Further pursuing the online Los Alamos research I started the other day has been fascinating — not to mention time consuming. After the first couple of hundred photos on Flickr, I found little else of interest. Though more than 2300 Flickr photos have a “Los Alamos” tag, over one hundred are shots of the road up the hill, and many hundred are taken in the Norris Bradbury Science Museum. Most are of recent vintage and of little relevance for my purpose.

Moving on, I found a few more good memory jogging shots, but got discouraged with Webshots, Picassa, and the web in general.

Then I thought of YouTube, and eventually found a short National Park Service video travel guide of Bandelier National Monument’s Frijoles Canyon cliff dwellings (the five-minute video is beautifully done, and likely to make you want to go there if you watch). This canyon was my very favorite place to spend summer afternoons, though I didn’t often go there. It seemed much farther than eight miles away! The video ended with a goose-bumpy revelation: “Although the pueblo people have not lived here in Frijoles Canyon for more than 450 years, the site isn’t considered to be abandoned. The modern pueblo people believe that the spirits of their ancestors still reside here.”Furthermore the video mentions that nearly all canyons in the area bear evidence of early inhabitants.

No wonder I was so acutely aware of the Indians. Not everyone will understand, but I do believe that some form of spirit does persist in that area, and its stronger in some places than others. It’s especially strong in Frijoles, stronger than other ruins like Tsankawi or Puye. But perhaps if I went back to those places, alone with plenty of time to wander and wonder, it might be different.

Others have written about this also. I believe that Peggy Church Pond mentions it in her enduringly popular book, The House at Otowi Bridge, the story of Edith Warner, a key figure in the social life of early Los Alamos. Edith lived very near San Ildefonso pueblo and was often included in pueblo life.

Alas, the more research I do, the more danger this could become a history rather than a memoir. The challenge of maintaining the boundaries of my own memories and experience compounds with continued research. Guess I need to just write the damned book! While it’s still mine to write.

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