On Tuesday we drove from Albuquerque to Mesa Verde National Park, with a stop at Aztec National Monument and a late lunch in Durango. We spent a short time walking up Durango's Historic Main Street, peeking into a few of the shops, including a terrific Art and Antique Shop, featuring lots of local artists.
We arrived at Far View Lodge just in time for an impressive thunderstorm.
Our room is simple but nicely appointed. There is really a "far view" -- every room has a panoramic view of some of the mesas, and a little balcony where you can sit and have a glass of wine, if you like. There is a clock radio, but no television, no internet, and very little cell phone coverage, as far as we can discern.
I think that's a good thing.
There is free internet in the lodge, so you can connect up if you really can't stand being unconnected.
One Wednesday we got up early and got some good advice on where we could go "on our own." We ended up at Spruce Tree House, so early that we were just about the only people there. A little later we joined a small group for a ranger-led tour of Long House at the Weatherill Mesa. If Mesa Verde is a little off the beaten path, Weatherill Mesa is even more so, down many winding roads with no signs that say "keep going! you are almost there!."
It was worth it, in the end.
Today we took an all-morning tour called the "700 Year Tour", because it takes you along 700 years of Puebloan Indian History, culminating in a tour of the most famous and spectacular Cliff Palace.
Both yesterday and today, we found ourselves doing trails and climbs we had thought we couldn't do. I guess we both have more courage than we think, in a pinch.
But after this morning, I lost an entire afternoon trying to get rid of a persistent headache. Even had one of the National Park medics up to see me. We didn't figure out exactly what hit me, but verified that it was not hydration related (though I found out you can actually drink too much water; he had a word for that which I don't remember.)
I can't help thinking about water, when I'm here. The thunderstorm, the droughts they experienced those hundreds of years ago, the drought they are experiencing now.
Down at the most basic level of human life, there is water. And there, at the most basic level of human life and need, there God meets us most of all.