediate impression of the monument is that it's all about the ruins of an early 17th century mission church. What strikes you more forcefully is that the church and its compound buildings overlay a much older indigenous way of life, still visible and still able to conjure what was and what might have been but for the accident of the wrong "India" getting in the way of the first Iberian explorers.


One more note before the photos: As I was leaving the site and exiting through the visitor center I overheard another guest, perhaps a retired midwestern vacationer, mention to the attendant that she had no idea that there was something so old as the remains of the church still there. The State Park ranger, in uniform and obviously a native, just looked at her. I could tell from his expression that he seemed to be biting his tongue. It didn't take me long to figure out what he was thinking. He never answered her rhetorical thoughts, but what surely must have been churning in his brain was the history of his own people, and all the related tribes and families who occupied the broader region for more than 10,000 years.



A Mission Church

Cottonwoods coming to life

Except for a few stones and boulders displaced by erosion, weather and gravity, there is probably little change in the view of the canyon wall in all the time that there have been people in the canyon. Larger view is here.


oven at the Jemez Monument

A puebloan oven


Jémez State Monument

The entrance to a reconstructed kiva. You are welcome to enter it, but out of respect they ask you not to take any photos inside. You can see the bell tower to the mission church in the background.


Jémez State Monument

Kivas in the foreground


Jémez State Monument


Jémez State Monument

The entrance to the mission church showing the nave beyond.


Jémez State Monument

Standing in the nave. I think with a celestial ceiling such as this, it might inspire some


Jémez State Monument

The chancel, worn with time


Jémez State Monument

Embedded timbers that supported a second floor


Jémez State Monument

A room with a view


Jémez State Monument

A view outside the room


Jémez State Monument

The site is all about respecting the indigenous. 


San Diego Canyon in Jemez Valley

Place yourself in time, back before the Spanish version of Manifest Destiny








Thank you once again for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the thoughts and images. 




As you might imagine, this particular post took some time to put together. It was a long time being thought about befoe it began to take shape. Choosing and preparing the photographs also takes a good deal of time. Many of you know that I endure some trouble with my eyes which has its own weird irony given the profession. It's not until I get home from a journey or a photo shoot  that I can evaluate if a something I took in the field is any good. A lot of what I do means taking my time. I think about what I want to do, then approach the composition with some deliberation. Some of what happens is a distillation of experience of more than 40 years of f/stops, aperture settings, lens choices, intuition and quite often, pure luck. So it's a natural thing to think about tangential things in the slow process. Or maybe its just OCD behavior.


The original image of the Indian girl was a photo taken in 1905 by Edward Sheriff Curtis, 1868-1952, an intrepid photographer of the American West and of Native Americans. The girl's name was Ah Chee Lo. You can see the original photo here. The photo resides in the Library of Congress and was copyrighted between 1905 and 1929 and the copyright was not renewed. Works copyrighted before 1923 are now in the public domain, thus it's permissible to use the images without consideration of the constraints of Fair Use. It is also permissible to make derivative works of images that are in the public domain—which is what I've done with the lovely photograph. I took the outline of the image into Photoshop and painted it there with a broad watercolor brush, then toned it toward sepia. I hope you see it as it was intended, a respectful rendition of a master's work to fit within the fictional narrative.


Running has a long history in the native cultures. It is part of the spirit of Native Americans that they embrace running for the sheer joy it brings for runners and spectators alike. You can read a short narrative of how the runners played a part in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, when many puebloan communities rebelled against the harsh Spanish colonial rule in northern New Mexico. That story is here.







all photos copyright © 2011 by barry b. doyle unless noted otherwise


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Am I first, really? What an honor, on this beautiful post. The multiple strands - water jar girl, water molecules, all the different aboriginal people, the gorgeous land and the river - all running toward us, into this future. And you brought the stories to us in these beautiful words and pictures. The aspens, the river, that blue blue sky and peeking clear sun - amazing, Barry.
I miss New Mexico and your pictures take me back. The story along with it just adds to my knowledge so thank you.
Oh Candace, thanks so much for your gracious comment, you have always been supportive...that you enjoyed the words as well as the pictures means the world, as you know. Thank you.

