"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Chaco Solstice - 4 days 'til Christmas

Chaco at solstice, 5 x 7 watercolor
The stars are aligned, including ours. The moon is full. 
In the Anasazi "ruins" of the Southwest, including Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, all the buildings were aligned vertically and with the points of the compass.
They knew because they watched and studied and measured the heavens 1,000 years ago.
We have separated ourselves from the cosmos, trading the milky way for neon lights so we can barely see the stars in a world devoid of dark.
Chaco's pictograph of the 1054 nova
The star we read about this season? Probably a nova, an exploding star, such as the one they observed and painted by a forgotten artist on their sandstone cliffs in 1054.
These are not  "ruins" either... the spirits of the people still inhabit them. If you've ever camped there, you know, because they harnessed the power of the universe to build and thrive.
If you've camped there, you can almost feel the earth move beneath your feet and watch time as it passes, shadows sliding up and down the cliffs, and the stars wheeling overhead.
They measured and recorded all of this by observation over the years, setting up a rock calendar of the sun and moon's movement atop Fajada Butte.
They would have know what today was, its significance, just as other "primitive" peoples did even long before the Anasazi.
Of course we're too "civilized" for that, barely noticing the changes, other than it's the shortest day of the year.
No wonder the magic of solstice is gone, and Christmas merely a worship of materialism, rather than the eternal.

See also:
Solstice Dawn
When the Sun Stands Still

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