Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Paint Your Cave, or: Petroglyphs Are Us

Well, given it's Mary Leakey's centennial (1913-1996), now's as good a time as any to dive back into petroglyphs and cave art.  

There's a great scene in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Hushpuppy is hiding in a box, drawing pictograms, little pictures that look for all the world like cave and rock art. At one point, she notes this:  "I see that I'm a little piece in a big, big universe. And that makes things right. When I die, the scientists of the future, they're gonna find it . . . They gonna know, once there was a Hushpuppy."

And, judging from the above cover for Keith Harvey's poetry book Petroglyphs (2008), we're gonna know that once there were creatures that look a lot like bison, buffalo. That once there were herds of bison that covered whole areas of North America, from as far east as North Carolina (we once lived by Buffalo Creek) to as far west and north as Alaska.

That people can see petroglyphs, cave art and other evidence; that there were people living before us, way before us; that here we are now, looking at the traces they left behind. Mind-blowing, really. 

Today's Rune: Signals.



jodi said...

Erik, there are petroglyps in the thumb area, but I've not yet checked them out!

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana and I saw quite a few petroglyphs on our trip out west a couple of years ago. Just sent a chill up my spine to see them.