It is early morning, November 11, 1980 and the visitors’ center is not open. I sit in my car waiting. And watching. Watching the meditation unfold in front of me here on my first pilgrimage to Chaco Canyon National Monument. A Dine (Navajo) man is slowly, methodically and silently sweeping the entrance sidewalk, starting from one side and carefully making his way to the other. Not with a store bought broom, but rather a hand made broom from brush and plants gathered from the area. Unlike me, the man is not in a hurry. He is bent over somewhat, intent on each sweep of the broom, each passage down the sidewalk like a reverent monk at a Buddhist temple. There is no one else but us around. We two and the early morning birds, unseen insects and other life forms waking up to the day. Deep breath, palms together, deep bow as Chaco greets me, conveying a message that I will carry with me through the decades of visits I will make through to the present.
For over 2,000 years Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the Southwest in the U.S. Chaco Canyon, a major center of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity. It is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and distinctive architecture. It appears that it was both solar and lunar cycles were integrated into the architecture http://www.solsticeproject.org/lunarmark.htm Huge building sites were in alignment with each other over many miles and great straight roads radiated out from the center of the Canyon to distant outlying settlements. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeoastronomy#Chaco_Canyon
Some who visit the Canyon feel an ominous energy. Over the 30 years of personal visits and leading Earth Walks groups https://earthwalks.org/ here, my experiences have been only positive and transformational. The indigenous Native American people who guide our groups revere Chaco as their ancestral home and approach the Canyon appropriately. I have chosen to do so as well. Come join Earth Walks as we travel to Chaco in May 2017. May you Walk in Beauty!–Doug Conwell, Earth Walks Director