by Richard Thornton, Architect and City Planner
Almost immediately beyond the rear of my humble mountain cottage, the terrain drops sharply into a 100 feet (30.5 m) ravine then continues southward for about 1200 feet (366 m). The ravine is not much good for agriculture, as is, but I do see a lot of interesting critters . . . mainly deer, bears, turkeys and bobcats. However, one chilly winter’s night, I heard a bunch of turkey’s squawking. A bunch of them were standing in a row on that long fallen oak that you see in the photo below, just before my house, but actually it’s about 200 feet from the house.
There was a strange looking cat trying to scare the turkeys off the tree by swatting at them. He or she was much bigger than a bobcat . . . had body proportions like a mountain lion, a long skinny tail, but spots like a jaguar, but was smaller than a mountain lion or a jaguar. I later figured out by looking at photos on the internet that it was a jaguarundi . . . which is not supposed to live north of southern Mexico. I put out a photo on Linkedin and several people confirmed that a considerable number live in the Southeastern United States. The state wildlife agencies don’t want to admit it because it would be a lot more work for them. However, in 1700, explorer John Lawson mentioned such a cat being common and you can see it in the art of our Creek ancestors!
Now I knew there were some folks messing around here on the crest of the mountain a long, long time ago. There is a boulder just beyond my property line, carved in the shape of a coiled snake with a Mesoamerican man standing on one side.
Also on a nearby property, there is an ancient stone circle.
Not only that . . . but I can look out my eastern bedroom window in the winter and see about a mile (1.6 km) away a really huge stone oval that is identical in every detail to the stone ovals, built in Scotland about 5,000 years ago. You go figure!
Well, anyway folks, in late October 2019, Hurricane Zeta blew down several large oak trees on my property. One of them would have smashed my upstairs bedroom flat, had it fallen toward the house.
I have not paid much attention to the trees that fell down farther back on the property . . . until today. My two herd dogs and I were hiking in the ravine. I happened to notice that recent heavy rains had washed a lot of the dirt off the roots of a large oak that fell during Hurricane Zeta.
I started looking closer and closer at something that was not wood. There appeared to be a stone entangled in the roots.
As the dogs and I walked closer and closer, the stone appeared to be a man-made shape! It was about 20″ (50.8 cm) . . . perfectly square and about five feet (1.52 m) long.
When got close enough to touch it, I realized that it had a carved fluting on top and what appeared to be symbols carved into the sides. Sheezam!
The ancient history of the Nacoochee Valley just got weirder than I had possibly dreamed.
That’s my Creek Indian fireside story for February 20, 2022.