Spruce’s Luminarias

The Ancient Pueblo People left their homes in the area we now call Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, sometime just before AD 1300. We aren’t really sure why they left, but we suspect that perhaps it was perhaps due to extended drought or perhaps a lack of water. Or, perhaps, a different reason entirely. For whatever reason, the cliff dwellings that they had so meticulously built and occupied for hundreds of years fell silent. Gone were sounds of daily living. Gone were the smells of food being prepared. Gone was the hustle and bustle of people coming and going. Gone was the firelight at night.

But the lights, as it turns out, were not gone forever. Once a year, and for just one day, the National Park Service carefully and reverently places luminaries, lights and lanterns in the ruins. The lights are not placed haphazardly, and it takes a very long time to plan, then place, each one. Just before darkness falls the lights are lit. As the daylight seeps away the ruin once again steps back into time, and we can see, for one magical night, a sight that is rarely seen these days.

Spruce’s Luminarias is one of those incredible moments. Let us always remember and celebrate those who lived here before us, and let us always remember their lives.

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