27 October, 2010

Vacation - Farmington, Part II

We spent Tuesday doing more sightseeing, while M was at work.  There are several sites for ruins that are really close to Farmington.  We started in Aztec Ruins National Monument, looking at the 800+ year old structures created by the ancient Puebloans.  It's fascinating to see the workmanship and know that the people creating these structures did everything by hand.  No power tools there - no nail guns, cordless drills, table saws (a lot of what we just used to complete the work on my mom's house).  In some cases they had to go miles and miles from home for the supplies necessary (wood, stone, etc.) to build the 500-room, multi-level compound.  And then there's the speculation on who was occupying it for various time periods.  It was particularly interesting to see the change in masonry styles (obvious - when pointed out - even to an untrained observer like me), indicating occupation by different peoples.
We actually went to two different ruin sites on Tuesday: the ruins in Aztec and the Salmon Ruins in Bloomfield.  They both have similar histories, but one (Salmon Ruins) was discovered by the original homesteader, who provided protection for the ruins.  This site is smaller (the compound is approximately 150 rooms, multi-level), but has a Great Kiva (purportedly a social gathering area for the people in residence) similar to the one at Aztec.  A BIG difference is that the Great Kiva at Aztec was reconstructed in the early 1900s, so we have a visual idea of what they might have been like.
It's intriguing to try to imagine how things were for the people back then.  The rooms are small; there are no hallways connecting anything.  In order to get from one place to the next, you'd have to walk through the living or working space of anyone in between.  My bedroom is bigger than most of those rooms.  In fact, the space my bedroom has could probably be split to make two of those rooms (with lower ceilings and small doors at both ends).  These people were short and small, and didn't seem to have much need of privacy.  More communal: less worry about mine and yours (did they not have to worry about stealing?); more interdependent as a community, but still independent as a people (as evidenced by apparent trade routes and such).
There are still plenty of sites left for us to explore.  The next time we go, we'll have to make sure to visit Chaco Canyon - the ruins there are even more elaborate, and indications are that some of the people that inhabited the Aztec and Salmon ruins were related to the Chacoan people.  Anyhow.  Enough of the ancient culture and ruins stuff - mesmerizing in person, but hard to keep interesting when you're writing about it.
Back in Farmington, we were killing time while waiting for M to finish at work when we came across the store front pictured above.  I just had to get a picture (thanks to Greg - in fact a lot of the pictures I've been using are thanks to Greg and his fancy-pants camera).  As we were wandering Main Street, window shopping and taking in the sights, it was interesting to see how many stores were actually closed.  Seems like the downturn in the economy may have hit Farmington pretty hard.  Hope things get better there.
Once M was done at work, instead of doing any hikes, we opted to get dinner and then spend the evening at home prepping for travel.  M and I made some of the yummiest caramel corn I've had in ages (discounting the fact that I haven't had caramel corn for ages...), and she burned some music CDs for us to listen to (we didn't bring any suitable music, and I intended to get an audio book but never did).  I wake up some mornings with the songs from our road trip running through my head - thanks, M!  =)
And then it's Wednesday - time to head north to Colorado.  We stopped by the hospital to visit with M one more time before heading out.  The facilities are beautiful.  I love the architecture of the building, the water features incorporated inside, and the calming, serene garden-scape alcove.  I'm glad M has such lovely surroundings.  I hope it brings her peace and contentment while she's there.
More endings and beginnings.  I'm sad to leave my sister, but I temper that sadness with the idea that there's still plenty of things we didn't do or see, so we'll be back.  And so we head north on the next leg of our adventure.

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