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Mr. Ed

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  A New Mexico Tale
by Mr. Ed
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Mr. Ed
•  If Only Man Was Dog's Best Friend
•  Canis Latrans
•  Over Five Thousand A Day Are Dying
•  Ode To An Underdog
•  Snowy Morning Walk
           >> View all 1,502





-->

 


One thousand years ago today


Ancient astronomers watched the sun dagger move into place


They knew that it marked the arrival of the Summer Solstice


This was the ancient wisdom of the mysterious Anasazi race


 


In a remote section of northwestern New Mexico's desert, ancient Chaco Canyon contains some truly fascinating ancient treasures.


 


Pueblo Bonita, the ruins of the largest pre-Columbian city in the United States, with nine great houses, the largest standing 5 stories high and containing 650 dwelling rooms and 37 ceremonial kiva rooms, along with some 3,500 smaller structures in and around the canyon, may have housed up to 10,000 ancient residents at one time.


 


Chaco Canyon was also the hub of a network of ancient roads that radiated in all directions for hundreds of miles, suggesting that this site may have been an important destination for pilgrims from other ancient settlements spread throughout the entire Southwest who came here for religious ceremonies, for trade purposes, or to study astronomy.


 


Shown in the picture above on the lower right is the now famous ‘Sun Dagger’ by which these ancient people were able to precisely read and mark the harvesting and planting seasons, thus enabling them to very accurately record time's passage.


 


This ancient Sun Dagger, located near the top of 480 foot tall Fajada Butte, revealed the changing of the seasons to ancient astronomers a thousand years ago.


 


And its remarkable secret was lost around 1250 AD, when these mysterious and extremely knowledgeable people called the Anasazi (The Ancient Ones) abandoned Chaco Canyon entirely for some unknown reason.


 


Then in 1979, artist Anna Sofaer who was studying petroglyph art on Fajada Butte noticed that a slender beam of sunlight passing between two rock monoliths precisely bisected the center of a mysterious spiral-shaped petroglyph symbol on the exact day of the summer solstice.


 


Returning time and time again to continue her astounding observations, she found that at the winter solstice this same ancient Sun Dagger sliced through a smaller petroglyph nearby, and that two parallel daggers bracketed the larger spiral at the spring and fall equinoxes.


 


Even more amazing was the discovery that the larger spiral's shape also precisely tracked the 18-1/2-year lunar cycle--an astronomical feat previously unheard of among North American Indians.


 


This mesmerizing discovery tended to confirm the belief that Chaco Canyon was located at the end of an ancient Toltec or Mayan trade route, evidenced by such treasures found nearby as mother-of-pearl from the sea and macaw bird feathers from the Central American jungle. The more these seemingly simple rock carvings were studied, the more mysterious and complex they soon became.


 


Fajada Butte stands like an ancient Egyptian pyramid high above Chaco Canyon's desert floor. For a very long time after it was abandoned by these Anasazi, its only visitors were probably rattlesnakes and scorpions.


 


That all abruptly changed when a PBS documentary about this newly discovered ancient Sun Dagger phenomenon, narrated by actor Robert Redford, suddenly captured everyone’s attention and imagination.


 


In 1982, with tourists flocking to Chaco Canyon in now record numbers, the National Park Service declared Fajada Butte and its surrounding areas off limits to all but scientific researchers.


 


And there was now no shortage of these scientists eagerly trudging up the butte's steep narrow trail with their heavy equipment. More people began climbing Fajada Butte than ever before.


 


Formerly faint, this ancient Anasazi trail up the side of the butte now wore ever deeper, and disaster struck in 1989 when erosion of the loose clay and gravel around the base of the ancient stone monoliths caused them to slip.


 


As the gigantic slabs slowly inched down the steep slope of the butte, this phenomenal ancient astronomical tool was lost – forever.


 


Having marked the passage of the earth’s seasons, and even more remarkably, the lunar cycle, for countless centuries; it lasted only a few years after its re-discovery.


 


I’ve journeyed to Chaco Canyon twice, and these truly were journeys back through time.


And the PBS documentary about The Sun Dagger is truly fascinating.


 


 


 


 

 


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Reviewed by Tracey O' 7/10/2005
Wow Ed, This one is really neat. I like this one. They are so smart with out all the fancy silly gadgets we modern people Have to have I'll have to find that documentery on this and watch and see this place thanks so much Ed.xoox42
Spacey
Reviewed by Jackie (Micke) Jinks 6/27/2005
The Anasazi are the most fascinating of our ancient Native Americans...to me. I watched the (repeated just a few months ago) PBS documentary and found it even more interesting the second-time around. You did great in telling of these wonderful people, Ed!!

Micke
Reviewed by Susan Barton (Reader) 6/23/2005
Excellent knowledge - it makes me wonder who will be looking back at us and wondering what cataclism (man made perhaps?) destroyed our civilization.
Reviewed by L. Figgins 6/22/2005
Truly sad that a peice of history disappeared. Utterly fascinating, Ed! Didn't know about the trade routes. Thanks again...
Reviewed by Andy Turner (Reader) 6/22/2005
I think Kates dancing around stonehenge, in her druid gear..

Amazing how the world over civilisations had the same kinda reactions, and beliefs..
Must look up some of this Indian history, when I go to wappingers falls on saturday. You've awoken my curiosity..
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 6/21/2005
Ed,

Ever the informer, ever the teacher--I enjoy your lessons. :) Thank you, Poet and friend for your instruction through verse!

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla. :)
Reviewed by Gwen Dickerson 6/21/2005
Wonderful, informative write! Thank you!
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 6/21/2005
Thank you for another walk in a different world!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/21/2005
excellent, excellent...what more can i say about your brilliant writing???? you are terrific, friend; and i bow to your talents! very well done; bravo!!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 6/21/2005
Fascinating write Ed!

Peace, Carole
Reviewed by Nordette Adams 6/21/2005
Your work has this way of making me want to hit the road, Ed. But I have no money. :-) Love that music in the background.
Reviewed by George Carroll 6/21/2005
What will we leave behind for future generations in the eons of times. Very little I'm afraid. Wonderful stories and the mysteries they envoke.
Reviewed by E T Waldron 6/21/2005
Ed another fabulous sharing! Though I remember watching something about the Anasazi and some of what you say, it is only vague, and I never knew the whole story. Thank you for sharing this. How sad that man will never learn to go gentle into the past. It is so terrible to think that something so precious as that place that marked the sun and seasons, etc was lost. It can never be replaced. Even more sad ,what made all these great peoples disappear.Fine work Ed!

Eileen
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 6/21/2005
Very interesting and a shame that man continues to distory anything that catches his attention. May the other treasures not be noticed.
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 6/21/2005
well done
Reviewed by Ed Matlack 6/21/2005
I knew all of that...LOL! Still its cool to read a differing way of explaining it...thanks, Ed

Books by
Mr. Ed



My Dog Is My Hero

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Where The Redwing Sings

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Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs, My Life with Animals

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Through Katrina's Eyes, Poems from an Animal Rescuer's Soul

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Cemetery Island

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Gold River Canyon

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Mystery of Madera Canyon

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