Several thousand years ago, a tribe of native Americans worked at constructing a lodge at their home near the shores of Blue Lake, a part of what would be, one day, Lake County…
With a grunt of gratification, Bear Killer drove the last wall pole of the lodge into the ground. The framework was finished. Duck Catcher was busy at his task of sorting the withes the women had brought. He paused in his labors to study the wall.
“It will be a good House,” he said eying the work with pride. The wall poles and those that framed the roof were tied securely with strong fibers of the reeds that grew near on the shore of Clear Lake. Duck Catcher had cut most of the poles and, careful of his work, had chosen only the straightest and strongest. The poles were all the same diameter. The vertical poles stood two feet apart, and they were ready to cover the building.
He finished sorting the strong, whip-like reeds for the walls and the roof to make sure they were strong. The tough fibers would hold the thatching. From long experience, the women, who knew their job well, would commence the business of interlacing the thatch every two feet between the uprights on the walls and over the roof. The still, partly unfinished, open frame of the twenty-foot-wide and thirty-foot-long house-to-be, resembled a ten-foot-high wooden cage.
Bear Killer shook the pole and gave a huff of satisfaction. The wood was buried deep in the dry soil away far enough from the wet sand of the shore and the marshes. It would endure. “The walls are ready for the withes,” Woman-Who-Sings, announced to the several waiting women. Duck Catcher, a shorter version of his brown-skinned friend, was already at work finishing the walls. He stopped and grinned widely as he stretched, pleased at his work. His back, sore from bending over the withes for so long, was of small moment. The women, Laughing-Girl and Woman-Who-Sings, stopped near the halffinished structure. They lay down the bundles of grass that would make the building secure from the strongest winds and heaviest rain. They smiled. It was good to see the task nearing completion and to see the men pleased with their work. The two women had been busy gathering the grass for the thatch all morning. Adding the thatch to the walls was their right and their responsibility. They took pride in their work. Duck Killer balanced on the poles waiting to take the thatching material from the women to make the roof weatherproof. The last of the roof poles had been placed at forty-five degrees on the center ridge pole.
On a bright summer morning, in 3500 BC, the giants in the earth below Lake County stirred. Near a place in Lake County, that would, one day, be called Blue Lakes, the work of the twenty members of the Pomo tribe was about to be rudely interrupted. At that moment, from the south where the mountain stood, there came an ominous rumble. Seconds later the ground heaved in violence and continued to shake like some great warrior giant had the earth on his shoulders and was trying to rise. For what seemed like an eternity, the four Pomo fought to keep on their feet and avoid the falling timbers. Duck catcher, still perched on one of the roof beams, fell to the ground with a whoomph of surprise. Laughing woman was thrown against the heap of grass.
” Earthquake,” Bear Killer shouted. The two dozen villagers, within shouting distance, were already doing their best to survive the cataclysm. One screamed, “The Mountain speaks.” It was not Konocti that was erupting. That old woman of the world was past such adolescent dancing. Lake County shuddered from the quake as the sliding of the rocks beneath the ground finished the work. As if introducing a second act, lava and ash spewed out to create a new mountain like that at Cobb and the other dormant volcanic mounds scattered around Clear Lake and Lake County. The sleeping planet had shifted in its sleep once again… as it would continue to do every two or three thousand years. To crown the show, a city-sized mass of land rolled away from Cow Mountain with a long, never-ending rumble to slide relentlessly down and across Highway 20. Already, the earth blocked the stream flowing from Clear Lake to the sea. The soil and the rocks moved like wet concrete, slowly, to cover the village and rise ever higher and change the slope and descent of the highway that would, one day, carry automobiles between Lakeport and Highway 101.
The landslide created many changes. The direction of the waters was different. Cold Creek Canyon was blocked. Once a stream in the bottom of a deep canyon, the canyon filled and became a series of deep blue lakes. This will not be the last of the quakes as the planet continues its small adjustments and renovations.
Next Week: The Hollow Mountain.
Lake County History. $32. (includes. Tax & Shipping)
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