A park ranger told me that when he moved to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, one of the largest, most intact early Pueblo settlements in the Southwest (dating back to at least 1100 A. It became a pastime of his, like morning yoga, to go to particular spots where at certain times of the year he knew the sunrise would be dramatically framed by shapes on the horizon.He kept track of the first shoestrings of light slipping through arches and boulder gaps, tracing them to where, for a moment, they touched a pointed rock tip of hole in the cliff wall.At the time the heath was over 380 hectares (1000 acres) in size, but in the 19th and 20th centuries much of it was destroyed by open-cast mining for ball clay.During the Second World War and for a short time after, the site was used as a training ground for American soldiers.Every 18.6 years when the moon reaches its northernmost point on the horizon — an event known as the Lunar Standstill — the full moon of that winter solstice rises directly through the narrow gap between the towers.The top of this butte, with a perfect view through the towers, happens to be crowded with masonry circles that mark subterranean ceremonial chambers known as kivas.Last night I stood outside at about pm, daylight hours having drawn notably longer, and I saw that the sunset was now firmly in the house of the La Sals.I was beginning the first steps of feeling at home, knowing where I was in the spin and swing of the heavens.
The whole landscape was a calendar and people recognized it with their art.
The Battle of Bovey Heath, a regionally decisive battle during the English Civil War, took place here on 9 January 1646.
The site holds one of only two earthworks in the South West dating to this period; it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
With a calendar and Google Earth on my computer, you’d think I wouldn’t need the horizon any more, but I find I need it more than ever.
After 15 years living in the same house tucked into the West Elk Mountains of western Colorado, I moved this winter a few hours southwest into mesas and canyons looking from the edge of Colorado into Utah.
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Bovey Heath is a 32 hectare (50 acre) area of heathland between Bovey Tracey and Heathfield in south Devon, England.