“Mark of the Ancients” PDF Print E-mail


He had lived in the desert all his life, but for me it was all new. "See that footprint in the sand?" he asked, pointing to a spot by the cliff. I looked as close as I could. "No, I don't see anything."

"That's just the point." He laughed. "Where you can't see a print, that's where the Ancient Ones walked."

We went on a little farther, and he pointed to an opening, high up on the sandstone wall. "See that house up there?" he asked. I squinted hard. "There's nothing to see."

"You're a good student." He smiled. "Where there's no roof or chimney, that's where the Ancient Ones are most likely to have lived."
    
We rounded a bend, and before us was spread a fabulous sight -- thousands upon thousands of desert flowers in bloom. "Can you see any missing?" he asked me. I shook my head. "It's just wave after wave of loveliness."

"Yes," he said in a low voice. "Where nothing is missing, that's where the Ancient Ones harvested the most."

I thought about all this, about how generations had once lived in harmony with the earth, leaving no marks to scar the places they inhabited. At camp that night I said, "You left out one thing."

"What's that?" he asked.

"Where are the Ancient Ones buried?"

Without reply, he poked his stick into the fire. A bright flame shot up, licked the air, and disappeared. My teacher gave me a glance to ask if I understood this lesson. I sat very still, and my silence told him I did.