Friday, 29 July 2011
a hell of a place to lose a cow
We've been out to a place called Rainbow Bridge. My assumptions were that the colours in the rock formations would explain the Rainbow and then the arch formed by the wind erosion would explain the Bridge.
I was therefore delighted when we'd been there for a few minutes, to look into the sky and see a strange rainbow stripe across it. Not like a usual rainbow arch, but instead a straight line showing a spectrum of colours. I did grab a few shots and I'm pleased to say that the colours were also picked out by the camera.
I shall have to puzzle how this works, probably something to do with the bowl shaped canyon that we were peering into and a particular time of day. Or else its the native American gods of the area painting the sky.
The area is part of Bryce canyon, named after Ebenezer Bryce, one of the early mormon settlers who clearly had a sense of humour with his famous quote about the area.
The much earlier settlers, the native american Paite Indians, had a different story for the place. They told that it was a valley where the Legend People (to-when-ang-wa) lived.
They were of many kinds - birds, animals, lizards and such like - but they looked like people. For some reason, the Legend People that lived in that place were bad. Because they were bad, the Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now, some standing, some sitting and some holding on to one another. You can see their faces, with paint on, just as they were before Coyote turned them into rocks.
And as if that wasn't enough, by sitting still, I was then visited by a Raven, another mystical being from the old stories.
The Raven started as a snow white bird, but changed colour to black bringing the elements to mankind. He stole the Sun, Moon and Stars, fresh water and a brand of Fire from where they had been hidden by the mankind-hating Gray Eagle when visiting his lodge to see Gray Eagle's daughter.
The Raven fastened the Sun to the sky and used its light to fly to a far island where he hung the Moon. Then as the Sun set, he arranged the Stars in the sky. Next day, he dropped the fresh Water at a good spot where it became the source for all fresh water.
The Raven still had a brand of Fire in his bill and as he flew on it made his feathers black from the smoke. Eventually it was too hot to hold and he dropped it, where it struck stones and was hidden within them.
That is why, to this day, if you strike two stones together, spaces will fly from them. The Raven's feathers never returned to white.