Friday, October 27, 2006

New Stand Up

I want to post this before I forget; when I started my walk the other day, I came across a stone that someone only recently stood up, along the ATV/dirtbike eroded trail that I was following, way down where the first terrace meets the floodplain...

Three views...

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I was just looking at the photos from the other day and, thinking back, I recall not only how many stone rows have dissappered, but also how the blueberry population has declined, up under those power lines.

Because I once worked in the Blueberrie Barrens of Washington County in Maine one summer many years ago, I knew the Indian custom of burning over fields on a four year cycle still continues up there (or Down East as they say).

Maintainance of the power lines and the access roads in recent years involves chains saws and herbicides that kill the bluberries that grow in the sandy soil and need a nematode that lives in its roots (see links for more detail).
In my imagination, in the years before 1700, going back who knows how far, maybe this was an area of low bush blueberries, maintained by burning over sections every four years, those sections selected and controlled by those zigzag rows of stone...
"Low bush species are fire-tolerant and blueberry production often increases following a forest fire as the plants regenerate rapidly and benefit from removal of competing vegetation. (from: )

The row leads into what is now forest...

Blueberry Links: (most often "fire pruning")

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In the Mound Swamp

Headed south, I'm up on more exposed bedrock that's covered in leaves right now...It's marked "boulder" in one drawing and "bedrock outcrop in the other...This is a blurry picture of the stone row labelled "130 degrees magnetic" in the drawing, between the outcrop and where the three rows meet.

Here's the notebook scan and a drawing:

Facing south (180mag), this row ends with a single large stone:

Here's the "End Stone."


Boulder with possible "Mesingwe Face"

The "130" stone row in the distance, a stone pile on a boulder, and the Hunter Spirit Face Boulder in the foreground...


The Panorama I couldn't post...

Mound Swamp Part One

Where was I? I was at the entrance to the "mound swamp," right at the big red dot on the map here. Or was I? Was it a swamp a long time ago? Did it become a swamp only when those big black dots that are power lines appeared in the 1930's? I can answer that question without hesitation: I don't know... I do know that yesterday I was standing where the big red dot is, looking easterly, when I took the photo above... This detail of the oldest map (1892, I think) is no help at all; it doesn't really look like the same place at all... No map shows the swamp as a swamp, so it's up to me I guess. This sort of V-shaped swamp is outlined by zigzag stone rows. It is swampy now because of the dirt road that is marked by pencil lines. The zigzag rows are disturbed by the road but they continue to the south, concealed by brush. And if I did follow them in the past, I don't remember well enough to tell you where they lead. I turned left (north) on the present day trail... Zigzag rows along the western border... ...that meet up with that black c-shaped line I've so skillfully added to the black and white copies of the topo-map. Disturbed by the trail, I think they intersected. Wouldn't you? It's an approximation; here's the row that leads to what is now an exposed piece of bedrock (covered in leaves, right now). (I'm "off the trail" now, like Gary Snyder says...) See the biggest tree in the photo? Below it is a disturbed mound along the side of the row, a small red dot on the map copy/drawing. The big stone in the foreground is a point stone of the zigzag that thought at the time was a turtle but editing this in November 2021, I can tell you it's a snake's head... The disturbed pile or stack or something... Everybody loves a panorama...except Blogger perhaps; I've tried to upload it 4x now...maybe a separate post will work?????

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Digital Mound Swamp (Soon Come)

Back in March 2006, I posted some "Mound Swamp" stuff at that had scanned photos that weren't really great photos. So Iwent back this morning with my beat up old digital camera...

People come from miles around to tear up the landscape, already scarred by the power lines sometime in the 1930's. Where there once was an old tractor path, now there's what looks like a race track...

Many of the old stone rows are missing now. Here's a zigzag remnant that shows nicely, wild low bush blueberries wearing their autumn colors...

My new hat for perspective by some of the stonework. More to follow...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More Gary Snyder "Control Burn"

From "Turtle Island"
by Gary Snyder


What the Indians
used to do, was,
to burn out the brush every year.
in the woods, up the gorges
keeping the oak and pine stands
tall and clear
and kitkitdizzie under them,
never enough fuel there
that a fire could crown
Now, manzanita,
(a fine bush in its right)
crowds up under the new trees
mixed up with the logging slash
and a fire can wipe out all.

Fire is the old story.
I would like,
with a sense of helpful order,
with respect for laws
of nature
to help my land
with a burn, a hot clean
(manzanita seeds will only open
after a fire passes over
or once passed through a bear)

And then it would bemore
when it belonged to the Indians


You may have seen these before, a few original drawings. How difficult it is to capture the whole network of stone rows that remain, untended for 300 years now, right around where I live - and where you may live too, for that matter - without walking "off the path" in some places, right along it in others...

Friday, October 06, 2006

3 Items by Gary Snyder

For All

Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.


A path is something that can be followed, it takes you somewhere. "Linear."
What would a path stand against?
"No path."
Off the path, off the trail.
So what's off the path?
In a sense everything else is off the path.
The relentless complexity of the world is off to the side of the trail.
For hunters and herders trails weren't always so useful.
For a foager, the path is not where you walk for long.
Wild herbs, camas bulbs, quail, dye plants, are away from the path.
The whole range of items that fulfill our needs is out there.

We must wander through it to learn and memorize the field
--rolling, crinkled, eroded, gullied, ridged (wrinkled like the brain) -- holding the map in mind.
This is the economic-visualization-meditation exercise of the Inupiaq and Athapaskans of Alaska of this very day.

"Find your place on the planet, dig in and, take responsibility from there."
Gary Snyder