LL2, I'm delighted to help in the memories, thanks so much for coming by.
I lived in the area for 7 years and my family often took drives and visited places off of the beaten track. I was not so fortunate as to have a camera, but now I am fortunate enough to have your eye reflect as well as your stories and research. Thank you for sharing this trip. There are some shots which take my breath away.
I would have rated this just for 'megafauna'.
Your posts are the ones I almost can't wait to come back to, so deep and wide and long going back... and like Candance said running forward. Y tu con tus ojos de oro vivante ~
Buffy, thanks for those lovely words, a pleasure to have you here. I've only visited, but it's a place I love. I would like to live there if I could so I'm a bit envious.

c-22, muchas gracias, but you know, the eyes are bad, and I have to rely on other things. When I look up at the moon at night and cover my good (relatively) eye, I see five moons, which could be viewed as poetic or a pain in the ass. That you take care to read speaks volumes about you too. Thank you very much.
I think this is my favorite! The photos are beautiful, the writing just as picturesque. And science too!!! Very impressive! No slouch you! I have never been to this part of the USA, but have always wanted to O'Keefe is one of my favorite artists, her and Frida! The photo of the girl draws me in, the same way an oil painting would.
It's weird, or OS is acting weird. It seems that some of my images are disappearing with only the caption left. I've reinstalled some portions of this post several times now. Hope it's better in the morning. Past midnight here so will be off till morning.

MAWB, Thanks for your lovely compliment, I was equally drawn in by the girl and she inspired the journey into something rare for me, some historical fiction.

Kate, I'd love to learn more about that, thanks for making that connection. Thanks for stopping by. One of the ways to trace back into time is through language, and the roots of the Navajos and of the Pueblo peoples in the Athabascan language groups reach far into Asia.
You may have outdone yourself on this one Barry - if not by the great story line and history lesson but- by the research and effort. I suspect we share a similar passion for geological time. As well as the processes by early tribal nations that we have evolved today. And as always - the photography - brilliant !
This is why I keep coming back to OS despite giving up on it nearly every other day - because sometimes something as wonderful as this shows up. Loved the history, loved the photos. Thank you.
And running is a key activity in N. Scott Momaday's "House Made of Dawn"--the book begins and ends with its ritual practice, and, metaphorically, it suffuses the action in between. I really liked something you say early on: " What I see is the encompassing view of what my eyes behold—a vision from behind my head and through it. So this is a self portrait that matches my definition and experience." But you don't just say it; you do it in this post--a post that is lavishly intelligent, voluptuously insightful, and radiantly well written. What a gratifying read this was. I admire the breadth of your knowledge and am grateful that you shared it with us.
Jim, thanks dear friend. I'm glad we share yet another passion. I appreciate the kind words.

Mumblety, thanks for stopping by and for what you said. I know many things about OS can be frustrating, and I'm like you--I keep finding wonderful things.

Jerry, yours is a generous and exceptional comment. I'm so happy that you found that inner metaphor. This was such a long time in being put together, and I showed some early primitive drafts with some general ideas on what I wanted to do to a couple of friends here on OS. One, whom you know and are friends with was very excited about it because of some personal connections and graciously offered to help with some editorial suggestions. It's not something I normally do--though of course I know what an enormous benefit it is to have that done--it's sort of like loaning out your child to have him learn something that you're not able to teach. In this case, the friend has such great gifts and abilities, and is someone I admire so very much that I was quite happy to send it along. My only reservation was that it was long and needed careful attention that would cut into the friend's time. Well, I was very surprised that not only were minor things caught, spelling, typos and syntax, but there was some real substantive editorial thinking and suggestions as well. It's much better than what could have come from just my own hand.

