MesaI have been thinking about my current modern civilized lifestyle versus a more primitive lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer or pastoral nomad. It started on a recent visit to Mesa Verde in southwest Colorado. Here with my sister and nieces we visited early villages built into the rocks dated around 1100-1300. They are beautiful to see both as a wonderful reminder of the past and their incredible setting high in the cliffs with views 50 miles out onto the plateau. But in reading the history these relics are just the very last remainders of a very ancient culture they call the Ancestral Puebloans. The earlier people had no structures and were nomadic. They moved in rhythm with the seasons and were hunter-gatherers. Their life was much different than the agriculturalists who built the cliff dwellings. The early people had more time away from the fields of labor for one thing. Mobility was also an important part of the older culture, though it took more land to support this. I can see many advantages, more time for culture and family, less work, plenty of movement and variety, fewer possessions to maintain, better physical health. But I believe there was one main disadvantage that led them away from this lifestyle — risk. These people had to live day to day, week to week with great uncertainty. There was no store of grains to support them should supplies dry up or if the hunt was poor, no fallback position. They ate what they could kill and gather. This was a cost for the lifestyle they preferred. The hunter-gatherer still exists somewhere within me today, the desire for simplicity, movement, physical agility, more time for family, and a sense of living in the present. All very positive things.


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