I am in the desert, standing in the wide, dry bed of a wash, with the cacti and sagebrush growing alongside it. I am looking up at a cluster of rocks that form a tall wall against the flat, blue sky. The rocks have been there a very long time, in their hues of red and grey. And on the surface, up high, there are gentle patches that look sun-bleached, or, sometimes, mossy.
To see what I have come to see, I have to look more closely. And, simultaneously, I have to soften my vision. Only this way can I make out the forms on the rock wall. That sun-bleached patch is the belly of a bighorn sheep, and the yellow moss outlines a human figure chasing a fleet-footed antelope or deer.
The lines are simple, clean, in spite of the rough rock they are drawn upon. The drawings are spare, without details and, yet, they suggest a richness of movement, of life.
I don’t know why those drawings were created up there, looking down on the wash. I don’t know what they were made to transmit. But, today, all these centuries later, they teach me!