Friday, March 6, 2009

Slowly Fading into the Depths of Time

Petroglyph Magic

As I viewed the photos I took today at Valley of Fire State Park north of Las Vegas, NV, I saw contemporary human graffiti that I hadn't noticed in the bright sunlight. These petroglyphs are slowly fading due to the effects of wind, weather, pollution, and careless people. I thought of how empty the world will be when these ancient messages disappear for good. The petroglyphs' increasingly ephemeral existence breaks my heart and feeds my gratitude that they still exist to inspire wonder.

I had the photo program "fix" this photo and love the effect. Almost looks like a version of constellations overlying the depths of the solar system. Isn't it amazing that one can walk into the desert in the presence of human imagery from nearly 2,000 years ago and ponder its meaning?

These haunting pictures, pecked as they are in the desert varnish covering red sandstone formations, lead me to contemplate the power of the image. What gives these petroglyphs their power? The intention with which they were created? The integrity of their making with the pulse of the life of the people who made them? What gives some art this cathedral-like sense of awe and wonder? How might those of us who make art infuse our work with this depth of spirit?

May these petroglyphs inspire wonder and reflection for generations to come.

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