Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Southern California

    I once lived for a brief time in a sleepy little town by the sea in Southern California, back in 1978. I've gone back a couple times only to find those chaparral covered hills on the other side of the Freeway filled with houses. Last Friday, I just happened to drive down from the City of Orange, with my wife and my niece, to Laguna Beach to look at artwork and the ocean (and to buy a new hat).
As I drove into Laguna Canyon, it was if the landscape suddenly spoke to me - not a voice, exactly, but some sort of call that promised that there was something to the turtle-like shape of that boulder, that there was something more ancient than most people suspect about that little stone row, that this landscape was (is) something special. I don't remember signs for the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park back in the canyon I clearly remembered driving along many years ago, but there they now were at several parking spots along the road. I didn't get to explore this time, but perhaps a future trip will allow me to, perhaps in the company of my son who lives not too too far from there...

I did wade into some Google searches while finding myself still on East Coast Time while everyone else was sleeping, using those rock piles terms and all the variants, adapting them to the locale. There were many surprises and here are two of them, both from a book I could have read when I lived there:
Fig. 2.—A painted rock, once a woman, on which two sacred stones are poised.
Kroeber writes: "One of the most striking rocks in this locality of ancient monuments is the painted rock, Exwanyawish which was one of the Temecula people, a woman, who turned into this form. Indians suffering bodily pain rub against the rock to obtain relief. It is not known when the painting on the hollowed side was done, nor when the sacred stones, wiala, were poised on top. The oldest man remembers that they were always there, though the touch of a hand might overturn them. Pl . 4, fig. 2.)"
Kroeber then continues with: "In those days they used to sing songs to kill each other by witchcraft, and Lucario knows these songs. He has one of them which mentions the turtle rock, and tells how it was left there.2" The large flat rock is divided by cracks which resemble the marks on the turtle's back. Lucario is the last of his line, party, or clan, and everything sacred will be lost when he is gone, as the succession in these things ends with him. He is dispossessed from his ancient home place, which was allotted to another.” (Kroeber, 158-9)
This may or may not be the same Turtle Rock in a community of the same name in Irvine CA:
I suspect that there may be many Turtle Rocks to be found
(depending on how many you might have time to look for).

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