Stacks of desert rocks dotted the sand, piled high and straight. Each painted a different color of the rainbow, each the size of my head or bigger. But in the early morning light, my guide and I noted in silence how around the toes of these rainbow pillars, the light pink and the light blue rocks lay scattered about in the sand. My guide frowned, his mustache twitching.
“Are they always like this?” I asked. The sun had not yet grown hot, but I could feel fingers of warmth tickling my spine as it crested the horizon.
“Not at all,” my guide replied. If anything, he looked a little green. “The ancients meant for all the colors to support one another, as we all support one another.”
I stalked around the cluster of pillars. Those still standing looked faded and weather worn, but the blues and pinks each featured a dent in them, exposing raw, fresh color to the air. “Looks like someone hit these very hard. Hard enough to knock them out of the stack without upsetting the rest.”
My guide hefted one of the pink rocks in his hands, regarding it as if it could speak to tell him why this had happened. “The ancients placed these pillars here long ago. We have guesses, but we don’t know much about the colors’ meaning.”
“Can we put them back where they were?”
“Not without help.”
“We can’t leave them like this.” The sight of such a targeted attack left my stomach wrung out.
“We’ll get help,” my guide reassured me. “After.”
Before we went back, we stacked the pinks and the blues at the tops of each pillar. That felt right. That the other colors should, for a moment, support those which had gotten knocked down.
That felt right.
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