Thank you very much Jerry, for your enormously beautiful comment.
"Why is the history written by winners taken at face value?" One of the great things about travelling to places like this is we recognize most of the history we were taught in school is one-dimensional and doesn't provide a balanced understanding. Your thoughts on time, trying to fathom space standing on the edge of a volcano (or the Grand Canyon), water molecules and the little water jar girl all leave room for reflection on this summer moring. Looking at the photos I was reminded of the emotions felt when we visited the Apache Trail, Tonto Nat'l Monument and other native ruins in Arizona. Thanks, Barry.
We cheated ourselves out of so much when we crushed the native cultures here. I sometimes imagine where we'd be now had we melded instead of trampled. We'd certainly have a richer appreciation for nature, that's for sure.

Nice to see you stretch yourself with some historical fiction. If one thinks about it, all history is fiction since a point of view is always involved. So one man's honest words are as good as another's.

There are those who say we are on our fourth regeneration of this planet. To me, our knowledge of what we know compared to what there is to know is like comparing a peanut to a mountain. I only trust the man who says he's ignorant. It's the open mind that time blesses :)
A beautiful showcase of our state. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
This is a stunning portrait of a land I love too, but ignorantly, and so it is, as you say Barry, a self-portrait too, one burnished and shined by your knowledgeable eye. You know your love to the bitter core, all facets of her loveliness. The land itself doesn't speak but you speak for her, it, and them...that whole changing mass of mortality. Lovely piece. Thank you.
Scarlett, it's a good point to make about the one dimensional and take the easy way out style of teaching history in schools, all the more distressing here in this state since the state board of education crows about how proud it is that the majority of the board is fundamentalist Christians and they intend to change how science is taught in the state so that faith is equal to science in biology classrooms. It is not limited to non science being taught, but they have removed people from history text books because they don't like the politics of those good bye learning about Cesar Chavez, or even Martin Luther King Jr. Thanks for your important thoughts and your kind words.

Harry, I agree. I think I've always thought about the unfairness of it all even as a youngster in a Catholic elementary school, never a bastion of truth in education. And there is much truth in relying on someone who claims that they don't have all the answers. Thanks for your thoughts.

Miguela, if this makes a New Mexican happy, then that means the world to me. Thank you.

WTTS, it's no coincidence that I was reading your most recent piece while you were reading here and commenting. Your name came up again as I was explaining to Julie Delio, while we were at a photo shoot gawdawful early on Sunday morning why your voice ought to be more widely heard. You're at least equal to Tom Dodge on KERA, and I plan on sending Sam Baker a letter to tell him so. I won't quit on that until he tells me to stfu. Thank you dear friend, that you come here and read and understand and enjoy, and this from someone I admire so much for your gob-smacking ability to flat out write...well, it's an embarrassment of riches for me. xo
bbd. This is my last comment for who knows how long? Simple. Nobody.
I'm not good at multi-asking. Tasking. Nor focusing on all that I see/sense`
My deep
I no wish to be`
PaPa who multitask.
I no use a VA walker.
No fall as in aiming`
multitask too much.
I'll focus elsewhere.
I'll attend to garden.`

My enormous respect,
Old plain appreciation.
Keep up photographs.
Stop a`shutter speed.
Capture each moment.
Someone said a volume
of verse is like dropping
a flower-petal down the
Grand Canyon and then
wait for the echo. Yups.
Amish always say Yups.
They say`Whatever too.
Barry, thank you for another beautiful and educational photo essay! As noted in your text, new discoveries in the Americas continue to update the earliest times that humans were in this part of the world. I am also picturing in my mind what the world was like with the sea level 200' below the current level--a lot more beachfront property than the world has today!
I wish I could rate this twice, especially now that I know Barry is a heretic. :-)
Dover, to whom or what is it heretical?

