Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.

O&P's Current Pick:

Forging the Sampo

Odious' Links:

The Little Bookroom
The Pumpkin King
Larissa Archer
Inverted Iambs
Eve Tushnet
Pamela Dean
Kambodia Hotel
Pen and Paper

Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary
Deep-Sea News
NASA's Mars Website
Classics Online
Perseus Digital Library

Nine Scorpions
The Blithe Kitchen
Letter from Hardscrabble Creek
Arts & Letters Daily
About Last Night



Chas Clifton's Nature Blog
Rock Art Photo Blog
Girl on a Whaleship
Nature Lyrics Languagehat
Jabal al-Lughat
Laputan Logic
Strange Maps
Vladimir Dinets: Polymath Russian Adventurer
Virtual Tour of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aerial Landscape Photography
USGS Earth As Art
Panoramic Aerial Maps of the American West

The Internet Bird Collection
Bird Families of the World
Ancient Scripts
The Aberdeen Bestiary Project
The Cephalopod Page
The Ultimate Ungulate
The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
USGS Streamflow Data

Worthy Miscellany
Finno-Ugrian Music
Boojum Expeditions
American River Touring Association

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Monday, December 31, 2007
Year's End Outing with Rock Art

Here are some scenes of my last hike of the year, yesterday, in a very fine, moderately isolated canyon in western Colorado (the diligent can surely deduce the location, but my current stance is that nowhere needs any publicity whatsoever). First, the context, with frozen waterfall. The bedrock is basement metamorphic schist, overlaid by some odd red granitish stuff I couldn't place, followed by cliff-forming Wingate sandstone:

Unsurprisingly, the Indians liked this place. Inhabitants included Desert Archaic culture, possibly the Fremont and certainly historic Ute. One sees hand prints pretty often, but I was pleased to find one that strikes me as a bear print:

Some abstracts, in their spectacular gallery:

The same up close:

Historic Ute presence is clearly visible here. I hesitate to identify the beastie. The first thing that leapt to my mind, somehow, was horny toad, but it seems hard to justify any taxon with close examination:

An elegant pecked herbivore body, reminds me of the graceful forms of Old World rock art:

Another panel in splendid context:

Detail of above. Again, hand prints are common enough, but the unusual inclusion of the arm here conveys a reaching, grasping which is highly evocative. Though hardly objectivly warranted, thoughts come to the mind of desparation, clutching at the stone:

Finally, what can this engraving evoke save hunting magic? The bighorn sheep, perched in a high place, surveying the territory; likewise the artist/hunter, eulogizing his prey in stone as he too scans the canyon for another animal.

And so the author, high against the cliff, crouching and looking at the canyon, red stone, frozen stream, the tribes gone, the sheep still here.

Long time gone.

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