Main Contents

#248 :: Acoma Clay Vessel

October 13, 2004

Close your eyes. You’re at the center of a broad, rough valley ringed by steep cliffs. Breathe deep. Exhale hard. Now, levitate 367 feet. You hover there, where brisk breezes riffle your hair. Your shirt flutters and snaps. Your eyes remain closed. The stony earth rumbles beneath you, shoves a pillar of rock skyward from the center of the valley floor, straight up, to stop just there at the seat of your pants, and support you again. You are no longer levitating. You are in Acoma, N.M.. Open your eyes now: Around the mesa where you sit stand multi-storied adobe houses with lodgepole ladders reaching for the upper floors. Here and there hunker low, domed kilns of fire-hardened clay. This is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, Sky City, a supremely defensible village that has hummed with life for more than nine centuries. Potters have worked here for hundreds of years. You pick up one of their later works. This is a simple piece, of porcelain. Hands shaped and glazed it a few weeks ago, in ways that have not, in any substantial sense, changed. Ever. You can blow out your clutch driving up the steep access road to the summit, spend too much on souvenirs and snacks, and marvel at the “normal” signs of a rez like any other – cars and trailers, occasional trash in the streets, tourists gaping just like you. But close your eyes again. You’re on a high, sharp-sided mesa of stone thrust up from the ancient sedimentary rock floor of a mile-wide valley, beneath piercing blue skies. Draw deep lungfuls of crisp desert air. Exhale. You’re a human of indeterminate age, somewhere on earth, at some time. Somehow spiritualized.

Filed under: Art | Comments Off on #248 :: Acoma Clay Vessel

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


google