I'm one of those people who gets two or three steps up a ladder and freezes. This past weekend, I was determined not to embarrass either my husband or myself. I was also determined not to die.
We took a little road trip to southwestern Colorado to visit Mesa Verde. I hadn't been since I was a kid. And it sounded like fun.
Did I say fun?
This guided tour is called Balcony House (there are others), and involves some climbing on ladders (this one is 32 feet--you can click to enlarge), some climbing on stone steps carved into the cliff (even scarier), and some tunneling through places that are only 18" wide and about 24" high. Balcony House showed the risks these people lived with more than anything else we could have experienced.
Skeletal remains indicate that men lived for 30-35 years, women 20-25. Most women died in childbirth. I wondered what would make a people, hoping for better lives for themselves and their children, live in a place where death waited literally right outside their door.
I also wondered about love and laughter and storytelling.
Did they gather around a fire, share some corn and tell stories about their great exploits, drawing out the suspense until no one could stand it? Or a love story about their ancestors?
The owner of the B&B where we stayed (Flagstone Meadows Ranch, if you're interested) is half English and half Navajo. He has a sculpture for sale of an elder surrounded by small children. In the Navajo tradition, the first snowfall of the season is one to celebrate with grandparents. They snuggle together and Grandma or Grandpa regale the little ones with stories.
What a wonderful idea.
I didn't get much reading done, so To The Power of Three is still on my nightstand.
It's all better with friends.