Arthur, I know OS can be frustrating, but OS without our own poet laureate is a much lesser place. Thanks for your patience, I only hope it will get better and easier. You've had some technical challenges with this site that remain unresolved, so I understand some of the hardship and frustration, but your absence would be a big hole. Thanks for your lovely words as always, and your ability to parse to the truth.

John, ha! I have wondered on occasion what catastrophes will bring. One thing for certain, that change will always come regardless of what we want to happen to our own little beachfronts. Thanks again for your consistent support and careful reading, a pleasure as always to have you here.

Jeanette, thanks! I don't think it rises to an offense resolved by immolation, and your second unregistered rating is much appreciated. I appreciate you being here.
Thank you for the background stories and theories. Knowing the history adds so much to the journey and one's personal discoveries. As to who owns the land, you might as well say it belongs to the decendents of the various species that were standing on the spot when Pangea broke apart. Do vulcanologists have any idea as to when the Valles Caldera will erupt again, if ever? Cause that will be something that will mess with Texas.
This is beautifully written, and the accompanying photos are just spectacular.

It's easy, I think, to romanticize pre-Columbian Native American life. Their's was not an easy existence. Surely, it was subject to famine and war, much like every pre-industrial society has been through the ages. One wonders what The People thought of the Anasazi cities that were already abandoned ruins in 1500. What series of wars or ecological disasters were at the heart of the tragedy hinted at by those remains?

The apocalypse brought on by Europeans was definitely unparalleled, however. Stone-aged civilizations had no hope when suddenly confronted with iron, gunpowder, and small pox. And even if the Natives experienced war and hunger before the arrival of those violent men from across the sea, that fact does not diminish the peace and contentment that characterized The People's society far more often than not, nor does it acquit Europeans for the bloodshed they (we...our ancestors) delivered.
Meant to add with your discussion on running, my thoughts turned to Jim Thorpe, that great Native American who carried that tradition to gold in the Olympics!
The time you spent on this is time well spent. Well done, my friend.
Well done. The photographs are stunning too.
Stim, thanks so much for coming by. I haven't read anything about predictions for eruptions at Valles Caldera, though there have been science programs on TV about the Yellowstone super volcano and the consensus there, as you might expect, is that it's ready to blow at any time. The fact that Valles Caldera is not dead at all makes me think the same thing could happen there as well. There are hot springs, and there is even talk of developing geothermal energy if it can be done without ruining the environment or views too much.

Steve, it's true that there was a lot of strife and conflict in preColumbian America...the sources I used in doing research talked about how battles were fought over hunting and grazing in the Valles Caldera, so much so that there were frequent reconnaissance forays in the the Valles from various tribes to attack or ambush other tribe's scouting parties. And the Anasazi abandoning their cliff dwellings is not completely explained, though there is enough circumstantial evidence that it was ecological--an extended drought that decimated the the burgeoning farming life and that drove game to wetter areas--was much to blame. (The term Anasazi, which means Ancient Ones or Ancient Enemies in Navajo, is now out of favor in it's use to describe the Four Corners Pueblo peoples. They're generally referred to as Puebloans or Pueblo People now, and if a more specific reference is needed in talking about those that lived at Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde and the surrounding areas they use the time encompassing label of Basketmaker II Era.) And, yeah, Thorpe was iconographic for lots of people long before they made the movie about him.

Julie, thanks for making the sojourn back to OS to comment on this. A true friend.

DoaHSS, thanks for your comment and for noting the parts. It's nice to have you here.
beautiful and meditative. thank you for sharing this. :)
I love geology. When I hear geologist speak, the language they use, it sounds so passionate and I love imagining Earth as a ball of passion and drama. Combined with archeology and your resplendent pictures, I can't help but imagine the world that was.

You take all the time you need. I'd much rather see a post that is well thought out and full of intention than one that is impulsive and off the cuff.
You may have heard the Rio Grande is running black. So bad that Albuquerque is using only ground water. The Las Conchas fire radiated out from the Valles Caldera. Those might be "after" pictures which prove disturbing: fused silica and black sticks. Though, put in perspective, it's all part of the cycle you explored in this masterful piece. Less about the individual and more about eternity.
Barry, I was hoping you would point out that Curtis himself was accused of manipulating reality, and of misrepresenting his own photographic subjects!

