Tuesday, November 13, 2007
On the way out to the Valley of Fire, yesterday, we noticed the highway and different areas lined with stacks of rocks. We were on the Moape Indian reservation, and my imagination ran amok with the possibilities of their significance. I asked one guy at the first stop we made, and he said "they mean nothing. People just do that."
Well. My wonderings of indian spiritual prayers were prematurely dashed. That's not very romantic.
Still, I couldn't believe that people would just pull over and stack rocks. There had to be an origin! The emperor has to be wearing some clothes here!
We stopped to ask a park ranger. After trying to convince us that they themselves place them there in memory of every tourist that was abducted from the park by aliens, he told us that they're actually called HooDoos.
The ranger was unsure of the origin, knew that it had been around a couple hundred years, but explained that with each rock you stack, you say a prayer. The higher your stack, the more likely your prayer is to be heard and wishes granted. They are, basically, indicative of fortune and good luck.
Ha! I knew there was some romantic spiritual connotation behind them.
"But," the ranger went on, "we park rangers hate them."
He went on to tell us that though they do give folks inclined to spray paint rocks and carve their initials in them another avenue of expressing themselves, it's also one of the most frequently asked questions to the rangers, and they want folks to focus more on the petroglyphs, and the history of the park. There are bigger and better things to know there. They knock them down.
Maybe the emporer really is wearing no clothes.
But at least he's got his spongebob boxers on.