I spent several hours in the desert yesterday, looking at ancient Anasazi petroglyphs. Cliff faces and sheets of rock, giant blackboards filled with creation myths, tales of the human experience, journeys travelled and to be taken. Very few people understand the stories. Some that do are hesitant to share the tales, their history, with outsiders. Perhaps they think new people surely can’t, or simply won’t, understand.
Which, of course, makes me think of the fosterwee. Will this little to medium sized child be a stony edifice wrapped in mystery? What tales are there to be told that I will not possibly be able to fathom? Will this child have a sense of history and place? Am I up to continuing that story for them? Will I be able to relate to their cultural background, the life that they have been living? I often doubt that I will and that is scary for me. And I think how utterly terrifying it will be for the wee one.
My tour guide yesterday was a really old white guy. And I have to admit, that I don’t often encounter elderly, caucasian, American men that have a true appreciation for another culture. And by that I mean a real craving to understand another other people (to understand – beginning in the past and moving through the present). A desire to comprehend coupled with the deep, personal insight that it is not enough to ask simply the questions of others. That won’t get you the real answers. It is not the right way to build the bridge, to learn the lesson. You really, really have to try to figure it out on your own. You have to ask the smart and thoughtful questions, you have to retain your sense of humor, you can’t be resentful and impatient when the knowledge you seek is held back and you can never let go of the quest to know more. Imagine a lifetime spent on such a quest – extraordinary, in so many ways.
One of the most interesting things that I learned yesterday was that these ancient ones were really clever in their storytelling. Seems as though they wanted even their own people to take a little time to figure things out. Apparently, many of the stories told on the face of rock only truly unfold if you follow the path of the sun. It is not always a right to left thing or an up and down thing. And it is different on every rock.
But guess what? A ray of morning sun will energize, will ignite, will bring to life the first figure at the start of the tale. And you just have to follow the light from there. You watch for shadows and pay close attention to what they might tell you. It will take all day, you might have to wait until the solstice to find out everything that you want to know but apparently, when the time is right, it will all be there, laid out and ready for you to read.
So, I guess the lesson here is to start in the morning, move slowly through the day, through the month, through the year and take the time to discover all the things that I am supposed to know.
And in case it wasn’t obvious already, Andrew is the logical, rational one in this duo and I am kind of a big old sap.