The Flow Increases


March 16, 2023- The usually placid river overflowed its banks, while I was up in New Mexico for a day or so. A large number of people, many living in RVs, fled their park, with some ending up in a shopping center lot and others settling into the parking lot of the Red Cross shelter, at a local school. The shelter itself was otherwise quiet, with a couple who had left their riverside home and three volunteers, quietly monitoring graphs that showed the progress of the flood’s subsidence occupying the small gymnasium. Thus it was, as I stopped briefly in Camp Verde, on my way back to Home Base.

Santa Fe, where I spent yesterday evening, and part of this morning, was alternately experiencing cold drizzle and light snow. Friends who “mind the fort” at King’s Court Motel, Pantry Restaurant and Henry & The Fish Cafe were nonplussed and I got my usual warm greetings. The two eateries have fare that fits nicely into my weight reduction plan. The lodging is quiet, comfortable and central to anything I might want to do in The City Different. I could always opt for the International Hostel, down the road, but it is seemingly always full. Sometimes, quieter is just better.

The road back was also alternately rainy and snowy, until I got to the turn-off that brought me down hill, from the Mogollon Rim to Camp Verde. I saw flowing water in river and stream beds that are normally dry sand. Much of this is a positive development, with the price being that nearby residents take the risk of maybe losing some personal items and of having to up and leave for a few days. It can be worse, of course. There are several places on the California coast where the land has given way. I saw a photo of an apartment complex in Oceanside, where the swimming pool is now at the edge of a collapsed cliff. There actually appeared to be people in the pool

I thought a fair amount, about how places where I may find myself once or twice a year, or sometimes once every two years, ever seem just as much like home as this Home Base of mine. Time and space don’t really seem all that much of a burden. In each case, it seems like things that happened decades ago seem like yesterday and across the country, or the ocean, seems like next door.

In many respects, the flow of time is similar to that of water. It’s productive use can yield similar nourishing results. Both can be squandered; both can evaporate. Both can also be destructive. Sometimes, neither is missed until it’s gone. I do know that we have what we need, of each, and how it’s used is up to the individual.

No Aztecs, Many Aztecans


March 15, 2023, Santa Fe- The day featured what is almost typical of my visits outside Home Base, this winter: A light, cold, but not overbearing rain. So, I took my umbrella, donned my rain and shine hat (with its flap and wide circular brim, to aid in protection from the two elements) and set my phone to the QC-enabled audio guide, going around Aztec Ruins National Monument. A ranger spoke of Earl Morris, the driving force behind the excavation of the western sector of the ancient community and the original occupant of the house which now serves as the Monument’s headquarters and museum. She also noted that the name of the place came from a Spanish stereotyping of all Mesoamerican First Nations into a single ethnicity: The Aztecs. The Tewas, Tiguas, Towas, Keresans and Hopi who settled Chaco, Mesa Verde and Aztec, before dispersing to their present home areas, had their trade connections with the people of Mexico, but they were entirely separate, culturally and linguistically, from the nation that dominated much of that ancient land. Another focus of the ranger’s talk was the system of roads that traversed outward from Aztec, as well as from Chaco. With no vehicles or beasts of burden, the people likely had to carry cut wooden beams, building stones and other materials on foot, using hauling mechanisms and walking two or three abreast, for almost unimaginable distances, in order to build the communities.

Here are some scenes of this remarkable complex, the pride of modern Aztecans.

Great House, Aztec West ruins
Southernmost of three Great Kivas, Aztec West ruins
Connected apartments, Aztec West ruins
Interior, re-constructed Great Kiva. Aztec West
Central Great Kiva, Aztec West ruins
Doors connecting apartments, Aztec West ruins. These were created because of pot hunting by thieves, in the early Twentieth Century.
View of original doors connecting apartments, Aztec West ruins
Interior doors, Aztec West ruins

The ruins on the eastern and northern sectors of the complex have yet to be excavated to the point they may be safely shared with the public. The ranger also noted that there may well be sites buried under the modern town of Aztec. These could very well be uncovered at some future time, as so many sites have been, around the world.

The rain only intensified, after I left this UNESCO World Heritage Site, so postponed until a later time are Salmon Ruin and other sites in Bloomfield, southeast of Aztec-and a hike up Kitchen Mesa, at Ghost Ranch.

I am holed up for the night at King’s Court, a small, cozy place (and my favourite in this town) not far from either downtown Santa Fe or from Pantry Restaurant, where three people I love dearly provided me with a steaming bowl of Green Chili Stew-a perfect, healthful meal for this chilly evening.