[Fosc] history

Mark Rauzon mjrauz at aol.com
Thu Dec 6 09:05:04 PST 2012


With the creek lapping at the banks, i thought i'd share a story from FOSC's early days written by Michael Thilgin:


How the Stone Circle Came to Be


One afternoon long ago, Coyote was was walking through the hills of what we now call Oakland. It was a hot day, toward the end of the dry season, and dust kicked up in little clouds as he walked along the trail. Coyote had gone a long distance looking for food, but he had found little to eat that day. 


The trail  led him around a bend, and there in front of him was Sausal Creek. Of course, it was a long time ago, and the stream wasn't called Sausal Creek then. But it was the same stream  we know now. 


"Good!" thought Coyote. "I'm really thirsty! I'll get a good drink of water. And I can usually find something to eat at the creek. Maybe one of those squirrels... but what I'd really like is a nice big fish."


Coyote remembered this place where he had seen the fish come to spawn earlier in the year. He had tried to catch one then, and he might have, if that big bear hadn't come and chased him off.  


The trail led along the top of a steep slope above the stream, and as he walked, Coyote saw "There!" a big fish jump. Coyote left the trail and ran straight down the hill. In his haste, he lost his footing and rolled down and down, until, wham! He ran right into a big boulder. The rock was perched on the edge of a cliff, and Coyote hit it hard - hard enough to knock it loose and start it rolling. As it fell, it hit some other rocks and started them rolling as well. They all came to rest in a circle beside the creek. Coyote forgot about the fish, and went off looking for herbs to help with his headache. It was a long time before he ate again. 


Later the people came to the bend in the creek. One of them said, "Look! Nine stones in a circle! I wonder who put them there?" The stones were a good size for sitting on, and arranged nicely by the stream, so the people made a camp there. They caught fish and made acorn mash, and they made a fire in the middle of the circle to cook and warm themselves.


For years after, they would visit this place and stay by the creek. 


One time there was a great rain storm that went on for days and days. For a few hours it rained especially hard. Then the creek water rose, and washed the stones away. 


Many years later, other people came to this place, and decided to bring in more stones so they could sit by the creek. When they had finished their work, they built a fire and roasted a salmon, and they told each other stories late into the night.  One of the stories was about Coyote and the original stone circle. 


And that's how the stone circle came to be. 



Mark J. Rauzon
Laney College
Geography Dept.
900 Fallon St.
Oakland, CA 94607
mjrauz at aol.com


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