On Solstice evening, Dec 21, as I do every year I watched the sunset from Natural Bridges beach. I was joined by some old friends.
We blessed each other in the surf. That place is so beautiful to me.
The next morning, the sun rose over the Santa Lucia’s again.
In the afternoon, a friend and I (hi L.C.!) hiked on the Hickory Oaks trail in the Long Ridge Preserve outside of Saratoga. Our destination was these stones.
According to the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book, these stones were part of Ohlone observances of the winter solstice. Only at that time of year, does the shadow of the stone with the notch make an arrow of light that points to the crack in the flat rock. There’s a guide book that says that this rock was used for sacrifices, but that must be crap. The Santa Cruz Mountains book says that the flat rock is Turtle’s shell. Turtle went down to the bottom of the sea and brought back souls. Turtle’s shell was broken open by the solstice sun shooting through that notch, and released the souls.
When you stand next to these rocks on the top of the mountain, it certainly feels like the site of an observatory. Photos can’t convey the feeling. You need to go there yourself. On any day of the year it is magnificent.
And indeed, as the sun set, into its most southern seat, the light through the notch illuminated the crack in Turtle’s shell.
This one shows me and my friend. We’re the two tall shadows on the right. The notch rocks are the two tall shadows on the left.