I’m not a guy who tends to see ghosts, but this kid came running across the trail and I put out my arm to keep my son from hitting him. But there was no kid. We were at Chimney Rock in Colorado, the northernmost outlier of the Anasazi culture centered at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.
These people watched the stars and the sky as carefully as those who built Stonehenge in England, and the structures at Chimney Rock were their most advanced observatories. In July of 1054, a star in the Crab Nebula in the Taurus Constellation went supernova, and for about a month became the brightest object in the sky, other than the sun and the full moon. It was visible even during the day.
What would that do to a star-gazing culture? How would that imaginary boy who ran across my path react to it? What if he grew up and became a pivotal figure in the rise and fall of the Anasazi empire?
Since 2002, my imagination has been on fire with these questions, and I have researched the Chaco phenomenon and the Anasazi Indians who lived that culture. Now I write stories that give living flesh and emotion to the bare facts that archaeology gives us.
I am writing a novel that tells the story of this boy, Tuwa, who ran across my path at the Village of the Twin War Gods, grown into a man. This blog is where the side stories of that novel live, short stories and flash fiction about events and characters in support of the long-form story.
I’m interested in what you think about the Anasazi. Do you think they truly disappeared? Why? Where’d they go? What kind of society do you think they had? What do you think they valued most? How do you think they’d react to the sudden appearance of a bright new star that was visible during the day but faded over a month?
Jeff Posey, Anasazi Storyteller