More Grandpa Davey Speaks
A Path with a Heart
A Stop at Willoughby
Can't Captue It
Invest in Yourself
Killing Me Softly
Leave it to Beaver
Lost in the Grand Canyon
Mind Over Temperature
Mother of all Storms
No Sense at All
Not Shadow People
Squirt Gets Run Over
The Cheapest Medicine
The Golden Calf
Ticket to Freedom
Two Types of Girls
Vaya Con Dios
Where's the Beef?
Worst Case Scenario
Sitting here pondering our lost past, I witness evidence of a
dynamic planet that leaves little of the past intact. Surrounded by
the mountains, I sit next to a lazy late summer river, gazing across
wheat fields in the flat lower valley. I realize that this is but a
temporary face shown during our experience here. Looking closer, one
can see that all is not as it once was.
Beneath my feet is sedimentary rock laid down in ancient seas,
ground into gravel by glaciers and finally into sand by the
meandering course of the river. Forty million years ago, the floor
of this ancient sea was thrust two miles into the sky by immense
geological movements. Next the ice sheet came and carved the
mountains into the jagged features we see today. As I glance across
the valley, I see the flat topped mountains of the northern Mission
Range. These mountains were sheared off by the confluence of the
Flathead and Swan Glaciers. This valley was once part of the
Flathead Trench extending from well into Canada to the lower Mission
Valley. As the ice sheet receded, the trench filled in to become
Glacial Lake Missoula. Lake Missoula’s draining is considered the
greatest flood ever discovered. Picture a dam break with ten times
greater flow than all the rivers on earth combined. Thousands of
years later, the ground is still scarred from this mighty river
coursing its way to the Pacific.
Suppose that, instead of my truck, I was sitting in H.G. Well’s Time
Machine. I would find myself hovering over an ocean, beneath miles
of rock, beneath miles of ice, under a huge lake, in a river and
finally on a peaceful riverbank. We truly live on a planet
constantly recycling itself, leaving little trace of what once was.
Aside from the geology lesson, today’s story is about our lost past.
It is said that those that forget the past are condemned to repeat
it. History is a litany of repeated stories. As far back as we are
aware, humans have been essentially the same. They share the same
stories, dreams, desires, rules and morals.
Where did this cycle start? I’ve always thought that the answers lie
in the civilization that preceded our same old, same old culture.
Many believe that we are but a remnant of a previous advanced
culture. That culture disappeared perhaps twelve to fifteen thousand
years ago. In conversation, I used to boldly state that important
secrets were to be found with the discovery of this lost past. I
also knew where to find it.
Centers of human civilizations occur near river deltas and seaports.
During the period in question, sea levels were two hundred feet
lower than at present. Look two hundred feet down in the water and
you will find answers. Underwater archeology is difficult and
expensive, so don’t expect answers any time soon.
Speaking of which, archeologists are a funny lot. They spend their
careers digging up what others have discovered and fit their finds
to preconceived theories. Unlike other fields of science, new
discoveries can end their careers. Anomalous finds should be
discarded and immediately sent to the forbidden archeology bin.
Much closer in time, and less subject to climatic and geological
forces, is the Anasazi culture of the American Southwest. The Mesa
Verde site in Colorado was discovered and worked by a rancher named
Richard Wetherill. Archeologists vilified Wetherill as a pothunter
and took over the site. What we know of these famed cliff dwellers
disappeared seven hundred years ago
had trade connections throughout North and South America
have the physical remains of their culture
Over one hundred years of study and we still know nothing of these
My favorite lost culture is the Poverty Point people. They were a
Mound Builder culture that existed far too early to be found in
Louisiana. In 1957, aerial photography revealed concentric semi
circles in a field. Still prominent in land that had been farmed for
a century, these little levees were obviously man-made. At
three-quarters of a mile across, they must have required
considerable effort to construct. The site also included a series of
Indian mounds, one in the shape of a bird. A wealth of artifacts has
been recovered testifying to the practical and artistic skill of the
large number of people occupying the site. Trade goods were found
that originate throughout North America. This includes large
quantities of stone imported from up to 1400 miles away. Probably
due to the damp climate, no dwelling or burial evidence of this
large populous has been discovered. This site dates to 4,500 years
ago. Extensively studied and still, we know nothing of these people.
What makes this my favorite archeological site is its calmative
affects. When I am anxious and can’t get to sleep, I say this “I’ll
think about Poverty Point.” With my mind clear, I just fall asleep
because, at that moment, I know nothing.
Want to know more about Poverty
Point Historic Site? Visit the
Louisiana State Parks website.