a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Cave

The cave lay close to the top of a dry creek that cut through the mountain side.    The solid rock bed held perfect circles where grind stones had been cut and removed long ago.  Traveling for at least a quarter mile up to the left the cave became visible.

No one knows how long this cave has existed nor how long it has been used.  No one tried to guess. It has been known longer than my father's grandfather knew.

It was an outing for the family to screen for artifacts along the strong creek bank, picnic in the grass, explore the cave shelter and even swim.

On a school day when I was not allowed to go Dad and Uncle Bill decided to explore.  In the cave they moved a large flat rock thinking maybe it had fallen from the ceiling.  They soon discovered it was a carefully placed stone covering a lone burial spot where a man sat upright with arms around knees that hugged his chest. They carefully respectfully replaced the stone, notified an archaeological department within a college and guided the archaeologist to the site.

Dad's only request was a report of what they discovered.  He only wanted the knowledge of the time, the tribe, the man.

No word ever came.  We never visited the cave again since it seemed disrespectful to do so.  The days along the creek ended and our knowledge of what lay above the beauty gave us pause to visit.

I shall not name the cave, nor the creek, nor the road.  The land has been purchased by a company that gobbles land like cookies, crumples the empty bag of what once was and abandons it with no regard for what they have destroyed for gain.

I may be the last to know where the rocks turn toward the cave, the last to know what once was.  I will not tell.   May the memory be buried with time since the place may already be covered with sand.  To the one we disturbed, forgive us.  To the one who removed him, may the kept knowledge rot your brain.  To the ones who raped the land, may you know the feeling of being stripped and exposed to the world.

When we are gone and the land has healed may someone discover my secret and honor the past as we have done.  May you listen with an open heart and discover the story the lone member of some forgotten tribe tried to tell us.

19 comments:

Arkansas Patti said...

What an interesting story. Have to admire your family's insistence for showing respect. Think my curiosity would have made me badger that college for information.

Buttons said...

Oh Gail I am at a loss for words. Well its me so that never lasts long.
I found this fascinating I love and hung on every minute and every syllable of this story.
It makes me sad that a company is gobbling it up it makes me happy that you can pass down all those stories to your children and their children and especially us. Thank you for sharing. B

SaucyKod said...

Its sad that your Dad did the proper thing by reporting this to the archaeological department within a college - you figure these people would have at least contacted your Dad about the remains. I guess the old rule of "DTA" comes once again. Its kinda really sad for this person's resting place was disturbed with only good intentions. Sorry this took place for your Father Gail, but its just a true example of what happens. Sad to think the one who removed him, kept the knowledge to himself or perhaps used the find to credit himself or perhaps more. In keeping your land, keep its secrets and pass them down to your children and grandchildren - continue to share your stories - we have some land giants like that here too - they strip the land and leave it bare, with only the thought of the money they made.
Greedy souls they are.

camp and cottage living said...

Gail
This is such a sad story. I understand your disappointment and anger!
It such a shame that your Father di what was right and then in turn was not even given the respect and information he deserved.

Sandra said...

as i read this oh so interesting story, i kept thinking, is this one of Gails tails? or is this a memory from the path. i believe it is a memory, but you could easily turn this into a very good short story.

Primitive Stars said...

That is so sad.....love to hear your stories though....keep them coming, Francine.

TexWisGirl said...

i kept wondering the same thing - memory or story.

Farm Girl said...

Wow awesome. I read a book about a cave like that once. Only it had three ancients in it two men and a woman, since the story happened before America was a country they were very old, they were giants with European features and they were lying in a row next to each other and they had weapons like the person who found them had never seen.
He did what you did, he left it as it was.
In the back of the book the author went on to describe what else he found and talked about bias that he found and how so many of ancient artifacts were being destroyed because of what you just said.
I think about it so often. The book was really old and it was written years and years before I was born, so I wonder where it was too. Great story.

McGuffy Ann said...

My grandmother had a similar experience as a child, also with an unknown and unresolved ending. There were so many underground and hidden caves. "Progress" has done away with so much history and important parts of life.

Brian Miller said...

wow what a cool story....i used to go caving as a kid...we found a huge network of caves and would spend all day sunday down in them exploring...dangerous but exciting....

Country Gal said...

What a wonderful story I was on the edge of my seat ! It is a shame when companies move in and never think or take in the consideration about the history of things ! Still you have wonderful memories and stories of it all to tell and in that it will live on forever ! Have a good day !

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Gail, I'm sorry!!! I forgot to come follow this blog so I could keep up with you. Epic Ninja fail...

Empty Nester said...

I thought it was a story at first and then I thought that it's a memory...well? :) Regardless, I loved it-especially your words of the last two paragraphs. Perfect!

Sandy said...

Your Father and Family have shown great respect for the burial site of the fallen, Native or not. Thank You

Josie Two Shoes said...

If only everyone shared your respect for the land and the people that called it home before us. "Progress" is so often a misused term. I believe that the spirit of the man discovered in the cave is well aware of the intentions both good and bad on his behalf, and is pleased that you choose not to further exploit him. This was a really good story, I enjoyed reading it very much!

Susan Kane said...

What a discovery. Can't imagine the wonder. May the ones who lay him to rest, be at rest themselves. May the ones who stole his mortal body discover their own mortality. May the people who desecrate the land find no place to walk in peace. Grrrr.

LindaG said...

Awesome post!

Lynne said...

Another one Gail! A treasure . . . buired.

SaucyKod said...

tried to comment on this post "http://embasonartcorner.blogspot.com/ This address has piggy backed my reader's list. I cannot remove. I cannot contact. Any suggestions? I have reported to Blog but you know how effective that is!" - I would have someone fix the computer, so no one can piggy back on your computer - do you know a computer person that could do that around there? And what's up with Blogger - they should address this issue and get that person off your back - I never heard of anyone piggyback on your readers list. Does this mean they can hop over to our readers lists too and also piggyback, like a virus to all your readers as well. Hope you get an answer to this Gail - keep us informed. OK
I tried to leave a message on the actual post, but when I opened your post, it was gone?

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