The Petrified Forest is a rock solid door into the incredible past of Planet Earth. Clearly, my mind has never been as focused on the ancient history of humans and the movements of air, rock, and water, which have given shape to a world today, extremely different in body mass, along with the slow, steady change of living organisms that began several billion years ago.
However, to shorten our reflections back a mere 225 million years ago, when the climate of New Mexico and Arizona was tropical. In this most lush environment consisting of multiple forms and sizes of fauna and flora, they were buried under layers of sediment. Through millions of years, the movement of air, water, and rock cut into the layers of sediment where elements, such as iron oxide and magnesium oxide, brought forth shades of reds, oranges, and purples. Carbon created shades of grey. Thus, in the ongoing process of evolution, we, today, have a landscape that is so majestic, so spellbinding, so magical and mystical, no paintings, no photographs are capable of capturing the totally spiritual power by which a human being may be grasped.
And this is where history of humanity enters the scene. Perhaps for almost 10,000 years, homo sapiens have walked the land which is now known as North America. Clearly, those who lived here for the longest period of time have left and continue to participate in what we now call ‘The Arts.’ The gathering of tribes the first week in August at the ceremonial “natural cathedral” in Gallup, New Mexico, I have previously described (read about that here). However, these ceremonials appear to have been influenced by the need for something bigger and better, such as gigantic hot air balloons. But, the eternal sounds of drumming ring as if carrying a message through the ages.
Watching the skies during this “monsoon season” has been transforming for my thinking and feeling. I have driven hundreds of miles across the open spaces of The West, and if it was only the skies with bright blue above, combined with many types of clouds, including the most fascinating displays of enormous thunderheads arising from the horizon, and the development of thunder and lightening… I would not bored, but rather fascinated and excited by watching a form of evolution taking place in a single day.
And to stand amidst the great trees, petrified for millions of years, symbolically and literally blows my mind.