Barbed Wire and Brown Skulls by Loren Eiseley (Original title People Leave Skulls With Me, 1951)
Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery August 29, 2017
Are you fascinated by skulls? Some people believe skulls are Nature’s sculptures. Or maybe, speaking philosophically, life’s true face is a bony skull. I am drawn to crystal skulls and have a lovely pink one on my writing desk (an inspiration for writing my novel The Dazzling Darkness, which features a crystal skull).
These days we can read a lot about crystal skulls being a doorway to deeper understanding about ourselves and our planet. The famous crystal skull named Sha Na Ra (or known as Max) is one of the few crystal skulls in the world that has been scientifically examined and proven to be truly ancient. Skeptics abound, of course. But just taking the idea of skulls—human or crystal—we have an abundance of facts and fiction that continue to attract readers and stir our imagination as more than just art.
Today we have a story about a human skull, a subtle haunting, and a collector in Loren Eiseley’s Barbed Wire and Brown Skulls. Come meet Uncle Tobias and the brown skull. Eiseley takes us on a personal visit.
“I could see Uncle Tobias’s long-hidden relic staring back vacantly at me through the glass door of the cabinet. It would never tell its secret, but it had one. It had a secret and so had Uncle Tobias. And I? Perhaps I was a keeper of secrets.”
Author Loren Eiseley was an American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, who taught and published books during the 1950s to 1970s. His scientific and nature writings are contemplative with a poetic style.
Read Barbed Wire and Brown Skulls at Story of the Week, scroll down to PDF or GoogleDoc for full read: http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/2017/08/barbed-wire-and-brown-skulls.html
Here’s a quick peek into the mind and philosophy of Loren Eiseley: The Star Thrower.
The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
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