Colorado author Craig Childs visits The Bookworm May 4
Ancient rock art can convey messages to gods, to ancestors, and to future generations, outside of the confines of written language. The prolific regional author, Craig Childs has written a book that can help you decode and fully appreciate these messages.
Celebrate the new release from beloved Colorado author and adventurer Craig Childs as he bears witness to the power of rock art of the Colorado Plateau, with his new book, “Tracing Time.”
Childs has been enchanted by the Colorado Plateau since his fourth-grade trip to Lake Powell. “Barefoot on slickrock, hardly anything alive other than water and rock, it felt like I’d landed on a severe and gorgeous alien planet,” Childs remembers.
When he was taking shelter from a rainstorm on a trip in the Grand Canyon, Childs had another perspective-shaping encounter on this alien planet. “I ducked into an alcove filled with polychrome pictographs dating back thousands of years, and a flash flood came barreling down the canyon just below me. When the wall of moonlight passed by, the inside of the alcove lit up,” Childs said. “I looked overhead, listening to the roar of the flood outside, and the alcove ceiling was alive with many-colored human forms with arms outspread and gaping eyes in reflected moonlight. To say a chill ran down my spine is a gross understatement.”
The chill down Childs’ spine was a physical reminder to him of the wealth of human history found on this land, of which Childs believes is our duty to learn. “In our area, one sees elder cultural lineages when they pick up an arrowhead or encounter a cliff dwelling,” Childs said. “I believe it’s important to make contact and understand who has seniority in these places, how old they are, what kinds of lives they lived, how they related to their environments, and who their living descendants are. This is basic education.”
This basic education is something that can bring existential comfort in our daily lives. “It’s too easy to imagine that now is the only time that has every happened, or ever will happen. Right here you have proof that we lie along a timeline, that the human past extends thousands of years before us, and will likely unfold for thousands of years into the future,” Childs said. “To me, it’s a relieving thought; it’s not as lonely as thinking we are all there is.”
Unfortunately, there isn’t much rock art in mountain areas, like Vail, due to the harsh conditions and rock faces here. However, Eagle Valley residents can take a quick trip to desert areas like Dinosaur National Monument, Cañon Pintado, and the Shavano Valley to see these breathtaking pieces of ancient art in person.
If you take these trips, make sure to read “Tracing Time” beforehand so you can appreciate the art fully. “Readers will see that every rock art site is there for a reason, placed just so on the land,” Childs said. “We don’t have to know the reason, only that these images had specific meanings to their creators, and are part of large cultural complexes, not just scribbling or decoration on rock.”
What: “Tracing Time“ with Craig Childs
When: Wednesday May 4, 6 p.m.
Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., unit C101 Edwards, CO 81632
Cost: $10, purchase online or at the Bookworm of Edwards
More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit BookwormOfEdwards.com