March 19, 2023- I stood atop a small hill, this afternoon. It was the site of a settlement of the Huhugam (also spelled Hohokam) people, at what was the northern edge of their settlement. Salida Gulch is an area where one may take any one of five trails, most of which go up and down fairly steep hills. I went up and down three of them, as a cardiopulmonary exercise-but I digress.
The promontory has a clear 360-degree view, and so was very likely an outpost for sentinels, who kept watch on behalf of villagers living in the creek valleys below. If there were rivals, adversaries or even friendly visitors on the move, over Mingus Mountain to the east, the Bradshaw Mountains to the south, the Sierra Prieta and Granite Mountain to the west, or the forested valley of Granite Creek, to the north, these would easily have been spotted.
The sentries made homes here, and the excavation and retrieval of household implements, when this site was first uncovered by archaeologists, early in the Twentieth Century, indicates that their families stayed in the area as well-contrasting their security system with those more conventional to our own time, in which security patrols live apart from their loved ones, whilst on duty. Recalling that the ancient Aboriginal People had no wheeled vehicles or large draft animals, as far we presently know, the relative proximity of families to sentry sites is quite logical.
The physical farsightedness of these ancestors of the Yavapai, and other central Arizona nations, reminds me of the power that each of us, in our time, can exercise by social and spiritual foresight. Seeing looming challenges, and moving to face these, is needful of 360-degree vision, as well as the presence and support of those closest to us. These features take time, energy and attention-with the requisite maintenance of health and well-being, both physical and emotional.
The larger challenges of life on Earth are not overcome by insistence on one’s own way, by hiding from the world or by seeing oneself and those immediately tied to self as somehow separate from all others. Only through an inherent sense of unity may things like climate change, the attainment of true social justice and the rebuilding of society in such a manner that neither the extremes of wealth and poverty nor the dominance of nations by one self-appointed entity or small claque be faced and the inherent strengths and goodness of humanity be brought to the fore. All people and points of view must be heard, considered, and the most useful ideas brought into the mix.
These thoughts occurred to me, in that time of solitude, atop the small hill, above Salida Gulch.