Monday, November 15, 2010
Yesterday we wondered back to the creek bed again. It is still very dry and the water was even lower than the last time we were there. There were many more leaves on the floor of the creek bed and many animal tracks telling the story of their need for the diminished water supply in our area. Deer tracks were the predominant ones, of all sizes from the heaviest adults to the tiny sharp imprints of fawns. There were skid marks where several had misjudged the slipperiness of the blue hard packed clay near the remaining pools, where they came to drink. Raccoon hand prints overlaid some of these, as did fat tracks of cows.
In one of the longer pools it was evident that an animal with a belly about a little less than a foot wide, had crawled thru it leaving a path thru the leaves exposing the sand below. Alligator? Perhaps. It is quite possible and very interesting to think so.
Mark was busy taking photographs while I was taking in the stories these footprints told. Following a trail of tracks, I ventured up the sides of the creek to visit with one of the largest two trees I have ever been around. The main tree was a cypress, firmly planted in a huge sand bar, with its roots and knees circling its base in a 50 ft. or so perimeter. Growing out of the massive root system closer to the creek was a huge sycamore, climbing towards the heavens with glowing white bark and shaking yellow leaves. These beings, albeit vegetable, were alive and were presences to be admired. I walked close to the cypress and put my palm towards the bark and felt its energy, the heartbeat of a tree. I was awed.
This cow's carcass had obviously made dinner for many a scavenger as the bones lay in a circle a good ways away from the skull, a heavy thigh bone here, and toothless jaw over there, and varying leg parts that I couldn't really tell what they were, all here and there, pulled away from the source and picked clean.
In the deep white sand surrounding the cypress giant, I happened to see a piece of whitened bone, perhaps a vertebra I guessed, sticking out of the ground. When I pulled on it, it quickly suggested it was not a mere back bone, but with a bit of digging I was able to pull the whole treasure out. It was an entire pelvis, white and unbroken, preserved by being covered with sand so that no small rodent could chew the bone for calcium supplementation. It was massive, and yet the abstraction of it not being attached to the cow, lent itself to new interpretation, and gave it new suggestion and life.
It is interesting to me that we as humans, and perhaps other animals do too, tend to involuntarily try to see the face in an abstraction. We want to recognize the face, and in seeing something with such symmetry as an upside down skull, or cow pelvis, out of context, and it is amazing how quickly the abstract becomes a personality to our brains.