John & Anne Wiley

2014/01/13

Totem

I’m not just fascinated by rock formations. I also harbor a fascination with that fascination. Why is it that when flying over areas seldom seen by humans, I’m entranced not just by the beauty of the entire scene?

0369 WildScape

0369 WildScape

Few people wander beyond the thin strand of highway winding from Santa Maria in the distance, through a pass to Cuyama visible out the other window (not in this pic of course). I like the gentle (plenty of flat open landing spots) wildness of it and the fact that just off the road are totems only visible to hikers and aviators.

0371 Totem

0371 Totem

This one is probably visible from the road, because I’ve seen cars parked at the curve apparently enjoying it from afar. A few hardy souls even apparently make the climb up to it because I could see some trails. But beyond it are more totems that may seldom be visited.

0403 Forgotten Totems

0403 Forgotten Totems

Did these formations once have meaning to bands of people or lone explorers wandering this region? How many people know of them now? What about this hidden collection of totems where water seems to have once flowed in abundance?

0406 HandHold Rock

0406 HandHold Rock

That large rock at the bottom even has a row of what look like hand holds carved out. Maybe by hands, maybe by water?

What of this garden where several small boulders rest atop larger ones?

0410 Totems? (click=Larger)

0410 Totems? (click=Larger)

Did people place these in the last few years, centuries, millennia; or were they somehow deposited there by natural forces? Do many of us find such totems evocative of our relationships with self, other, ancestors, and nature? Does my enduring fascination with such things reveal mingling in my nature along with modern and scientific consciousness, some mythopoeic quality?

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