A petroglyph is defined as a carving or inscription on a rock. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
Recently, my family and I have had the opportunity to see petroglyphs in different locations. As we climbed through rocks, walking through the sandy earth to view the next markings, I thought to myself: If I were going to take the time to carve something into the rocks, what would it be? This got me thinking.
Today, people look at these inscriptions to try to understand who made the markings, what they mean, and why they are there. How do we know they aren’t just hundreds of years old graffiti? I’m pretty sure they aren’t, but I am no scientist, just an avid learner. Many of the markings show symbols that appear to be people or animals, maybe noting a big hunt, harvest, or birth of a family member. The most fascinating thing to me about all of these are that the markings are only a small snapshot of the people, the time, and the story. As the earth and climate changes, the evidence of the people is hidden. The petroglyphs we saw in Nevada were at different heights. It appears the rocks formations and area had changed over hundreds of years, making what appeared to be far off the ground writings seem impossible to get to. Clearly the ground was not at the same height then as it is now. How would those writings have been made? What would this area have looked like at the time when the people made the markings on the wall? What hidden gems are within these rocks that are untouched by the modern world?
I can only imagine that hundreds of years from now, people may look back at our current electronic day and wonder about us too. I grew up in an age where rotary phones were attached to the wall and one could misdial by not taking the intended number all the way around to the stop before dialing the next number. The age where you had to memorize phone numbers and answer the phone not knowing who was calling. The age where phone booths took a quarter and long-distance calls were expensive. The age where if you received a “collect call,” you took the important call because you knew that someone needed something urgent on the other line. Now, those days are gone and the age of technology is upon us. The age where things are at our fingertips and Amazon can be ordered on our phones, shipped, and delivered within days. The age where people answer the phone and start talking, skip the greeting, and dive into the conversation. The age where young people never learned how to answer the phone “politely” as my family would say: “Hello, who is this please?” We are in an age of change. The “old” ways are behind us and we are forging an unknown path.
How will the future view our current world and life? Will the future generations have some massive climate change and wipe out most of the modern world? Will they see our space-age inventions and wonder if we were trying to get back to some other planet? Will they know the love and loss and wars that were fought here on this planet? Will the petroglyphs around the world still be in existence, or will they be lost with the sands of time?
My petroglyphs would tell my story. I was born third of four children. I left home, seeking adventure, I got married, started a family and career, only to discover my life would take a massive, unexpected turn. I think my life would be more like a comic strip, but less of a comedy. There would be adventures and heartbreak, love and loss. The unexpected turn would show a picture of my homeland and then the departure for a new land. We relocated to a new city, leaving all family and friends behind. We began a new life, met new friends, and began new adventures. If only I knew at the time that new adventure was the pivotal moment where I was being forged into a new me. I was being sharpened and honed. I was to gain strength in a new location to prepare me for my next trek. I was to be a wanderer, adventurer, and connector. I was to take each day, one at a time as I was given them. I was to unlearn all that I thought I knew about myself and life. This adventure is my greatest petroglyph. I was to see the world through new places and people. I am a wanderer, but I am not lost; I am found.
My family of five travels full time. We have three children who I will call Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3. I feel I can relate to the Dr. Seuss books with these characters, so I will take a note from him and use those character names for my youngsters. We never intended to live the life we live. I never intended on “giving up” my career to stay home, raise children, homeschool, and travel fulltime. Maybe I didn’t “give up” anything. I feel the words “give up” are a negative connotation as if we have lost something. In my case, my educational path definitely prepared me for motherhood in the most incredible way. I received the best training for a vocation that has no manual; motherhood. Maybe the best adventures are the unplanned or unexpected turns in life. The story of our family will continue to unfold as I share thoughts and life with you. This is just a snapshot, a petroglyph.
In short, my petroglyphs would show my family, a move, a job change, and then our epic adventures of travels. People would likely look back hundreds of years from now at my petroglyphs and say something like we say now: I wonder what those mean?
What would your petroglyphs be? Did life take you the way you thought it would?