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07 May, 2011

Butte Cracks

I know, the title sounds so immature, so butt humor... So me. But it's really in reference to a chasm through a butte, which I now know to be a cone-top hill, because when you leave the small and uncreative terrain of the eastern seaboard, you have to learn these things.

But still, "butte" is still just Frenchified "butt." Look it up.

Recently, a cute butte caught my eye. Breaking the monotony of a plain, giving me that come hither look. Any time a natural feature of the landscape prevents the human eye from sweeping past, the archaeologist should check it out. We bipeds have always headed for such places, the intriguing island, the surfacing of deepness hidden beneath the surrounding sea of sand.  Windbreak, vantage, source of usables and edibles.

And this one in particular interested me. I'd just been to another, not very far away, finding certain traces of past visitors. This one stuck out more on the horizon, and as I approached, the allure grew. A giant crack came into view, and even my camera saw something special, a sphere of light. When I looked up to the sky, the clouds turned a funny kind of yellow (no matchstick men, though), brush-strokes of an indulgent god presenting a canvas for whoever happened to be standing at that point, that instant.

Meanwhile, back on the physical plane, where I was supposed to be doing archaeology, the butte still drew me. That crack was unusual in these parts, although I'd seen plenty back in Hawai`i, where bifurcated tumuli abound, chasmed cones and cracked domes, sometimes leading to caves. Maybe this was a similar place, gateway to the underworld, or at least a place to crouch out of the sun and wind. Maybe just an exposure of tool rock (which may not sound so exciting, but for thousands of years, people had to make do without road cuts to reveal geological offerings). 
So I continued on, drawing closer, which is when things started to change.

The cheery yellow drained from the clouds, some turning dark as others growled with flame. Without the dazzling distraction, the crack was revealed not as a natural anomaly, but a hideous scar. Men with machines had ripped into it. Searching for who knows what, there pretty much only being basalt, which is as abundant as wind and sage in this locale, and a hell of a lot easier to get to and haul off in any number of other places. 

Wind moaning through the crack sang of sorrow and pain. Someone had succumbed to CAT fever here, machining through land just because they could, because diesel used to be cheap, because it's state land with nobody watching over it. Why not rip it up? Maybe Killdozer had been here. 

Nobody else had been here for a while. It was beginning to feel too lonely, too isolated. This wounded hill was trying to draw me in, recognizing kin of the human who'd torn into it with tungsten alloy blades, and hoping to lure him close enough to swallow him. Maybe the butt crack had been all wrong, maybe it was the other end, the maw of some stony monster, a cross between the Thing and those giant worms in Dune, or whatever that movie was (I may drop a comic book or sci-fi name now and then, but really I have no clue. Please, internerds, just write me off as hopelessly clueless; mock my ignorance amongst yourselves, and do not write to correct me.)

The spell was broken. My hypnotized advance stopped. If there is ever a reason that I need to go survey that hill, some acute butte study required, then I will gather what courage I have and do it. 

But in the meantime, I'll avoid this hellvent hellbent on revenge, with its jagged stone and roiling clouds of flame.

1 comment:

  1. Hee. Speaking as your personal internerd by blood: of course you don't need correcting. It sounds like you found worm sign the like of which the Devil has never seen.