When there is no underbrush under the pine trees you think it is the trees dripping their bitter resin into the soil and killing things off. In a natural setting, there ought to be something under the trees - blueberries, or lillies of the valley, or some kind of underbrush. I was at one place in the woods this weekend in a space that was twenty yards wide and forty long where there were no pine trees and no underbrush either. It was not a bald spot, just a place where only grass and moss were growing. In places like that you get a feeling that a lot of people have walked there and tamped down ("compactified") the soil and I created a whole fantasy about this spot in the woods.
First off, I was walking along with minor knolls and level spots, along the side of a wet breakout zone. I saw one rock pile, exactly on top of a knoll, looking out but not much more. Than I saw the first of several circular trenches of varying depths: a foot or two deep.
In this picture the outline is perhaps 35 feet across. I looked at it and tried make sure it was real and tried to imagine why there would be such a thing here. In some places the trench was a little deeper than others - the right hand side in this picture. Then I saw another:
Again, some parts of the outline are deeper than others. In both cases, the "mound" inside the trench is little above ground level and suggests rather a bit of the dirt from the trench being tossed up. But what could be the purpose of such an outline? I was thinking it might be a longhouse or a wigwam outline - but of course I have no idea what that would look like. Finally, this spot was nestled just east of a steep little hill. Later I found a third outline and tried to get it on video (I'll put this in a separate post).
I climbed to the hilltop and then down the western side. Just a few feet down, actually not more than 60 yards from the outlines, was a level bare spot with grass and moss. On each side, facing each other across the space were remnant rock piles.
The bare spot seemed naturally to be a place where people could gather or -at least- walk around enough to tamp down the soil. So that is the fantasy. Three circular outlines for dwelling places and a level spot for dancing. It might be fun to excavate a place like this.