Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Cliffs of Pareidolia

and the "J. Trail Manitou"
     I didn’t plan on stopping, but as I was driving home from the DMV, I was about where the car is in the photo when the stone row – boulders on some bedrock – caught my eye. I'd driven by a million times, stopped here before, but the light hit it just right and I thought, "That's the beginning of a Stone Serpent." 
   I didn’t recreate the image, the view from the road – too many trees blocking the illusion of a stone snake to capture it properly. It’s the way it happens sometimes, your brain putting together images you can’t get a photograph to show. It’s like you have an image of an impression that really is blocked by trees but your mind sees around them to put together a picture or something like that.
   But as I pulled over, I looked up on the outcrops just beyond this spot and thought I saw some stones stacked up on one of them. Interesting, I thought, maybe I should take a closer look at that...
    I couldn’t scramble up this obvious cut into the bedrock, all steep and wet with water dripping from a vein in the rock, so I walked on past.
    That’s when the Pareidolia hit me. In this obviously newly exposed bedrock (within the last couple years), I came face to face with, well, a face:
    I know – Pure Pareidolia – unless some State Highway worker or sub-contractor did this on purpose, of course. Maybe a wandering stone artist happened by and thought it might be a good spot for this - but probably not...
   I got closer to the boulder row suspected serpent to take this one:

     Imaginative Overlay: an eye and some antlers nestled into the stone behind the head stone:
     A few views of the beginning of this “wall” that snakes its way down the valley (shown in some older photos and a post I can’t recall the names of right now), a web of stonework that continues for hundreds of feet, interconnecting with other rows of stacked stone of all sizes:

 Above: maybe a rattlesnake fang; below maybe some turtle imagery (a bird even?).

   I saw one boulder that rose up higher than the average height of the “boulder row.” Some call this Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape Feature a "Manitou Stone."

   But I had to go up to that stack I thought I saw, eventually stood up close and thought “Just a natural formation.”
But then again, here and there were some rhomboidal stones...
Just like there was one by the Big Manitou Stone by a smaller Manitou Stone:

Maybe it was someone's pareidolia, seeing "something" in the natural stones that inspired the deliberate stacking of certain chosen stones in a certain way...
Maybe human hands long ago chipped and pecked and polished some "details" into the already suggestive stones, now weathered and encrusted with lichens, almost forgotten but not quite, since I'm feeling a bit of mystery as my imagination dances between pareidolia and purposeful intentions... 

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