Art Inspiration: Three Rivers Petroglyphs Monument

Odin’s Breath
Morgan O’Donnell

The day after Christ’s birthday
The New Mexico sky was shrouded in gray
Basalt boulders rise up

Ancient public art engraved in stone
Echoes of mountain lions, bears, and birds
Vibrate through the rock
Messages from long ago

At the top of the trail
Two ravens swoop and glide
Croaking greetings
As I inhale the cold breath of Odin

It was only supposed to be a little stop, a brief visit. The sky was overcast and the winds had picked up significantly. To the southwest, sheets of white sand obscured the horizon as we looked down the road before turning off at the sign for Three Rivers Petroglyph Site.

We stopped in the visitors building and picked up the map then donned a few extra items of clothing to keep warm on the one-mile trail.

The trail followed the line of the ridge. All around us were glorious rock carvings. Some were clearly animals while other were more mysterious…perhaps aliens or spirits?

The land was silent save for the wind rushing among the boulders and sparse plant life. At first, it was hard to make out some of the images, but then I discovered that looking at them via the phone camera made them spring to life. It became almost a game to go from rock to rock looking at the etchings first with my own eyes to see if I could see what it was and then using the phone to reveal the image.

As I neared the top of the trail, I was completely alone. The visitor center had disappeared from sight. I was in the temple of big sky and mountains. Then two ravens rose up out of a dip in the ridge, riding the winds. I felt my spirit rise in response as they croaked to me softly. We watched one another for a few minutes before they sailed away on the next wave of the wind.

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