Moving in at Mesa Verde

Well, it’s been almost a month and a half since I started training here at Mesa Verde, and a solid month of giving tours. I figured it’s about time I sit down and update you all on the more specifics of my life instead of continuing to write obscure posts on how awesome the things around me are.

My day-to-day schedule varies quite a bit. My duties include giving hour or hour-and-a-half tours of Cliff Palace, Long House, and Balcony House, roving (basically walking the trail, making sure people aren’t getting into trouble, and being available to answer questions) at Step House and Spruce Tree House, and working short stints at the Museum desk and Wetherill kisok. The order of these duties changes constantly, as I have 27 different schedules I may be assigned to on any given day. Some days I give one tour and spend the rest of the day roving or working the desk. Others I am in a constant sprint from site to site in order to give 4 tours back to back. I find that I really enjoy the variety. It keeps me busy and allows the day to pass quickly. In the evenings I may get home anywhere between 4 and 8 – depending on the schedule. I usually eat a little something, do yoga and spend a lot of time reading.

The people here are wonderful. Coming from a smaller park like Canyonlands (smaller in staff that is, not acreage) to an operation as huge as Mesa Verde (over 40 people on the Interpretation roster alone, this doesn’t include the Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Museum, Archaeology, Fire, and Trail staff) was very intimidating. But people have been incredibly kind, patient and helpful towards us newbees (only 6 in the incoming class, the smallest seasonal hire ever from what I hear). The backgrounds are very diverse, as well as age and education. But everyone shares a passion for the resource, and man do these people know their stuff! It’s impossible not to learn something just sitting in the break room, much less by actually seeking out information.

I’m sure you all are tired of reading about how awesome I think my life is these days. But I can’t help it. I can’t not include in this post (or any, it seems), how joyous my days are. Joy is really the best word I can think of to describe it. Every day comes with new challenges and discoveries that make me feel closer to the ancient people who once lived here.

Sometimes I shock myself when I think about how many times a day I squeal in delight at the discovery of something seemingly insignificant. Like the prickly pear cacti that are now blooming in the park – they’re bright yellow. I’ve never seen bright yellow ones before. In Canyonlands they are just as beautiful, but deep purple. What a joy to discover that they come in another glorious color!  Or the other day when I came upon a baby bull snake on the trail at Spruce Tree House. It was light tan in color with black markings so delicate they looked painted on. I couldn’t help but make an instant connection with the black-on-white pottery the Ancestral Puebloans are famous for. I felt as if they had sent the little snake to clue me in on their inspiration. I couldn’t stop smiling. Or last week when I was enjoying a quiet morning rove at Step House. For weeks I had been watching two dedicated Flycatchers build their nest in the corner of the roofed pithouse there. Imagine my delight to walk by and hear the screech of chicks, to look inside and see three of them sitting there bright-eyed, to be the first to report this find to the others.

My life is awesome.

I never have trouble waking up in the morning. I smile the whole way home. Sometimes I skip to the bathroom.

I’m probably really annoying.

But I’m alive. Not just alive but living in an amazing place with amazing history and amazing beauty. Why wouldn’t I skip or smile or be anything but joyous?

As I drove from Mesa Verde to Canyonlands last night to visit A, I indulged in a little show-tune sing-off with myself. One of the musicals I listened to was Hair. It’s a beautiful show for so many reasons, but these days there is one song that so resonates with me that every now and then I have to burst out singing it. I’m sure my co-workers think I’m very young and silly and a little crazy for that, and all the other ridiculous things I do for that matter, but life is too short not sing when you feel like it. Especially when you have a song like this in your head. I’ve included the lyrics and a clip of the Broadway cast performing the song below. Enjoy.

I got life, mother
I got laughs, sister
I got freedom, brother
I got good times, man

I got crazy ways, daughter
I got million-dollar charm, cousin
I got headaches and toothaches
And bad times too
Like you

I got my hair
I got my head
I got my brains
I got my ears
I got my eyes
I got my nose
I got my mouth
I got my teeth
I got my tongue
I got my chin
I got my neck
I got my tits
I got my heart
I got my soul
I got my back
I got my ass
I got my arms
I got my hands
I got my fingers
Got my legs
I got my feet
I got my toes
I got my liver
Got my blood

I got life, mother
I got laughs, sister
I got freedom, brother
I got good times, good times man

I got crazy ways, daughter
I got million-dollar charm, cousin
I got headaches and toothaches
And bad times too
Like you, and you

I got my guts
I got my muscles
I got life
Life Life Life Life Life Life


(And you got a lot of nerve baby)

And I’m going to spread it around the world, mother
I’m going to spread it around the world, sister
I’m going to spread it around the world, my brother
So everybody knows what I got

Amen, Amen

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