Friday, June 12, 2015

Ai'nt got nothing like that 'round here!!

   I saw this post the other day, maybe yesterday, on the Face Book page of the Connecticut Archaeological Society, prefaced by the grammatically strange statement in what’s called a status box, a ghostly little thing that appears at the top of each page asking “What’s on your mind?” sometimes or “Write something…”

  A credentialed CT Archeologist wrote: “Ai'nt got nothing like that 'round here!!” and provided (pasted) a link to
Archaeologists find vast medieval palace buried under prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum, just as pictured above (You copy and paste the URL and Face Book turns it into a preview photo and some text for you, an easy thing to do).

   More than anything else, it made me feel sad.
   I’ve got these wandering feet that have taken me many places in (what is now known as) Southern New England since I was old enough to do so that always were and still are best described as a “Wonderland.”
   And the first thing I thought of to reply to this post was something like, “Yes, we do! Open your eyes!”
   It’s just a question of being open enough to see past that same old rhetoric about “stone walls” (and “stone piles”) as exclusively post contact constructions, really opening your eyes and mind to the obvious differences between a “tossed row of stones resulting from field clearing” and a carefully constructed Petroform Serpent (or memorial pile) containing certain elements of style or design found in other Indigenous artwork, created sometime in that other 97% of time that humans occupied what they called Turtle Island.
   I understand how most people are most comfortable repeating what someone else has said about just about everything. So do those people responsible for what you hear and see on your television. Why do you think they call it “programming?” Original thoughts are harder to come by and it is just so much easier to repeat something you heard.

   I suppose that fellow’s statement in one sense is true: we don’t have any English medieval palaces ‘round here. I’m not going to post up something about America’s Stonehenge but rather a place that I know well, the first place I thought of that in some way reminds me of that Ol’ (Olde?) Sarum illustration, something I used here:
   Those lines of defensive walls at Ol’ Sarum remind me of the Serpent Petroforms illustrated in the inaccurate lay-over above. And you may note well the power lines in the lower left corner, a disturbance to the bigger picture of this Indigenous Cultural Landscape below the present one.
   A fanciful overlay, also very inaccurate, that I don’t think I used anywhere else:

   Left to right on the hillside, sometimes called Nonnewaug’s Hill, there were decorated balds of outcrops, a rockshelter sort of out crop, a little green blob that represents two massive oak trees that might relate to the Treaties of 1700 (maybe even earlier, like 1672 when the English arrived) and 1710 and the blue representation of a waterfall (really a series of three falls), all above some first terrace areas of land still used as hay fields, bordered by Serpent Petroforms that functioned as fuel breaks as well as with the power of the Great Serpent(s) that sometimes suggest control of the weather, above the former horticultural fields that were not appropriated by the English in 1659, had to wait until 1734 when the last Indigenous inhabitants began gathering at perhaps Schaghticoke (or perhaps even farther away). It’s an incomplete picture of course – there is so much more up there and all ‘round here, radiating outward, always something of great wonder just beyond every “stone wall” I walk along on this inter-connected landscape created by generation after generation of Indigenous People created over 12,000 years or so.
   I do indeed feel sad and maybe the kindest thing to do is to is to invite you (and any archeologist who might either be just as adamant that there “Ai’nt nothing like this ‘round here!” or has seen something similar somewhere else – like perhaps the Ceremonial Stone Landscape up by the Great Falls (Turner’s Falls) in Massachusetts – to come take a look at just what still is here near the Late Woodland/Contact Village of the Nonnewaug Wigwams by the Old Connecticut Path.

   I might even take you to see this Tobacco Sacrifice Stone I once showed you a photo of:

There is something 'round here, different yes, but it's a kind of Wonderland in it's beauty:
Leaves fall from the trees and a Wonderland appears
You can see the long distance stretch of rows of stone
Snake through the wounded forests of this part of Turtle Island
And I wonder, “What was gathered there?”
And I wonder, “What song was sung in Thanksgiving?”
And I wonder, “Who lit the sacred fire
That sent prayers to the Creator and the Spirit of the Deer
Gathered in that Sacred Circle of that Sacred Fire?”

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