The Mound: Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail 48

Bathed by the Tanase River by Beth Thompson

Bathed by the Tanase River by Beth Thompson

Take a moment to listen my reading of William’s Words, wherein he describes a friend in the language of his time, and first lays eyes on the village of Cowee:

We Couldn’t See…

The Grandeur and silent sentinel of Cowee Mound, rising from the valley floor in quiet grassy simplicity, surrounded by the Jore Mountains and bathed by the sweet mountain waters of the Tanase, nourished by a brilliant sun in the sky overhead.

I visited with a group from the Bartram Trail Conference, but even our numbers of 20 or so were swallowed up by the vastness of the land.

We climbed the mound in wonder. We couldn’t see the village, or the people, or possibly even the sacredness of the mound.

Cowee Mound with Jore Mountains in Distance: by Beth Thompson, from Beth's Travels on the Bartram Trail.

Cowee Mound with Jore Mountains in Distance: by Beth Thompson, from Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail.

The Grinding Stone

Climbing down, looking deep into the woods, we came across a boulder with holes from years of women’s labor grinding corn kernels and acorns into the stone. Suddenly, it seemed real; the village, its people, the sacredness of the mound. People inhabited this land for many, many years, long enough that the production of food and its preparation ground holes into a mighty boulder.

The Grinding Stone by Beth Thompson, from Beth's Travels on the Bartram Trail.

The Grinding Stone by Beth Thompson, from Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail.

What Speaks Home to You?

In our western culture, we honor tall towers, missles, long pointy objects reaching into the sky or flying through the sky. In short, we honor the phallus, and the sun. But here was the ancient home of a people who honored mounds, swelling, heaping, birthing mounds built up upon the land. Small wonder that we didn’t see the mound and say “Home”. Mounds, breasts, swollen stomachs, vaginal mounds, they often get shuffled to the dark side, the shadow side of our culture, as does the Earth itself.

In Cowee Vale, and in other locations throughout the Southeast, are remnants of a culture that found the sacred in Mounds, in Earth, in Plants and Animals.  But for our modern Western culture, what we need is evidence of day-to-day labor to really wrap our minds around this ancient village. What we need is holes ground into the stone, evidence of women’s labor to bring food to the table.

That is something we can wrap our minds around. That is something that Speaks Home to our culture.  What speaks home to you?

Here is an image from atop Cowee Mound in the sun, surrounded by protective mountains.

Jore Mountains by Beth Thompson, from Beth's Travels on the Bartram Trail

Jore Mountains by Beth Thompson, from Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail

Here is a Mound in the Sun, in the Light, Out from Beneath the Shadows.

Sun Atop Cowee Mound by Beth Thompson, from Beth's Travels on the Bartram Trail.

Sun Atop Cowee Mound by Beth Thompson, from Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail.

Here is the image that was the starting point for Cowee Mound Possible Perception:

Atop Cowee Mound by Beth Thompson from Beth's Travels on the Bartram Trail.

Atop Cowee Mound by Beth Thompson from Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail.

Here is a Possible Perception of Cowee Mound in Cowee Vale, part of a brilliant Sky, part of a deep Earth, and all Mystery.

Cowee Vale Possible Perception by Beth Thompson

Cowee Vale Possible Perception by Beth Thompson

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One Response to The Mound: Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail 48

  1. Pingback: Streams Murmur in the Piedmont: Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail 52 | Beth Thompson Photography

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