In fact, the entire history of photography is one of the manipulation of reality in the service of art, even much so-called documentary photography. The very act of pointing a lens in one direction as opposed to another imposes one person's perception of reality on anyone who looks at the resulting photograph.
Water Jar Girl once saw a reflection that she would appear in another stream on a day far into the future. An electron and pixel stream. No wonder she wanted only to run. As water runs, you see and through your sight you use film and fingers well. So very well.
beautiful, wonderful, glorious, Barry. All of it. Loved this.
Barry, this was such a pleasure to curl up with. I chuckled when I reached the part, about mid-way through, when you thank your dear reader for bearing with you on the background while get ready to move on to the stunning photography. I thought, "No! I am with you! I was here every letter of the way!" Reading this piece felt like being taken gently by the hand and shown things I would have missed on my own, that I would have underappreciated, or forgotten too soon. I was comforted and gladdened by your analogy of the water cycle to our own journey through time (wonderful), and loved your little running girl. I mourn for her loss, and the loss of what she and her people could have been. Should have been. And the photos, well, you've delivered what I now expect every time: memorable, graceful, soul-drenching shots. The colors and shapes of the desert and its sky are breath-taking through your eyes and your words. Thank you for this gorgeous sight-seeing and story-telling journey.
Thanks Jeanette, with both you and your husband being terrific artists I'm not surprised that you understand.

mh, you know, I have to confess that I never made that leap, that she would appear in this stream. Thank you for that wonderful gift, an epiphany that frankly I'm surprised never made that synapse connection in my brain. But then that's what you are, a giver. I know you give things away all over OS, that you include me is a distinct pleasure.

Kim, I'm always glad to see you, and I'm glad you loved it. The affirmation from friends is a special reward, I'm in your debt.

Jodie, I'm immensely honored by your words. It's funny, but it's not the first time today that the thought of holding someone's hand has been in a conversation. I'm pretty sure that it would never happen IRL, but it's still a lovely thing to contemplate. No, it wasn't mhold, but now that thought is there as well. I think much like mh, you are a giver. Your gift here, which I'm sure you'll agree, is that you enjoyed both the words and the images, which is important to me. Thank you for that (and for the others whose comments indicated that as well). Thanks for the careful attention.
Wonderful post. Beautiful photography, science, nature, fiction, you have made me want to return to New Mexico. My consideration a few days ago now seems more profound. It is a beautiful place and the past there, well, it magnificently filled with majesty and drama. Amazing work.
barry, this was just luminous -- the philosophy, the photos, the story. i'm so happy you shared this. thank you. deep.
I've read this several times now. From the lost in thought on the bank, to the clarity in which you unfold the post, I'm in. And the girl, the water girl --she stands alone as her own full post. Exceptional! Rated.
Fantastic Barry, what a labor of love this was. So interesting and the pictures, as always, gorgeous.
This is a well-crafted post on many levels. Excellent work here. I love New Mexico. R.
Sheila, I'm not sure what your consideration from a few days ago means, but then I have an atrocious memory for those kind of details, so please forgive if I'm supposed to know. However, thanks so much for your lovely words and I'm happy that you stopped by.

MoC, thanks muchly. I like the word "luminous".

scupper, you might be procrastinating on something that needs doing if you read this several times...or maybe not. I like to read things back to back as long as it's not too long to get my head around something, but this is a longish post. The Water Jar Girl was indeed the genesis of this post, and everything else was built around that tiny narrative about her, so thank you so much for sussing that. And when you say "exceptional" --well, that means so much to me. Thank you.

