Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10: Dwellings (of sorts)

Who lives here? On a hike through the woods today on a conserved property in Lincolnville, I came across this den. Do groundhogs live in the woods? It's about the right size for them. A little discovery like this always gives me pause, makes me wish I were more woods-wise. And there's that part of me that wants to stick my arm in the hole and see what's in there...

Deeper in the woods, near some of the largest trees I've ever seen in the Midcoast (ash, pine, aspen) and a striking patch of glowing white baneberry, we came across this interesting stone structure.
No one had a clue about what it might be. The opening doesn't go in more than three or four feet, so it doesn't look like a place where something would have lived, but perhaps the rocks at the back of the opening caved in at some point in the past.

Here's a photo with people to give some perspective:
Property owner Rick Ledwith (top) and Orvil Young
Others on the outing suggested that it might be a lime kiln or even a burial mound of some sort. It made me think of purported sacred sites made out of stone that I remembering hearing about in Vermont: "megalithic mysteries." I was reminded of Skara Brae, a prehistoric stone village I visited in the Orkney Islands of Scotland when I was a kid. There's probably a more practical explanation for this interesting structure, such as its being a crude farming shed: these woods were lined with old stone walls indicating that the area had been pastureland around the end of the 1800s. But I prefer to imagine that inside that south-facing opening one might find runic carvings on the stones or perhaps discover that it aligns with the sun's rays on the Summer Solstice.

Or, really stretching my imagination--maybe it was a dwelling for wood elves. Maybe it still is. Such crazy thoughts added a little more mystery, a little more wild magic to these woods so close to a major road and several houses, bisected by a snowmobile trail and power lines. And that feeling was only enhanced by the haunting call of a loon on nearby Megunticook Lake.

Never really tamed,
these woods still harbor strange caves,
poisonous berries.

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