Yesterday we went out to Acoma, a place I visit almost every time I come back to New Mexico, a place I love dearly. Sky City is now partnered with the National Trust (here's an excellent article on the history of the museum); almost everybody in the Acoma nation lives down off the mesa, but a few elders and tribal government officials live year round up in Sky City still. Visitors can go up on a guided tour. And along the route of the tour, potters sell their wares.
We fell in love with an excellent pottery bear. Beautifully crafted. Full of presence. The potter wrapped him up in bubble wrap and put him in a box full of packing peanuts and taped the whole thing up, so that we could get him home safely.
It's a wonderful tour. You can look out at the Enchanted Mesa, where the Acoma people lived before they came to Sky City. There is evidence of habitation there, and our tour guide this time told us that it'd been carbon-dated to 650 AD. In Sky City, the oldest buildings are dated at 1150 AD.
So we saw that, and we saw the church, and we heard stories, and then at the end, instead of taking the bus back, we elected to climb down the old trail.
It's a doable trail, and there are stone steps and ancient hand holds cared in the rock, but it takes some effort. And Bear didn't fit in the backpack, so he was getting carried.
On a particularly difficult piece I said, "Why don't you let me carry Bear, so that you can get down safely?"
And I got handed Bear, whose box was in a plastic grocery bag. As I carried him out over the steps, the handle pulled off. And we watched the beloved (and not inexpensive) Bear tumble down the stone steps.
That was not good.
But he's ok -- when we got back to the restaurant we opened up the box, and felt his little legs, and then later got him back to my mom's house, where we unwrapped him entirely and admired his beauty and excellent workmanship.
So we say Bear flew down the mesa.