Trilogy, so nice to have you here, and thanks for noticing the care that went into it and for your lovely compliment. xo

Jeff, delighted to have you here, thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate very much your kind words.
The landscape of this place, both natural and cultural, is truly wondrous. Your philosophically historical essay was fascinating and a perfect accompaniment to your photos. While reading I was reminded of my visit years ago to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, well off the beaten path in northwestern New Mexico, and the wonder with which I traipsed that stunning place. Your essay highlights the fact that our history on this continent is quite brief in comparison to those here long before us.
Beautiful words and pictures. Come to Taos next time you're in the neighborhood. We'll go (photo) shooting.
Barry, thanks so much for stopping by and for your nice compliments. I think I've never been to Chaco, though I've read a lot on it. Will have to make it a point to go by, thanks for adding to the to do list.

Susan, I love Taos. I have some nice shots found in my NM portfolio, found here. I especially like taking shots of San Francisco de Asis at Ranch de homage to O'Keeffe. I think I'll be doing a photo shoot in Albuquerque at the balloon fest there in October, and will probably be doing some work for my friend who has a store at the Plaza in SF...and then my favorite way to return to Texas is east from Taos through Eagle Pass to the Santa Fe if all that comes to pass, I'd love to do some wandering around Taos and photos with you. I'm sure I'd learn a lot of insider info. Thanks
New Mexico is on my bucket list. You have aptly punctuated the importance of this adventure. Beautifully done, Barry. As always.
Great story! I lived in Roswell for a very short time as a child. I remember the heat and the swamp cooler in our house. Went west for vacation a few years ago, and loved revisiting.
Thank you for the wondrous journey and beautiful, thought-provoking narration. I enjoyed every minute. I could lie on my back beneath that aspen and stare at the blue New Mexico sky for hours, perhaps imagining myself as that water molecule....
Cathy, let me know if/when you make it to New Mexico...I might have to make another journey there at the same time...

Bikergirl, thanks so much for stopping by. We had a swamp cooler too in SoCal when I was young...we enhanced it at times by putting some ice cubes in it...which was a bit easier since it was a window unit and not one of the ones on the roof.

Witchy, that's pretty much what I was doing...glad we think alike. Thanks for your kind words.
Beautiful photos! You really have a fine eye with a camera.
Lovely body of work thanks for sharing. Your images…WOW!


Gorgeous. The whole of "Like Water for Time" , the oneness of your self-portraits sans self (which made me think of Rumi, which I'll share with you when I track it down), your musings on seeing - then seeing what you've seen, time running and slowing down, the distillate of individual experience in the river of time....thank you for this gift. The images - impossible for me to fully articulate their evocations. Your images are always
I really enjoyed this journey through a remarkable place and time. It was beautiful as well as informative!
What can I say that has yet to be said? Lovely, poetic, rich and varied. Thoughtful and evocative. There, I don't think that specific combo's been used.

Wonderful stuff. As a writing and photographing soul, you speak my language. This was pretty amazing. Thanks for providing another very interesting perspective on time, history, geology, philosphy and self reflection all rolled into one.

regards and rated
I became totally immersed in this as I slowly read through it. I second all the many positive comments that have been made. I appreciate your contemplative, deliberate, and passionate energy that you put into your work (and this post). I thank you for taking the time to post this on OS and I look forward to reviewing it again later in the weekend. I love personal history of life before my time as it always makes me step back from my own day-to-day stuff and renew my perspective on my place in this ever-moving time-world we live in.
Yay!!!! Cover!!!!
A human being is essentially an eye;
the rest is merely flesh and skin:
whatever the eye has beheld, he is that.

(This is the rest of the verse, which I'm including for the river and the water jar girl):

A jar will submerge a mountain with its water
when the eye of the jar is open to the Sea.
When the interior of the jar has a channel to the Sea,
that jar will overwhelm a river as great as the Oxus....

- Rumi
This is an absolutely stunning piece. Gorgeous photos and words. Rated for beauty!
I really love traveling with you because your world is so expansively expressive and finely detailed. Bravo!