I didn’t know leaves could wear so many shades of green. There is no memory of such greens on any trees from my past experience.
I also don’t remember when I first learned about Mesa Verde. I know it was sometime in childhood, sometime when I spent my days in classrooms with black chalkboards and long banners showing perfect cursive penmanship (or today, penpersonship) atop the bulletin boards.
I looked at pictures of the cliff dwellings in Colorado and wished, hoped, prayed I would someday go there even though the thought of climbing down ladders to access the ruins frightened me even then.
It may have been a text book that turned me on to Mesa Verde. I found one on Amazon published in 1961 by a gentleman named Don Watson. Perhaps that was my trigger. The Pueblo Indians are a long way from the New Jersey Leni Lenape our teachers faithfully taught us in Linden Avenue School. Maybe it was that my mother was born in Colorado. The kinship I felt came from my mother’s soul-bloodline so I felt to the Puebloan Natives of the 13th or so century.
The today Julie might say, “These dwellings were being built when Rumi was writing his poetry. There is the connection!”
Fact is, I don’t know and I will most likely never know but I may continue to surmise.
I do remember standing on the edge of the canyon and looking down, not too terribly far, and seeing dwellings. It was just a week ago yet it seems like it was forever ago and just a split second past.
There they were: just like the photos I remember as a little girl.
The path we chose was a paved one. It was also wheelchair friendly, something I didn’t know they had in Mesa Verde. I was still holding the belief I would need to hoist myself up and down a scary ladder across a grueling precipice.
None of that was true.
Well, none of that was true in this particular spot at Mesa Verde.
Samuel and Katherine walked ahead of me on the path. Emma gave up before she started. I slowly, ploddingly in places, made the trip down the path. I preferred it this way. I liked feeling as if the dwellings and the people who once lived in them were wooing me with the slight breeze and the mottled pathway, shaded by leaves I didn’t know in many shades of green.
Everything green is unique here, I discovered. It isn’t a flat green or a sort of brownish, faded, choking “I need water!” green I see so often in my Bakersfield landscape. The green on these trees seemed to celebrate the fact I was finally showing up. I was finally listening to the invitation they extended to that little girl at Linden Avenue School so many years in the past.
One irony of this dream finally come true is I didn’t even know consciously it was waiting.
When we planned to visit Cortez, Colorado on our trip the sole reason was its proximity to the border. I wanted to give my children the experience of as many states as possible. They’ve covered lots of ground in the past from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota to California, Arizona and Nevada. We needed to fill out the rest of the west with Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.
I didn’t realize I would be dipping into a romance long dormant not unlike the dormant romances I have had in the past with theater and poetry and photography.
I didn’t know leaves could wear so many shades of green before that warm day last week when I stood in front of these centuries old Pueblo homes. I didn’t know until I looked outside the kiva room from buildings some people call ruins but I prefer to call “Places Left Behind.”
There are so many things to say about this and I plan to gently unfold the almost here and now memories over the next several days.
When I was traveling I kept saying, “I can’t wordify this! I can’t write this” and until I sat down today to write, I made that belief into truth.
I didn’t even dare bring my notebook with me. It wasn’t until later in our journey that I started jotting notes in my cell phone. It all felt like too much, too grand an extension of the reality I thought I knew.
Like I made the dream I had forgotten into truth, I will begin to translate my experience here, now, for you.
Follow me on Twitter: @juliejordanscot
© 2012 by Julie Jordan Scott
Julie Jordan Scott has been a Life & Creativity Coach, Writer, Facilitator and Teleclass Leader since 1999. She is also an award winning Actor, Director, Artist and Mother Extraordinaire. She was twice the StoryTelling Slam champion in Bakersfield. She facilitates Virtual Writing Camp which will begin the 2012/13 season soon!
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