Thomas Doty – Storyteller


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At the Heart of the Universe

In southern Oregon, Upper Table Rock and Lower Table Rock are alive with stories, and there is room for more.

In Takelma myths, the rocks are the Dragonfly brothers, Elder Daldal and Younger Daldal. They traveled up the Rogue River from the coast preparing the world for the arrival of the Indian people. At the end of their journey, they became flat-topped mesas at the center of the Takelma universe. Geologists tell how their creation took millions of years as the Rogue River carved and eroded ancient lava flows. This process left the Table Rocks standing 800 feet above the valley floor.

The rocks have several native names. When speaking of the myths, they are the Daldal brothers. Where they stand in the valley is called Dat'gayawada, the "ribs of the animal." When describing how they look from the river, they are Titanakh, "rock above." A nearby village is called Gwenpunkh, "east of rotten trees."

The Table Rocks are dramatic in their diversity. Some folks walk their trails for spiritual connections to the native world, some for expansive views of the Rogue Valley and surrounding mountains, or for a glimpse of that semi-mythic pooch Coyote. Others seek out the blazing beauty of spring wildflowers, the rare fairy shrimp in the vernal pools or dwarf wooly meadowfoam that grows nowhere else in the world.

Each visitor to the Table Rocks gains an experience worth sharing. At the heart of the universe, there is always room for another story.