These are not places you hurry to . . .
Some unseen, unheard unspoken sense
Slows you down.
Often there is a small stream, a bare trickle,
As though it has exhausted itself from its main task of
Carving these canyons, smoothing the rock walls
To prepare them as palettes for the ancients.
You stand, finally, before the marks,
In some cases, among them.
Your eyes move from one to another taking in each feature.
You begin to realize that you are standing, reading, observing
As our ancestors have done for hundreds,
Perhaps thousands of years.
The sand or stone beneath your feet
Was once beneath theirs as they stood here,
Before the settlement of the west, before Columbus,
Perhaps before Christ gathered his flock . . .
These marks have stood;
Recounting past adventures, hunts now immortal,
Warnings to enemies, welcomes to friends
As you slow down
Feel the pace of the world slowing,
Your mind asks where they have gone,
These people who built castles among the cliffs,
Left their marks for millennia to see.
Before the rise of Rome,
The thousand years of Roman civilization and after
These people were here; now they, too, are gone.
You leave these places
More quietly than you came.
Leaving only footprints,
Taking with you only these questions.
Photographs by Gail Anderson; Words by Robert Anderson