Journalist-explorer Paul Salopek is walking across the world in the footsteps of our ancestors. He posts this dispatch from Cholpon Ata, Kyrgyzstan.
The drawings represent—what? A question? A plea? Perhaps a prayer?
It is impossible to say. The figures carved, chipped, and rubbed into the large boulders of Cholpon Ata, a petroglyph site in far northern Kyrgyzstan, are silent. Indeed, they are steeped in such stillness that visitors whisper as they walk among them. The images are like a challenge shouted from a mountaintop—after the echo has died. They seem to await some kind of reply. They have been waiting like this for a very long time.