About six months ago, the bear shaman was lost, not to the world, but to me personally. I had visited the the image several times since we first moved to Albuquerque in 2008 and photographed it with a couple of my old cameras. Then, when I decided to revisit the rock art image and photograph again about six months ago, I was unable to locate it. I went back a half dozen times, but no luck; the image and its thousand-pound boulder seemed to have evaporated. Something similar happened to me a couple times in the past twenty years that I have pursued an interest in ancient Southwest rock art. I'm not sure exactly what goes on in my brain on these occasions; I'm usually pretty good at finding my way, even in unfamiliar or difficult terrain. I knew the approximate location to within about a half-mile square around the site, but I just could not pin down the precise location. How I finally relocated the rock art image seems as unlikely now as the image's strange disappearance.
The development of my interest in rock art more or less coincided with the beginning of collecting, restoring and using old film cameras. One important resource in helping to get my old cameras working was a web site maintained by Rick Oleson who is extraordinarily talented at fixing old film cameras, as well as in illustrating his restorations with photos and drawings. In addition to consulting Rick's site as needed, I also followed his photographic work on the Flickr photo sharing site. One day recently, I noted that Rick's photo stream included some familiar looking rock art images. It turned out that he had made a cross-country trip from his home in Kentucky that included a stop in Albuquerque and a visit to the Petroglyph National Monument. And there among his images was a picture of the lost bear shaman. It seemed an extraordinary coincidence.
|Photo by Rick Oleson|