“Look behind you,” Veronica said. I stood up and saw a pink ceiling covered with faint handprints. Handprints of varied sized decorated the wall well above our heads. Large masculine handprints next to tiny childlike prints. We stood shoulder to shoulder in silence as we contemplated the people who had left these marks. I imagined families dipping their hands into pigment, feeling the cool wetness of homemade paint between their fingers, then pressing palms to grainy stone. “I feel so connected to them right now,” Veronica whispered. “The handprints are so…human.” I held up my hand to one print, the fingers ended where my fingers ended, the base of the palm curving where mine curved. It was the same. Palm to palm, the unique ridges of our hands almost touched across centuries.

Bears Ears National Monument, Utah.

Photo by Veronica Palmer.