Mesa Verde

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If I’m honest, travel blogging just doesn’t appeal to me at this season of my life. All the same, I have these photos, sitting on my desktop asking to be shared, so here’s a quick recap.

On the way home from Sedona, we decided it would be fun to take the long way and stop at some National Parks we had never made time for. First up, Mesa Verde.

The night we arrived, the sites were closed, so we spent the evening driving around and viewing them from afar, before camping in the park campground. The next morning we lined up for tours of one of the main attractions.

Our tour was  given by a particularly thoughtful member of the Navajo tribe, giving us a hard reminder that history is messy, that any story that sums up the Native American narrative as an easy one, with peace, farming, and drought is irresponsible and disrespectful of the rich history of the people that once lived here.

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As he walked us through the ruins, speculating on the rich history and on the religious rituals of the people who once lived here, I felt a little rebuked. I thought of all those times that Ben and I have lamented the dearth of history near our hometown.

It isn’t that there is no history near us, it is that white people have only lived in the wide west for a couple of centuries, but that’s doesn’t even begin to cover the scope of human history in the land we call home. We’ve been blinded by our own privilege. I’m struck at the concerning way we view what kinds of history ¬†matter based on the people that we consider to be “ours” and repentant, hopeful that we will be more willing to see and hear stories that seem like a curious “other” to my limited worldview.

As always, with ancient sites, our trip to Mesa Verde reminded me how small I am in the scope of human history. It reminded me how much understanding history can help us avoid repeating it. It reminded me of the power of stories that tie the human race together regardless of our differences.

 

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