where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!
So to the 30 of you who showed up yesterday and had nothing new to read, I apologize. I have a legit excuse though. A ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card, if you will. But before we get to that, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
All the way back to Wednesday!
Aztec, NM was all of 15 minutes down the road from where I stayed Tuesday night. So I got to the Aztec Ruins National Monument bright and early Wednesday morning. I was a little disappointed because I thought it was something completely different. But I manned up and enjoyed my short time there. They had a laminated walking guide to take you through the ruins and it took all of 30 minutes to get through. But of course, I got some pictures. I look out for those of you who need a visual to get through a story. I really do!
More confusing, conflicting thoughts were running through my head as I went through the ruins, much like the Petrified Forest. First, I have no idea what to change on my camera so that the morning sun isn’t so bright in the pictures I take and completely wash out the images. That’s a bit of a bummer to realize later on when going through pictures. But second, it’s hard for me to envision a national monument to be “authentic” when there’s been so much changed about it. I understand that scientists and the park services want to protect their investments. But it’s also hard to really get a feel for the Aztec way of life when you’re walking through stone rooms with fluorescent lighting wired in them. A lot of the rooms had been backfilled too. That means that the rooms had been filled with dirt to prevent the walls from caving in and falling down. So the structure is preserved, but essentially buried at this point. So sure, somewhere in the ground, the walls are still intact, but is that much different, in terms of the public being able to learn about them, than if they had fallen down? In both scenarios, they aren’t there to be seen and understood.
And enough ranting!
Here are some shots from the outside of the structure.
The next two pictures were pretty impressive to me. The first is a picture of the ceiling inside one of the rooms. Apparently it’s still the original material from when the place was built (see! Original aspects can be left in place!). The second is a picture of an original mat used as a door in one of the openings. Very cool to see stuff that old and still around.
There were a bunch of kivas in the structure too. But some of them were backfilled. And then a large ceremonial room in the center of the building. It was cool to see, but disappointing to know it was completely rebuilt. Even the inside was painted to be similar to what an original one would look like… except it was modern paint instead of something that could have been used during the time it was built.
Aside from it sounding like I hated the place and am completely trashing it (I’m not!), it was really informative. I was also racing a classroom of little kids on a field trip through the place, so it was fun to see the kids bouncing all over. I laughed to myself, thinking they’re looking at the place like it’s a big playground instead of being able to appreciate the significance. Good idea in theory by the teachers. Not so much a practical one though! It made me think back to all of the field trips I took in school and how wasted some of the places were on me, given my appreciation for this kind of thing now. The things you learn in small towns across the United States when you’re wandering around the country at 28 years old!
The rest of the day was spent driving. I went through Albuquerque, NM and all the way to Amarillo, TX. It was probably the longest day I’ve spent on the road this entire trip. Bing (since Google lies) says it’s 466 miles. But oddly enough, it was a very good day. I got some good use out of my iPod and bounced around in my truck like a fool for all of the other drivers to laugh at. All in good fun!
Thursday, I got up early and bypassed on taking the time to write a blog entry. The reason for putting in such a long day on Wednesday was because I wanted to make Oklahoma City (more specifically Edmond) by lunch time on Thursday. My grandmother’s (Hi MomMom!) sister lives there and I had promised everyone involved a lunch date whenever my travels took me through Oklahoma. So I was up and out of Amarillo by 9 AM, hit the road, and pulled into Edmond by 1 PM. Visits were had, stories were told, and lunch was devoured. Everything was great! We said our goodbyes that evening and I crashed an Edmond hotel by 6:30 PM or so.
There’s nothing large or important on the docket for today. Just hitting the road north. Enjoy your Friday!