Peggy and I are on our way home from North Carolina today. We flew back to surprise our son, Tony, who was promoted to Lieutenant Commander for the Coast Guard in Charleston, South Carolina. While he teaches at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut overseeing cadets who want to fly for the Coastguard, he was visiting his In-laws in South Carolina and the Coast Guard arranged for the appointment ceremony to take place in Charleston.
Today’s blog is for the birds, so to speak. I am featuring petroglyphs of birds we found at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site in New Mexico. They ranged from eagles to turkeys.
The mighty eagle may have ruled the skies of southern New Mexico, but it was the Thunderbird that ruled the heavens. A flap of its wings would gather clouds and send thunder bouncing off the far mountains. Lightning would shoot out of its eyes. The Thunderbird existed in numerous Native American and First Nation cultures. Peggy and I have found images from New Mexico to Alaska.
It wasn’t surprising that we found a roadrunner petroglyph, the superfast, long-legged bird of the Southwest that is common in the desert and eats rattlesnakes for breakfast. Did you ever watch the Roadrunner-Coyote cartoons? I was addicted to it at UC Berkeley in the mid-60s. Cartoon time was mandatory break time! My fellow dorm residents and I would gather around the lone TV in our dormitory and cheer as Road Runner once again foiled Wile E. Coyote.
We also found petroglyphs of wild turkeys, the bird that Benjamin Franklin preferred over the eagle as a national symbol for America. These characters provide us with endless entertainment as they roar around in our backyard, chase each other, show off, and search for food. I suspect that the Jornada regarded them as a source of food.
NEXT POST: The slithery serpents of Three Rivers. Last week I blogged about my encounter with a Diamondback Rattler. This time I will focus on how the Jornada perceived snakes and lizards. There is even a rattlesnake!
20 thoughts on “This Post Is for the Birds… The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site of New Mexico: Part 4”
I always cheered for Wile E. Coyote. There was much about him that spoke to me, something that was observed by my colleagues who noted that my system designs were heavily inspired by the coyote.
Oh wow. Imagine Benjamin Franklin managed to have his way on which is the national bird!
Congrats to your son! I think these bird petroglyphs may be my favorites so far.
Thanks, Lexi. Tony has worked hard to get there.
The various bird portrayals help, in a way, to carry us back in time to a different reality, that wasn’t all that different. –Curt
The Congratulations for your son’s promotion has to override everything. I loved the road runner, but jeez, Curt, Lt. Commander!!
It was a great ceremony, G. Simple but meaningful. Really glad we were there. More later. Thanks. –Curt
I am beginning to believe in visitors from outer space!
🙂 I’ll keep working on it, Andrew.
Great petroglyph/photograph comparisons. Helps me really “see” what the artists wanted to communicate.
thanks. That was part of my reason for the adding actual photos, Juliann. The ancients were looking at the same animals/birds we do. The Thunderbird is more mythological, more of a god. –Curt
How did you get so close to take that shot of the bold eagle? He looks so stern but wise at the same time. Perhaps sternness and wisdom go together?
Here birdie, birdie, birdie! I’d go more with humor and wisdom, Gerard, or maybe experience and wisdom. –Curt
Wow, glad I found your blog, love the adventures, photos, and Native art!
Glad you are enjoying it Pennies! Thanks much. –Curt
Congratulations to your son❣️ I love the way to you compare the stunning petroglyph and photo and describe it.
Thanks, Dina! –Curt
Congrats to your son — and a tip of the hat to those who helped form him into a person who could achieve such things! You and Peggy are wise birds, too.
Thanks, Linda. It’s been a long road with plenty of twists and turns but Tony hung in there through thick and thin. Mainly, he loves to fly. –Curt
I’m proud of your son, not just for his promotion but his continued service. These bird petroglyphs are funny little creatures, as all petroglyphs when it gets down to it. None are exact — almost cartoonish, in fact. Thanks for posting and sharing. And come on back to my part of the world soon. (North Carolina is practically in our back door!)
The petroglyphs at Three Rivers run the gamut, from relatively simple to fairly sophisticated. I like them all, for their mystery as well as their depiction.
Thanks on Tony. He is a good man doing an important job.
As long as our daughter lives in Charlotte, I suspect we will be out that way frequently. –Curt