Thursday, December 01, 2016

Found Snake Eyes?

The craftsman who built this wall perfectly accommodated glacial boulders that lay in his path.

    “I have to say that the most impressive sight on this part of the day’s trek was completely man-made—one of the most beautiful stone walls I’ve ever seen. It ran for some distance along part of the Acorn Trail in the middle of the woods and far away from current homes. And it was very different from the typical stone walls one often sees in the middle of forests (and everywhere else) in this part of New England. Those walls are the byproduct of land clearing and evidence that someone once used—or, this being New England, attempted to use—the land in the vicinity for agricultural purposes. While lovely and long-lasting, most of those walls appear relatively haphazardly built. Not so this stone wall! This wall was a work of real craftsmanship. It was uniformly tall and wide—maybe two feet across—and almost perfectly flat on top. Someone had taken care to fit the stones together tightly as he constructed the wall, laying the largest stones at the very bottom and using increasingly smaller stones as he built upward. Especially fascinating to me were the several glacial boulders that lay in the path of the wall and which the wall builder had perfectly accommodated. When was this wall built? Who was this craftsman? I want to know more!”

     It’s as if almost everyone forgets that in the long stretch of time between glaciers and New England, Indigenous People inhabited the Eastern gate of Turtle Island. Those “stone walls” may rather illustrate how those cultures viewed, managed, and spiritually connected to a “three tiered” landscape as well. Fire came from the eyes of Thunderbirds or Thunder Beings in the form of lightening. The sound of thunder was the voice of the Great Serpent who controlled the rains that put out the fires. The Thunder Birds lived in the Upperworld and associated with high places. The Great Serpents lived in the Underworld, traveled Underwater.
See: Horned Serpent: “Only a few Wampanoag representations of horned serpents have survived, but they seem to have been substantially the same as in other Algonquian tribes: giant snake-like water monsters with horns that lurked in lakes and rivers and ate people. In the Wampanoag tribe, horned serpents were associated with Cheepi (Hobbomock), who would sometimes take the form of a horned serpent.”

      I look for cultural clues in “stone walls” that might suggest an Indigenous origin for what might be better described as a geoglyph or petroform that recalls the Great Serpent.

     A boulder such as this one should be quite obvious as a clue to a row of stones of Indigenous origin rather than associated with farming activities on the estate of the first Puritan minister in 1760:

     When I look at the carlisletrekker photo above, I note a flat-topped triangular boulder very similar to the shape of a rattlesnake head, further suggested by some human enhancement to resemble two eyes below a large thin long supraocular scale casting a shadow in the photo above. I’m also reminded of a similar stone at the terminus of a zigzag segment of “stone wall” in Woodbury CT:

Another nearby, a stone row border for the wetlands and an upper terrace (within a mile or two, I think...):

At the forward point of a zigzag (note the wooden rails - what's left of them...):

This one is sort of free-standing:

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