When I was ten, my family and I camped one summer all the way from New Hampshire to Wyoming to Mexico. One of the places we visited was Mesa Verde, in Colorado. In the visitors’ center, we saw an ancient urn found in a cave (as I remember), filled with corn seed. The archeologists planted some of the precious seed; the kernels germinated. The seedlings grew and thrived.
A few summers ago, I returned to Mesa Verde as a grown woman with my family, and that urn was still there, in that same visitors’ center. For a few days, we stayed with friends, who took us to one of the many once-upon-a-time villages, which had been excavated and filled back in, and now seemed traversed mainly by wildlife. We walked among the remains of walls and abode houses, theorizing where these families might have planted crops, how they harbored water, what kind of lives they might have lived.
Water and maize: clearly the narrative of life for these people: material and undoubtedly spiritual, too. As I begin planting seeds again this season, I can’t help but think of that ancient clay vessel, so reverently crafted and painted, its dear contents preserved. And, 21st woman that I am, I can’t help but remark what a far distance those precious seeds have travelled to the industrial giant of King Corn.
This is the yin and yang of the earth, an energetic feedback. What happens below relates directly to what is happening on the surface and in the atmosphere and vice versa. Tectonics does not end at the ground beneath your feet. It is a dynamic system from the earth’s interior all the way into the sky and back.
–– Craig Childs