Ancient Monuments as Old as Earth Itself.

Bluffs along the Buffalo River in Arkansas
Bluffs along the Buffalo River in Arkansas

They are almost everywhere you look.  They are as common to the Ozarks, almost, as trees.

They look like ancient sculptures, or fortresses, castles, or monuments.

These are the limestone bluffs that line both the highways, and the creeks and rivers.

They are stone sculptures that sometimes look like human faces carved out of rock.

They are, at times, massive, and at all times, beautiful.

Jory Sherman
Jory Sherman

In the wintertime, these bluffs grow beards.  Beards of ice, beards of crystal. I saw a Santa Claus beard the other day.  This illusion is from the water that seeps from the ground onto the stone and freezes in midair like miniature frozen waterfalls.

Sometimes, these bluffs appear to be man-made, carvings that became castles or ships, forts along a long-forgotten highway in Italy or France.

They line the banks of Beaver Creek near where I live, and the slough beside the Sough Hollow road.

Some of them run, at intervals, from Harrison, Arkansas, clear up to Branson, Missouri, and beyond.

Each section of bluff is distinctive.  On some, you can see the grooves where the enginners drilled down into the rock to set explosives.  They blew the rock away when they built the roads and highways through these green hills.

At times, I can see human faces in the uneven surface of a stony bluff.  But, no, the weather, the wind and water, have carved out those facial features, shaped the uneven rock into semblances that might have been chiseled out by a sculptor.

Some of these bluffs are massive.  Some tower over the land like ancient monuments left behind by a vanished race of people.

At other times, they are small and shrunken, as if the limestone gave out during some long-ago ice age.

These hills are the oldest in America, and the bluffs have recorded layers of history in their sedimentary formations.

You can see time in the various colors that make up the history of the region.

They attest to the ages of earth along with the cataclysmic upheavals, the heating and cooling that took place over millions of years.

There are monoliths and megaliths, and, perhaps, other liths in between.

Yes, these are ancient monuments to our past.  They are a testament to the explosions of stars and the debris spewed out by a super nebula as it was blasted into dust eons ago.

Monuments indeed.  And part of the many faces of the Ozarks.

Part of eath’s history.  Part of ourselves.

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Jory, no one has the ability or emotion to capture the beauty and essence of the Ozarks better than you do. I have traveled the Buffalo River and have seen those bluffs, those ancient monuments. And the sight of them remain with you forever.

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