More than half of the population of the USA believe in the existence of life outside of our little blue marble. For scientists, the definition of “life” includes microscopic critters that they would wet their khakis to discover. If they found a two micron wide fossil of mold in the frozen poles of Mars it would change everything we know and believe about our universe.
My wife and I, however, have all the evidence we need and it is on clear display just 25 miles outside of Las vegas. Since neither of us are ‘scientists’, our vision of life outside of Earth includes a spaceship, funny humanoid shapes, and of course a British accent. All aliens have British accents. I don’t know why extraterrestrials have British accents, because as I’ve clearly stated, I am not a scientist.
We arrived in Las Vegas and I was primed for my usually wanton gambling at the penny poker machines and an excess consumption of pecan pie at the big buffets. When I hit Vegas I get a little wild! Wild except for my rule about no beverages with caffeine after 2pm or I can’t get to sleep. I’m not that crazy.
My wife’s plan included desert hiking. That’s not a typo. We fly across the country to the epicenter of fun and she says, “I found a great place to hike!”
My first thought was of the many episodes of CSI I’ve watched. The wide expanse of desert outside of Las Vegas is where they hide the bodies. So, before we left town I checked the car trunk and seeing no shovel I figured I was safe. We’ve been married 21 years. After the big ’20’ you start checking these things. I felt confident she wouldn’t just kill me and leave my body exposed in the desert. That would be littering and she has has pretty high environmental standards.
We drove about 45 miles from Vegas and arrived at the Valley of Fire State Park. It’s pretty much 35,000 acres of NOTHING! Well I take that back. There was a goat and two lizards. So 35,000 acres of NOTHING and a goat and two lizards. Who needs Vegas when you got a goat. A really really bored goat.
Not content to simply drive through this sandy rock strewn paradise, my wife wanted to get out and walk around in it. As I’ve noted before, our marriage has survived the big ’20’ and so I have been trained to respond to her lunatic ideas with the phrase, “Yes dear, that’s a great idea!” Meanwhile my little inner voice is telling me to check the trunk again. Secure in the knowledge that no digging implement was at hand I followed my lovely wife down the “trail”. When you have an expanse of 7 million acres of nothing around you, the trail is demarcated by the strewn hopes and dreams of previous husbands. Just follow their tears and discarded cigarette butts and you know you’re on the trail.
I will admit to one interesting feature in the stony canyons of the Valley of Fire… Petroglyphs!
Petroglyphs are simply vandalism and tagging which after 3,000 years becomes historical treasure. If you write on the rocks now, you get arrested. If it’s really really old vandalism it’s called art. Go figure. So as we meander aimlessly and collect sand in our shoes, socks, and between out toes, we marvel at the pictures scratched into the rock by ancient special-ed students. This is no Sistine Chapel. It’s really not even middle school art class.
These Native American artists really sucked. No depth, no perspective, no appreciation for the subtleties of their craft. I’m really thinking peyote must have been involved.
Archeologists haven’t been able able to decipher many of the petroglyphs. That may be because one ancient native was high as a kite and making funny pictures of his buddy who then got pissed off and made a funny picture of his other buddy having non-consensual relations with an antelope. And so on went the pictorial feud and now we’ve got scholars devoting their lives to interpreting rock scratches that simply say, “Harold fucks a three legged mountain goat and his mama dresses him funny!”
But then again, I’m not a scientist so maybe it’s all real important. Maybe thousands of years ago some guys thought, “Hey let’s scratch pictures on the rocks so thousands of years in the future brightly clad tourists will see the story of our people!” And his buddy says, “Yeah and lets tell them Harold fucked a three legged mountain goat and his mama dresses him funny!” And so petroglyphs were born.
But not all the glyphs were scandals about Harold (not his real name). My ever alert wife found among the lesser scratchings, a pictorial story of the visit of intelligent life from outside our world. Not some fuzzy video on YouTube of a couple lights and piece of lint flying through the air, but solid pictures and a sculpture thousands of years old.
The petroglyphs clearly show ancient Native Americans, maybe even our own Harold (not his real name), walking hand in hand with alien visitors. Cut into the red rocks nearby is a sculpture of the ancient ship itself. It is unknown whether the sculpture was cut into the rock by Harold and his primitive atlatl or by the advanced high energy beams from the alien ship. Were they aliens from a far off galaxy? Were they actually just humans from our far flung future coming back to visit their ancient ancestors? We don’t know. We’re not scientists.
I’m ready for some pie and penny slots now…..
The real Valley of Fire Site.