December 9, 2018

Pictograph at Hueco Tanks State Park in Texas

A pictograph is a painted symbol for a word, object or thought. Of all the ones that I saw on our guided hike into the protected region of the park this was my personal favorite. No matter where I stood in the alcove where this one was located it seemed like the left eye followed me. I think the right eye was more worn, but the right eye looked so alive and alert to me. It left me feeling just a little bit off balance.

Our guides, Dar and Tish, stressed that vandalism is a continuing problem in the park as people sneak in and mar the surfaces. I don’t understand what drives people to efface these ancient drawings. Why do they feel the need to leave a mark that shows they were there? Couldn’t they do their marks where no one else has marked before? I’m glad that the park system is trying to keep these drawings and paintings protected. I’m grateful for the guides, like Dar and Tish, who hike out regularly looking for new marks that shouldn’t be there. If they catch the vandalism before a year has passed there is a chance that the marks can be removed. I was thrilled to be able to hike back and visit these markings that ancient people left. I am grateful for the chance to be able to see what these ancient people were able to leave as evidence of their existence, and the opportunity to consider the lives that they led.