By F. Patrick Stehno

Photography: Frank Jensen,

Exceptional locations in Utah emanate power, sacred since antiquity, where energy flows from a confluence of canyons, an entrance, a passage through a range, a portal to the other side. These surfaces beg for a human touch, chert chisel, antler scratching, smear of ochre pigment mixed with urine and saliva blown across fingers spread wide, influenced by light, revised over generations, centuries, millennia, kin groups, family units, hunting parties, tribes ranging, foraging. Sun-bleached, weather-beaten, repatinated. We view this rock art, this pictograph or petroglyph, this complex of panels depicting zoomorphs, anthropomorphs, cyclical calendars, and wonder what it represents if not some time-foreign language, some archaic alphabet, some vision from a shaman’s hallucinogenic dream. What might comprehension bring to us, descendants down the ages?

F. Patrick Stehno, Nebraskan, moved west in 1979. A lifetime writer, he worked in exploration geology, writing novels and chapbooks, publishing in Steam Ticket, Misbehaving Nebraskans, SLAB, Comstock Review, DASH, San Pedro River Review and 3rd Wednesday, among others.