This is to mention all of the people, by name, who gathered at Juanito’s on Thursday night to celebrate Don David’s birthday. Just kidding. Those are people who are perpetually concerned that their names will turn up in this column. The fact that Don David is now 35 is not the subject of this column.
It rather concerns itself with the goal of a field trip that took place on Sept. 17.
As part of a project-based unit on archeology, the middle school students visited Blackwater Draw and the affiliated museum.
The draw, a PaleoIndian site, is really the gateway focus of this writing. The museum is interesting, and fun, and educational, but the dig site is, for me, in the category of sacred ground. Sacred ground need not be a church, or formally consecrated area; in my mind, sacred ground is found in many areas.
In my case, there’s a special draw (no pun intended). It’s widely accepted the Clovis PaleoIndian culture represents one of the first original American groups to enter this continent, one of the anchor sites from which the people dispersed.
Having Seneca (Hau-de-na-sau-nee) ancestry on my mom’s side, I wonder, in the back of my mind, if some long ago, long distant, aunts or uncles may have passed through on their way to the Northeast.
That’s not the only reason for it being sacred ground, however. In August of 1998, partly because of the above factor, I took my girlfriend down to the dig site on a full moon August Saturday night, with an obvious thunderhead gathering in the west.
We went through the fence, which was guarded by a dog, but a dog whom I knew, and who accompanied us down into the draw. He then went on about his business, having no interest in intruding on our privacy.
I had informed him ahead of time that I planned on asking her to marry me.
I did. She laughed. Well, what I really said was “I was wondering what you would say if I asked you to marry me.”
There is a country western song hidden somewhere in that story. Not the cheating, maudlin, redneck kind, but the funny, ironic, romantic kind, the kind Brad Paisley sings.
In November of that year, we formalized the engagement, on Thanksgiving weekend, in another kind of sacred ground, the rose garden of the catholic church which she has attended since her teenage years. That year, though it was not unusually warm, the roses were still on the bush in November.
Sacred ground does not come cheaply. Just because you build a few memories, or think it is pretty, does not make it sacred ground.
I can only think, off-hand, of one more geographically close example, and though we have been to Ute Lake many times, it didn’t become so, until this past summer.
On that night, we took both grandkids night snorkeling.
Since Mikayla still firmly believes, and Jason is still young enough to sort of believe, that sharks come out at night, this was a real triumph — enough to consecrate that section of the lake.
All of the discussions about there being no such thing as freshwater sharks were not as convincing as that twilight snorkel.
What are your sacred grounds?