Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Walking in the steps of the Ancient Ones

Today I awoke to a lovely, warm, Spring day and I decided to go on a hike through the Powell Property, a nearby undeveloped parcel owned by California State Parks. Starting into the property from the trailhead, one first encounters this nice little clearing with logs to sit on and ponder things:

Trailhead entrance

Walking in a short distance, I came across this little brush shelter someone had created. It seemed too small and open for a sleeping shelter, so I am inclined to think it was just built for shade:
Brush shelter
This is a nearby former volcanic peak called Hollister Peak. It's part of a chain of 7 such peaks in a line through this valley. They are known as "The Morro's" or also "The Seven Sister's". I was struck by this lovely view of our Earth Mother & Father Sky. We should all have feelings of profound awe and respect and love for the gift of nature that we've been given.

Hollister Peak
The recent rains made for some water in the little seasonal creek. The Willow grow here, and sometimes I harvest a piece for a project or to dry for a bow drill set:
Creek bed

This parcel was the site of a very large ancient aboriginal village. The village location is covered with middens...heaps of broken shells from many generations of native peoples processed shellfish:

The oldest dated human found hereabouts to date, was dated back 13,000 years. Many generations of ancient peoples harvested shellfish and shelled them here using stone and bone tools. They also buried their dead in these middens, so it's a burial ground as well and one should keep that in mind, respect those native peoples, and not dig or disturb the earth.

Large Sea Snail shell atop the midden

While exploring the parcel, I found some colorful rocks. The top right 2 stones in the photo below have some marks that indicated to me they may have seen use as tools:

Stones found along trail

Here is a closer view. I am thinking the left stone may've been a little scraper. It has some tiny flake marks along the leading edge suggesting it was worked. The Serpentine stone on the right has worn striations that look to me like it was used to sharpen bone hooks or some pointed tool:
Possible primitive tools
Kit for the day was simple. Handmade leather belt pouches. I love making and using my own personal gear. For me, it makes each outing much more special. In this photo below, the left pouch holds my pint USAF water flask and a few food items; the center pouch holds my LEATHERMAN SUPER TOOL 200; the far right pouch contains my PSK tin. at the bottom is a little neck knife a friend made for me from the leg bone of a deer I helped him field dress:

Traditional kit

I like putting the snake totem on my traditional gear. I run into them a lot on the trail, so I have kind of adopted them [or they me]. I used to be afraid of them but now, as a visitor to their home, I have realized I am the visitor, that they intend me no harm if I have respect for them and their role in nature. Native American people's consider the snake a powerful spirit animal, that represents healing and life changes. Snakes don't have eyelids so they are considered wise because they see everything.

I love walking here, knowing it was inhabited by generations of ancient peoples who walked that earth and I can walk in their footsteps.I don't move any faster than I can see, smell, and hear everything and silently place each footstep on the earth. It took 2 and a half hours to cover a mile today. But I heard bird songs, saw woodpeckers at work, squirrels running through trees, and beetles trudging in the sand. You have to become a part of it.

As always, show that respect to the earth and wildlife whose home it is and bring back more than you took in. I always carry old cereal box liners...super tough plastic and great for collecting litter. I easily got a pound off the trails while woods cruising:
Trail collected trash

When woods trekking and observing nature, you should walk slowly, with reverence, and allow all your senses to take in the beauty around you...don't rush through it...we do that too much in our modern world and it runs us. You have to let it come to you. Wildlife will also allow you to come closer if they sense you have a peaceful spirit and are not there to harm them.

The Navajo people have a prayer that's part of their Blessing ceremony that speaks to this, to let go and allow the beauty that surrounds us to come back to rejuvenate our tired spirits:

"In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again."


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful write up and awesome pictures. Thanks for picking up trash and helping to keep our mother earth beautiful.