Voices on the Wind Open Theme
TSIREGEH by Cappy Love Hanson Tsiregeh is an unexcavated ruin in north-central New Mexico, near Los Alamos National Laboratory. Both Tsiregeh (Tewa) and Pajarito (Spanish) mean Little Bird. Itís the Labís land now, junipered mesas chain-linked, razor-wired, adjacent to Pajarito Road and centuries separated. On the biennial tour, twenty at a time climbing a mesa flagged with pot shards, bones of rabbit and bear and dear, ancient wall stones unstacked by frost and windy hands. Its power now is not in having towered three Neolithic stories but in its introverted, exquisite collapse. A communal melancholy subdues our groupís jaunty calls. One mathematician asks the docent what year the Anasazi ceded their city--was it to sickness, drought, or spear-wielding warriors? A physicist stoops to retie his hiking boot, pries up bird-bone whistle fragments. Starts to slip them into a cargo pocket. When a geneticist pays him pointed attention, he feigns innocent inspection, turns each finely painted portion over, presses them back one into their impressions in preserving earth. As we hike out, an administrative assistant vaults a ruined tuff wall, nearly plants a shoe beside a baby rattler, coiled, hatched with all the venom it needs for its first kill. Shifted forward on the down-step, she violates the inevitable arc, lifts and lands a yard beyond. Magic, desperate suspension of natural law, shakes and vibrates the universeís strands like harp strings. Hand-chipped serpent petroglyph glides a cliff face, watching. For an evening, we adopt the ancients as our own. We drive them home, imagine the crock pot as a clay vessel with roasted stones tossed in to flash-boil corn, squash, chunks of wild turkey meat. In declining sunlight, finches whose ancestors picked through Tsiregehís kitchen middens peck the lawn for the dayís last grass seeds.