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  • The Grain of the Moon

    It is not uncommon for today’s full moon to be called Hunter Moon.  A few nights ago I camped in the tall sage near an old corral.  Two hunters crept along, dusk, in their truck down the rocky road. We talked a bit. They, looking for mule deer, outfitted in full dress camo, kindly apologized for having disturbed me. I, seeking landscapes of rock art, in dusty fleece and levied twill, wished them well.  Though I don't kill animals.  Nor eat meat.  We each have our ways of being in this fleeting world, of looking and seeking.  What we give and take beyond our grasp.  Under the silver waxing moon and golden rising sun, I was lucky.  Circles embracing the grain of the moment. Laden, ripe, holding forth.

    Two Circles. Petroglyph images in the Washoe-Lassen borderlands, the country northwest of Pyramid Lake.

  • Rising in the Southern Salish Sea

    During the misty mid-June day I took this photograph in Case Inlet, an eastern bay of the Southern Salish Sea, the tidal swing was nearly 14 feet. A swing of 18 feet is not uncommon [1]. In the photo the tide begins its rise from a minus low.

    A different kind of sea level rise will mark this shore in a profound way in coming decades. As a “mid-range” projection a permanent rise of two feet is predicted by the end of this century [2]. Eventually the boulder’s twenty circles will disappear by barnacle, erosion, and/or inundation. Does it matter? Many lives and species will have been dramatically decimated by that time given current trends. How does this pending catastrophe matter? [3]

    Meanwhile these circles story forth. Messages of cycles we moderns are unlikely to decipher, or indeed heed, except in general speculative terms [4]. To my knowledge this is the only petroglyph in the Puget Sound area that is entirely circles with no apparent iconic referencing [5].   Listen for a moment in this time of change

    [1] By comparison the tidal swing that day in Florence, Oregon, was 7 feet
    [2] Not counting the increasing flood risks. See: http://www.climatecentral.org/ Also:  http://www.climatecentral.org/pdfs/SLR-WA-PressRelease.pdf
    [3] The Anthropocene project: virtue in the age of climate change by Byron Williston (2015 Oxford University Press ) is a sharply provocative and convincing examination of the approaching catastrophe. He explores the ethics and morals of choice and denial. https://byronwilliston.com/
    [4] There appears an absence of formal documentation of this and a nearby petroglyph boulder, though a flickering of images appear on the internet without details. Its age or purpose is unknown. Some speculate that this type of imagery in sea-edge or riverine zones is related to abundance, as supplication or as gratitude. Little proof of intent exists.
    [5] Though many of the few Puget Sound petroglyphs are composed of circular elements, often suggesting eyes and faces. There are two locations I’ve visited on the Oregon coast with carved circles on sea-edge boulders: An Oregon coast boulder

    Circles Boulder in Salish Sea

  • Sharp the Dark. Quick the Light.

    Let the snake wait under
    his weed
    and the writing
    be of words, slow and quick, sharp
    to strike, quiet to wait,
    sleepless.
    -- through metaphor to reconcile
    the people and the stones.
    Compose. (No ideas
    but in things) Invent!
    Saxifrage is my flower that splits
    the rocks.
    - William Carlos Williams, A Sort of a Song*

    In petroglyphs circles may weave in and out and through gatherings of elements - vague figures, abstract suggestions, ever-abiding.  Images loosely pecked or abraded drift, layering with time, softening, fading, weathering.  Change whispers its spiraling tale, with it some of what we do not yet know floats before us.

    Solstice. Full Moon. Seasonal Rounds.  Sharp sight of the Dark. Quick gift of the Light.
    Selected circling petroglyphs visited in 2015

    *Appreciation to Jarold Ramsey for leading me to this.

  • The Necessity within the Circle

    There is a difference of feeling between saying "the circle is a scientific or philosophical idea" and saying, "the circle is an archetypal idea." Archetypal adds the further implication of basic root structure, generally human, a necessary universal with consequents. The circle is not just any scientific idea; it is basic, necessary universal. Archetypal gives this kind of value.  James Hillman [1]

    We arrive to circles with a point of view.  A tension arises. Circle scribing universal form. Circle embodying a particular meaning for the people of a specific time and place.

    The value Hillman alludes to arises not from interpreting. Instead, holding close to the image. This allowing is to enter the circle. We may intuit a commonality emerging from the shared heritage of our human minds. Beyond that, as he says: “An archetypal quality emerges through (a) precise portrayal of the image; (b) sticking to the image while hearing it metaphorically; (c) discovering the necessity within the image; (d) experiencing the unfathomable analogical richness of the image.” [1]
    [1] James Hillman, “Inquiry into Image,” Spring, 1977, p 82.  (As cited in A Blue Fire, edited by Thomas Moore, 1989. 26-27.)

    Album: Petroglyph Circles
    Below, "Necessity within the Circle"  Hart-Warner Uplands, Lake County