Thursday, December 22, 2016

Uktena at the Bald

Above: You step up from the present day path that interrupts this zigzag row of stones, up by the northwest corner of what I think of as the "Mound Swamp." You step up and you feel it with your feet, the big flat dome or "bald" of bedrock just below the leaves and debris of fallen branches.
I imagine that back when the Pootatuck were maintaining their Homeland landscape with fire that this was kept clean - firewood gathered and afterwards a low ground fire was set to keep it free of leaves and unwanted brush, yet encouraging the "wild" low bush blueberries (that are still present) to grow and actually boost the yield of the plants. Below: The Yellow "You Are Here" dot shows about where the photo was taken, the black and grey line at 10 o'clock of that dot is the zigzag row of stones - and if it's been windy enough, that rough oval of contour lines is exposed bedrock:

For well over 25 years now, I've occasionally visited this spot, sometimes just looking, sometimes observing and sometimes even both. For about 10 years I've been posting images, drawings and conjecture here or at Rock Piles - and on a Sunday after a NEARA meeting in Danbury CT just before the turn of the century, I visited the site with Peter Waxman and Norman Muller.
And I suppose you could say in those last 25 years I've been unlearning everything I'd been taught about New England Stone Walls in the first 25 (or 30) years of my life, especially the serpentine and zigzag ones. Recently, I've been looking at  identifying characteristics of the actual rattlesnake most authorities say is the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
(even learning some of the scientific names of certain scales) and comparing those diagnostics of rattler identification to the stacking method, Serpent Stacking, that I think I see/observe in suspected Indigenous stonework.  
Sixteen or seventeen years ago, I didn't imagine that I'd come to be pretty certain that some (maybe most) of these New England Stone Walls should be considered to be the Great Serpent Petroforms of Turtle Island. When I took that photo above, I still wasn't as positive about that snake business - or that these larger effigies were composed of the other smaller effigies I seemed to be observing. These Great Serpents are composed of other serpents and all sorts of other "beings" of all sorts, often represented in other forms of Indigenous artwork, the Native American Iconography, these large artifacts that are sometimes taken for granted...
And I guess "represent" is the wrong way to say it.
Just like saying "decorative" about a "design" on Indigenous Pottery.
These "walls" are The Great Serpent, just like zigzag quillwork on a deerskin bag is the power of lightening and water and, well, the Great Serpent...
These Great Serpents are made of other smaller Serpents, stacked on other Serpents, mixed with turtles, bears and deer, birds and and human or maybe spirit faces, stacked in a way to resemble scales or sometimes markings, and even some that seem both markings and scales...

So looking at the 2006 photo above, at the stone in the center that just caught my attention, observe: the carefully made (rather than a "tossed or dumped" collection of stones where a Snake Rail Fence stood on a small low dome of bedrock below a thin cover of duff) zigzag or serpentine row of stones at the trail's edge. 
  Observe: the "largerish" triangular flat topped "large cobble" or "small boulder," where existing trail meets the existing row and making me pause as I write this to wonder how old that well worn trail or path is at this where, to the best of my recollection, there's crumbling soil just below those lower-most stones at the edge of the truck and tractor tire tracks - human and deer tracks too. 
Observe: the symmetrical placement of the stone, at a high spot on the ten foot segment, pointed end forward so that does accurately resemble a rattlesnake head...
Observe: the little protruding ridge of stone over a depression on the sides of the stone, much like a rattlesnake has a superocular/supraocular scale above the oval eye. Has this stone been shaped so that it may have been someones intention to make it more accurately resemble a rattlesnake head... ..
Observe: does it seem as if the stone behind the suspected head stone be used to hold a set of antlers?
Observe as I am writing this: the lower stone is tilted at that slight angle, The Uktena "Strong Looker" Style, who knows your intentions when you walk by on the higher side of this stone row... 

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