"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Equinox snow

Yesterday was in the 60s. Today is the equinox, though we can't tell it. I had to look at our primitive calendar on the wall to make sure it was equinox. Tomorrow?

I keep thinking of the Anasazi in their stone houses in Chaco canyon or their cliff dwellings at Canyon de Chelly or Mesa Verde 1,000 years ago in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. They lived by the sun and measured their calendars precisely by it. What happened when their equinoxes were days like this? They'd have to wait an entire year for another chance to precisely note the passage of time, the time for religious rituals, and all else. The sun dagger stone clock atop Fajada Butte in Chaco the showed the exact equinoxes and solstices, as did windows marking sunrise and sunset in the great kiva and elsewhere, but it took years to mark and record. On days like this, they'd be huddled around small fires inside their stone-walled, smoke-filled homes with the temperature in the 20s or below.

I think there is a story here, of the main priest or shaman in charge of trying to build those stone clocks. And first decided they  needed those clocks?

I wonder if a thousand years from now someone will wonder similar things about us and our "civilized" practices.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought about what happened if they missed the big day. Surely they could approximate from the before and after.

    Or more likely since they were people. The head priest just BS'd his way through it like some of our "holy" men do now. I'll have to think about it.

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