A four story ancient adobe tower nestles in the alcove below the rim I am standing in Mesa Verde National Park. Constructed in the mid 1200s, Square Tower House was the tallest man-made structure in the United States of America until mid 1800s!
From the edge of the slickrock, looking down at the Anasazi village, I feel like I am looking down into a petri dish through a microscope. The ruins don’t look like real buildings. They look like a scaled down display model, that architects create as prototypes, ones that are found in in museums halls. Time and weather has not crumpled their roofs to dust. Rather, the roofs were never built, gaping holes left open intentionally to peer inside.
How I wish I were standing here in the middle of the 12th century, somehow magically, retaining my gleaming air-conditioned automobile parked a few feet away, and my phone. (Who would I call though?)
Then, as the sun peeps over the horizon, and the sun rays slowly light up the valley, I would hear the unmistakable shuffling of feet. A door creaks open and a head pops out. A turkey squawks somewhere in the brush. Pungent white smoke escapes from a trapezoidal window, the dry pinyon crackling as it catches fire. A child wails, quickly muted against his mother’s teat.
Then, I would be the only non-ancestral pueblon to have seen an Anasazi village slowly coming to life.