Arts

Guardian of the Ancient Trail

Here’s a trail leading from an ancient camp at the foot of a mysterious canyon complex crisscrossed by deer trails, cool with water in a hot land, and sprouting berries and herbs. Forget the trees. They’re weeds. The stone is the marker.

As you leave the camp, it watches you go.

As you turn back, look at how old its upper reaches are and how newly-exposed its base. It fell off a cliff, not that long ago. Note the figure sticking out its tongue on the right, near its base, and the complex figures combine fish and moon higher up. The lichens on this rock likely spread a mm or so a year, but we are looking at many generations of them.

Someone lives under this thing.

Still, thirty metres away along the trail there is a rock that has picked up soil lichens, long long ago. Note how they break off and form new colonies, just like the rock did above. 

I think that if the roads of Northern Europe can be formed by creating passageway between military, trade and spiritual centres, and if the culture of Europe is formed out of that net of connections (as is the culture of the state of Canada), then the connections between these bare stones on a grassland hill at the mouth of a shelter and hunting space in nlaka’pamux territory, is filling a parallel role.

These connections, however, rise from a land the colour of blood. It would surprise me if they did not form a small corner of a large map. It would not be one that led into geography. There is an art to reading it. It — the land — is in other words art. I don’t think I’m out on a limb here. Compare to this image from Switzerland:

Laténium, Hauterive

The marks were added at various historical points, by pre-Celts and then by Celts.

Of the many monoliths left by the glaciers on the naked body of Switzerland, many were chosen to be monoliths. Others were not. Here are some of the chosen.

There was, obviously, a reason for choosing, a lost art, so to speak. Currently, work is being done in Switzerland to compare chosen and unchosen monoliths to see if the art can be recovered. I think it would be a lot easier here. Just up the canyon, for instance…

It’s like walking through your mind. Each step is a thought.

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