The Wolfman petroglyph panel near Bluff, Utah
The Anasazi, the ancient ones, left us clues – albeit unwittingly.
We know they lived in tiny adobe houses built in cavernous alcoves in the cliff of the Colorado plateau. We know they carefully stocked corn in high up recesses and how their women painstakingly ground it on stone metates all day long. We know they were accomplished rock climbers and how they could fearlessly scale vertical slickrock, often ferrying big loads to their village. Through the astronomical alignment of their buildings, we know they meticulously observed the sky and understood phenomena like lunar standstill that span decades. The careful mummification of their dead and the wonderful offerings of yucca baskets and glazed pots, especially for their young ones, tells how who they loved and how much. The trail of pottery shards and the mix of styles and colors tell us where they travelled and who they traded with and what they yearned for. Finally we know how deadly they eventually turned, killing and burning (and sometimes eating) their own.
But what went through their minds? Which language did they think in? Could they verbally articulate their emotions?
In a unnamed canyon near Bluff is a petroglyph panel. The central figure of the panel is called the wolf-man, so named as a paw print of a wolf has been chipped into the rock face near his foot in ancient times. His thighs and calves are depicted muscled and contoured. And on those powerful feet, do I notice a bit of foreshortening? The artist who rendered this image must have been the Anasazi Michelangelo. He must have spent countless hours thinking about what he was going to draw, even practiced in the dust nearby. He knew exactly the effect the image would have on his viewer.
That intention, is probably the closest I can get to an Anasazi living thought.