Among the Ruins– Revised Repost

5 12 2006

I first posted this at the Hermitage last May.  It seems appropriate for a Grand Tour.  Here it is again, slightly revised and with a different image…..

Among the Ruins

When I think of ancient ruins, I think of those in other parts of the world, not the American Southwest; however, I was astonished one day, a number of years ago, when, on a lonely stretch of road in northern Arizona,  we stumbled across the Wupatki ruins, a series of apartment-like dwellings estimated to be about 900 years old.  Constructed of sandstone masonry on a plateau about fifty miles from the Grand Canyon,  these dwellings may have sheltered as many as 30,000 people at one time.    These buildings were probably inhabited by the Anasazi and Sinagua peoples, though no one really knows for sure.  Similarly, no one is sure why these communities were abandoned, but it is hypothesized that an eruption of the nearby Sunset Crater volcano around 1100 c.e. drove the inhabits out of the area.  

On the day we came across the ruins, it was bright, sunny, and such a glorious morning that we decided to stretch our legs and take a look around.   The older folks in our party decided to just sit and view the ruins; I decided to go hiking among them (at the time there was no prohibitions about entering the structures). 

After a while, the sun got the better of me and I decided to duck into one of the rooms inside the structure.   As I stood inside the cool darkness, I chanced to look up through a window near the top of the room.  I could see brilliant blue with tuffs of white clouds through the opening.    

As I savored the moment, a strange and sudden feeling overcame me.  I felt that I wasn’t alone any longer.  I didn’t hear anything and as I swung around to look about the small room, all I could see was a barren dirt floor and nothing more.   I continued to stand there, the feeling getting stronger with each passing moment.  I stepped outside the doorway of the room to see if there was anyone else nearby.  The closest tourists were way down the path, too far away to be the source of the sensation.   I took one more look around the room and quickly left. 

The feeling of being watch left me as soon as I found my group and headed back to the parking area.  I didn’t mention my experience to anyone, but I pondered this odd sensation.  I honestly felt as if, not one, but many people, were watching me in that room.  Not given to much belief in the paranormal, I chalked it up a flight of imagination brought on by being in such an old and mysterious place.   

However, in a country where sometimes historical edifices are knocked down in the name of progress, perhaps I WAS feeling the presence of the Ancient Ones.  If so, I hope they were pleased that I stopped by to pay homage to their memory.

Text and photo:  Lori Gloyd © May 6, 2006; Revised December 5, 2006


Wild Burros

3 12 2006


On the infamous Route 66 that crosses the southwestern United States, there is a small “ghost” town called Oatman, in the Arizona desert.  The town was famous for being the honeymoon hideway for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, but today it is also famous for its wild burros.  The burros are descendents of the pack animals that gold prospectors brought with them to the region in the 19th century.  Today they are protected by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as a living relic of the American Wild West.

The town of Oatman makes its living from tourists who come just to see the donkeys.  My dad was with me on this trip and he nicknamed the little fellow “Herschel” (I have no idea where he came up with this name– I just went with it).    Anyway, “Herschel” is one cute little fella, isn’t he.

Lori Gloyd (c) 2006

The Gundo

30 11 2006

I thought I’d say a little bit about the city where I live. I live in El Segundo, California. El Segundo has a population of about 16,000 people who live there, about 100,000 who visit during the day, and we are surrounded by the 13 million other residents of the greater L.A. area.

The town is bounded by the Pacific Ocean, LAX, a conglomeration of various aerospace corporations, and the Chevron Oil Refinery (the second one built in California, hence the name of the town). Also, we are home to the county’s sewage treatment plant, a steam plant, and an electrical plant. And we have a military installation.

But lest you think we live in a horrible, Blade-runner type of place, we do have 27 parks, 18 churches, and 39 restaurants and pubs (fortunately, more eating places than drinking). Other names for the town: The Urban Island, Mayberry-by-the-Sea, The Beach Town without a Beach Culture, and most recently, The Gundo.

We also have an operating silent movie theatre with a three-story high Werlitzer organ. And, most importantly, we are the hometown and current residence of the Barbie doll.

Oh, yeah, and a new Borders bookstore just opened last week! (I’m so excited).

So, there’s just a little snapshot of my town. Let’s hear about yours!


Lori Gloyd (c) 2006

Getting Started

25 11 2006

The best place to start a journey is from one’s home. My home is adjacent to an oil refinery. It’s not much to look at in the day but at night it sparkles and twinkles like something from a fairy tale. It’s all in how you perceive it.


Image: Lori Gloyd (c) 2006