As the plane took off, I wasn’t sure how I would feel, yet I was sure at the same time.
I would be changed.
I looked down as the tiny craft—loaded with five of us, positioned for weight leverage—pitched right and left and swooned in circles so that we could see, below us, these drawings. These drawings that date back 1500-2000 years. These drawings of a whale, a monkey, a lizard, a humming bird, a condor, a shaman (placed especially on the side of a rock face bulging among others out of the bone-dry Earth).
When we passed the first drawing, the first pitch, on my side lucky me, of the whale, the co-pilot said “you can see below you on the left, the whale, the god of the sea.”
I took it all in. Often gasping. Not even so much at the animals as at the lines—massive, perfectly-straight, dedications to a message, to the gods, lingering in the sky above. Just like us. Glad to be on motion-sickness drugs because it was dizzying even still and I wanted to focus. Not on what it meant, but a feeling. Yet afterward, the man who drove me there, wanted to talk to me. Even when I told him I didn’t need him to take the time, he still insisted, to tell me.
The people spent hundreds of years on these drawings. They wanted water. Rain. They wanted the gods to know that they were waiting for it and they appreciated it and they wanted it. Or did they? Or were they celebrating the animals themselves? The guide explained that the people knew of a time when that area was rich, then the climate shifted to render it dry—only a few millimeters of rain fall on this area per year. This is nothing, essentially.
In any case, what I find marvelous is that, even if they didn’t get a message across they way they wanted, they did get a message across. It is up to each one of us blessed to see these with our own eyes to come to our own personal conclusions. Most of those conclusions cannot be put into words. They are just too big to describe. They are so, so big.
I have chosen, among many of these drawings that I captured with a piddly little iPhone cam, to share the whale image as the main one of this blog. Because the feeling is similar to how I feel about whales, their existence. Their song. Their god-like lives--unfathomable to such a degree that I am always drawn, gravitating, toward them.
Like we all are to the Earth herself, no chance to do otherwise, even if we try in the planes and with all we do. We come back to her. Isn’t it wise to celebrate?
The biggest non-linear image was that of the shaman. Must have taken many generations to carve this shaman in the rock.
The over-sized feet are planted completely flat on the ground, as the guide drew my full attention to, and the hand is reaching toward the sky. The eyes are large, from plant medicine and seeing clearly. Seems the most I can say without more futile words.