Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, on the access road to Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Newspaper Rock is a curious mound, an erratic in the manner of Uluru – a mound projecting from a sandstone wall, covered in petroglyphs that range in age from 2000 to 100 years old, made by a number of groups from the Anasazi to the Navajo.  I saw this first in the mid 1980s on a driving trip to the four corners where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado meet, in a single point.  A surveyor's dream.  

In those days the American landscape was completely graffitied.  At the time in Canada highway crews painted over all the tags beside the road with carefully matched rock-coloured paint, so in contrast US highways were very noisy with much crude writing. 

Newspaper rock seemed of a piece with all this drawing on stone; an even array of mark-making.  We have given over our ability to make drawings to a variety of professionals.  We don't write any more, everything is typed, we don't make little drawings much: graphic design and photography is so pervasive.  Graffiti on the side of railway cars is the only thing in my environment these days that is personal, hand-done, anarchic. And this is something of a shame.   We should all spend the weekend with a pencil in hand, making lots of little marks on paper.  It would be very interesting to see what it is that we actually draw.