We’re All Ghosts

“We’re all ghosts.
We all carry, inside us,
People who came before us.”
Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

A perfect day of exploring to share with you. Bar V Bar Ranch on the  Wet Beaver Creek, a calm, peaceful,  and historically rich riparian area that runs as a tributary to the Verde River in Arizona, United States of America. It is one of my favorite areas to spend an afternoon, for the sounds of the creek,  birds, the remnants of ranching, the lizard, rabbits, deer, and snake; the easy green to the eye glimpse of the  pastures and irrigated terraced gardens of seven hundred years ago.  Worthy of Reverence Cottonwood and Sycamore trees;  And  over one thousand pectroglyphs, the oldest thought to date back to around 650 AD.

Petroglyphs are humans expressing themselves by pecking, grounding, and scratching into rock surfaces,  with a harder material creating   symbols, figures, and intricate designs–charming and challenging  the imagination of those who come to spend time with them.

This riparian area, abundant in fertile soil, animals, plants, and water,as well as a moderate climate provided an excellent choice for the Southern Sinagua, the creators of the Pectroglyphs. They  settled into this area around 650 AD, with villages of three to ten families scattered throughout the Verde Valley seemingly thriving between 1150 and 1300. Then,  fluctuations in climate had the Sinaqua consolidating their communities along the perennial creeks and Verde River,  to about fifty pueblos housing 20 to 100 families. By 1400 the entire area was abandoned. It is said that the Sinagua joined the historical Hopi people.

The pectroglyphs of V Bar V number over 1,032, in four main panels, and unique in their style from other Native American Rock Art.  Referred to as the Beaver Creek Style. Water birds, young girls identified by hair whorls, figures walking with back packs, as well as the pairing of many of the figures, indicate the Beaver Creek Style.  66 cupules also appear, deeper circular impressions ground within foot/paw, animals and human like figures. These are thought to be related to calling of rain and fertility rituals.

Ancient calendars, honor of the elements, crop and human migration cycles, rituals, rites, honors, maps, and events. In  truth, it is our own imaginations let loose at the V Bar V, that unveils itself to us in spending time at V Bar V. No one knows what the figures actually meant to the individuals whose ghosts linger in their art and in the very trees, rock,  and creek of V Bar V.  A most engaging ghost story to decipher.  Enjoy!

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May each and everyone have an excellent month of May. Peace and Blessings.


    1. So happy you got a chance to see this post Sandra. You were so close to this very spot when you visited Montezuma’s Castle. Totally worth returning for, as well is Montezumas Well. Spring Wildflowers are in riot bloom right now, and the temperatures are moderate.
      Thank-you for your enthusiastic response to this post. So appreciated.


    1. ‘Cloud Atlas’ a favorite book/movie just overflowing with interesting phrases and ideas.

      “Fascinating” is the perfect word for the pectroglyphs. The first time I visited this panel could be twenty five years ago, with visits continuing between then and now. Continue to find the images a fascination and intriguing mystery. Thank you for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have had that graffiti thought myself. It is one of my favorite peaceful places in Arizona, and I am fortunate to visit frequently. One of the interesting aspects of these panels is that the lushness of the area, abundance of food, building materials, natural sources, plus the use of terraced farming and stable community opened up chunks of time for the Singua to create these, over one thousand and counting, images. .
      Thank you for stopping by and contributing to the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome! Glad to give it. I know I love reading comments so am glad to return the favor. To me that is what I love most about blogging. Connecting with other bloggers.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great photos, Johanna. I have a young friend who suffered a major stroke following a car accident. He lost the ability to speak, but he started drawing objects to illustrate what he wanted to say. For the first year his drawings approximated these petroglyphs and over time, evolved to simulate the cave drawings of early man found in the caves of France.

    All this time his speech was still compromised but improving. By the time he achieved the speech level of an infant his ability to draw took off to the stars. He now has a collection of prints and stationery and is earning money to help support himself and his family.

    When I look at photos like yours and think about my friend I can see the advancement of the human race in an instant. We are a resilient bunch. Thanks for the memories today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such an interesting and inspiring recounting of your friends life changing experience to recovery following a stroke, which included the use of drawing. Isn’t it just fascinating that his early recovery drawings resemble the pectroglyphs?
      Thank you so very much for sharing your observations and story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It blew me away when I saw him drawing the figures for the first time. I saw him a few weeks later and he had a dozen or so pages in his notebook that already had images drawn on them. He would flip through the book and point at a picture to fill in what he could not pronounce.

        Conversations were a multimedia event and I could see that his mind was working faster than he could form words to communicate his thoughts. I truly felt like I had a glimpse of the dawn of speech way back when two people successfully conversed.

        Thanks for your story and for your comments, Johanna.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Always have been fascinated by both pictographs and pectroglyphs. The time involved in the pectroglyphs indicates to me a real interest in telling the story. Plus the fact the panels cover a big stretch of time.
      Thank you for your kind words. Always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love petroglyphs, JoHanna, and have done several posts on them, including one on the bar-v-bar. I like the history, art, and mystery. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been promising myself to do a series on petroglyphs, maybe after I finish up Burning Man. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, your Burning Man photos are just so well done, Curt. The best I have seen.

      V Bar V is one of my favorite areas to explore. So cool that you have been there. Thank you for stopping by, always such a joy to hear from you.


      1. Thanks, JoHanna. I am eager to get back to Burning Man and update my photos. 🙂
        Sedona and the surrounding region have always been a favorite of mine. Have you ever made it over to the Three Rivers Petroglyph site in New Mexico? If not and you make it over that way be sure to include it on your internerary. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

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