Sunday, September 30, 2007

Haunted, haunted Pecos

I don't think that you can go to Pecos National Historical Park without feeling a connection to the past. I've never been anywhere else where there is such a sense of disturbing history. The Indians there were forced to convert by the Franciscan fathers; their land was colonized, they were forbidden their kivas, and they were made to build an adobe church south of their pueblo. During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, they rose up, killed the priest, and "built a forbidden kiva in the very convento of the mission."* When you visit today and look from that kiva to the ruined church, you can easily imagine the Pecos taking back the adobe bricks from the church they were forced to build and using them to reconstruct their sacred kiva.
Each time we have visited Pecos it has been hot and still, with only the sound of birds and the occasional quiet words of another visitor carrying down the trail on the wind. We step lightly, respecting the rattlesnakes' right to privacy. We look over our shoulders often, for there is always a strong feeling that the current peacefulness of the place is only lightly superimposed on the violence of the past.
I am reading The Night Journal by Elizabeth Crook, a novel set in Pecos. The narrative moves back and forth between the modern day and the late 1890s, and from Pecos to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Pecos is described as fantastic...unsettling...and eerily romantic. I think that you will agree, if you have the chance to go there.

Information source:
*Pecos; U.S. National Park Service brochure 404/952-40107, 1996.


Towanda said...

clair ~ I love Pecos, I absolutely love it. It is one of my favorite places in NM. (I have a picture of my late mother in law, and my daughter in front of the hole in the adobe wall in your first picture....must have taken it over 20 years ago.) Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories for me.


Judy said...

Sounds like a great place. I don't know about those rattlesnakes though.