Rocks Talk Part 2

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by Mark Edwards

Here is another facet to my rock story.  I originally wrote a post on a Facebook site called Prehistoric and Historic Iowa.  The site had numerous posting showing large collections of mostly arrowheads and predominately human manipulated rock tools.  The exceptions were posts by new hunters asking if the piece they found was a real artifact.

I watched responses from the administrators dismissing their pieces as just natural if they didn’t fall into the realm of the self-appointed experts.  It was sad to watch the people dismissed, relying on self-appointed “experts” and seeing their “finds” or pieces disregarded as not authentic.  Some of their rock examples clearly showed faces and manipulations to accentuate a particular animal.   When some asked about what looked like a drawing or picture on the rock, they were called plow marks or glacial incisions.

I posted the picture of the heron fishing rock as an example of artwork.  I have seen numerous, beautiful depictions of other animals in many styles.  One example is this rock whistle.  The whistle clearly has the silhouette and shape of a frog.  It was so clear to me when I found it that I spent the day admiring it.

I had a toothache that day and reclined against a tree in the sunshine overlooking a beautiful natural spring-green wetland below.  I found the frog crouched in the tree root beside my hand.  We were just over the edge of a hill where a community of Indian mounds resided.  The mounds had been wounded, violated, looted, dug into and the dirt thrown over toward the edge of the hill.

I knew earlier the mounds were here because of the importance of the place itself.  I had found numerous artifacts in the area.  It had been a popular campsite with fresh food and weather protected along an interstate river connecting thousands of miles in a wildlife corridor for centuries.  I assume because the rock whistle wasn’t recognized as an arrowhead or a tool it had been discarded as trash.

This frog fossil didn’t come from a Walmart or an Amazon delivery.  That rock had been treasured by someone and placed to hibernate in the mound.  This place had taken care of and protected people for hundreds of years.  I knew the mounds; the place and all its inhabitants were still of value.

I found a two-inch long Honey Locust thorn and was picking at my swelled, infected gums trying to relieve the pressure.  I also used the thorn to pick away at the dirt stuck to the rock.  As I poked the tip, a plug piece fell out and this beautiful red ocher, “the blood of the earth”, bled out onto my lap.

I had unleashed something.  The exposed hole went through the rock to the other end.  I then found other holes connecting to the chamber and started blowing on them to clean them out.  Shockingly, the rock whistled at me to pay attention.  The sound said something I could hear clearly.


As I continued to blow on the end of the rock and move my fingers covering various holes, I heard a flute-like whistle which was immediately responded to by a Red-Tailed Hawk 15 feet right over my head.  Was the hawk hunting the frog?  Telling me to pay attention?

I looked at where I was blowing and realized it was the mouth of the frog where my lips were pressed.  I was kissing the frog and it was talking to me.  I could go on in great detail how intricate this rock was and the various sounds.  Yet, even more exciting are the times I have set and breathed into the frog and the sounds seem to call other beings.  A community rock concert.  This is the art of rocks.

Now for the heart of the story.  Two days after I posted the picture of the Heron fishing rock, the post and picture were removed.  I was shocked.  Why was my gift to encourage other people to see rocks as more than a tool, trophy or arrowhead removed?  The administrators offended me, others and the rocks by trying to deny, censor the beauty, the art of the more-than-human world.

I realize I must have offended the administrators of the site and others who though I was shaming or dictating to them that they shouldn’t take home the rocks.  That was not my intention.  I just wanted to share MY relationship with rocks, herons and frogs.

It was to share a way of looking at the world, the wildness, the letting go of expectations, not having to possess something, of trying not to limit and control.  It was to acknowledge “otherness” as having their own value beyond our hearing or comprehension.

We need to expand from seeing ourselves as only humans and jump into the more-than-human world.  This is the world we really live in, the world of relationships, a community where we all reside.

Kisses to you.