Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wayland Hills - one rock pile in the snow

I went out walking twice over the three day weekend and did not expect to find much. Yesterday I succeeded in finding one rock pile (and a neighboring rock-on-rock) on the southwestern side of "Wayland Hills" - a conservation area. It was about 10 F degrees out with a stiff breeze. But in the trees, walking on a solid crust of snow, it was in fact a very nice day out. I was happy to see other cars parked at the trail head parking lot.

Here is a rock-on-rock adjacent to the larger pile shown above.

This small "site" sits at a place on the hill where you can look down a gully towards a wetland, across the road, to the southwest.

I was pretty pleased with myself for finding a rock pile. Sometimes I imagine hunting and bringing home food for the family. This rock pile is what I call a "the family will not go hungry tonight" sort of find.

5 comments :

Tim MacSweeney said...

One day long ago, up at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington CT (http://www.birdstone.org/), I went to a "Story Teller's" sort of event.
Among all the stories was one about a young hunter who never had good luck and often was the object of jokes about it from the people he lived with. One day as he passes a stone, the stone speaks to him and promises good luck if the young man gives -the story teller said "feeds" - the stone some tobacco. The young man has good luck and the group he's camping with comments on it, asking him how he changed his luck. He tells the story, no one believes him, and he's once again teased by the group. This happens again and again until eventually some people secretly follow him and hear the stone speak; from then on the other people start offering tobacco at this stone and that's how the tradition of sacrificing tobacco before a hunt began.
I've never seen this story written down, don't know where it comes from as far as which Native People tell it (neither did the story teller whom I've never seen again), and I've never heard it told by anyone else with similar details.
Sitting in the audience, with photos of stones that sort of speak to me figuratively, the very first of which was that Bear Stone Tobacco Offering Rock, and hearing that story made me feel just a little strange indeed...

pwax said...

And why, you ask, does Tim tell us this story here and now? Should I offer tobacco before going out hunting rock piles? (Unfortunately, since I quit consuming tobacco, I do not trust myself around it.)

pwax said...

You guys are supposed to comment to the effect of: "ooh! you found a rock pile".

Tim MacSweeney said...

It was the last paragraph - "I was pretty pleased with myself for finding a rock pile. Sometimes I imagine hunting and bringing home food for the family. This rock pile is what I call a "the family will not go hungry tonight" sort of find..." that reminded me of the story.

I actually do offer a little "tobacco" at my finds, as some of my Indian friends recommend. It's not always store bought and can be red sumac (the favorite ingredient to add to Lenape kinnickinick) or Lobelia "the Housatonic River People's Kinnickinnick or Tobacco," as I've read in local histories.

And "Ooh! you found a rock pile!!"
And I mean that sincerely!
If I'm not out there looking it makes me feel better if I know you are, and that's why I check in almost daily...

pwax said...

Thanks.