Saturday, July 18, 2015

Time for Reflection

Wade and I with "Tripod"
Day 12 (7/17/2015)

Today was a day of reflection. Eileen had the day off so the three of us went out early to beat the heat. We had heard it was going to get into the nineties and it did. After yesterdays disappointment I was eager to at least get “Tripod” back standing. As I have stated many times “Tripod” is one of my oldest builds and has survived in different incarnations for eight years. Perhaps it was because I was working on this build or because of yesterday’s carnage or possibly it was the old man who stopped us to ask if we were the people who did the building on the trail or maybe the article that a friend had sent me written by a lady who condemned the building of all cairns that I started pondering once again why I have spent so much time and effort building something that at best may last a few months. When I started eight years ago I wrote a manifesto of sorts. My goal was to exercise my body and mind by making daily excursions, riding for exercise, building cairns to exercise my creativity and writing about it to stimulate my brain. At first I only built with stones and had a goal of having one hundred standing cairns at some point. That was before it occurred to me, not by accident, that some people would actually knock them down and in some cases find them an abomination. It was about this time that a lovely church lady started leaving notes on how I could be saved and that these may be false idols. I returned her baggies with notes assuring her that I meant nothing religious with my building but that I appreciated her concern for my salvation. As these things go at some point setting up rocks to have others knock them down became tiresome and somewhat futile. At the time the trail was littered with an abundance of old weathered railroad ties and I figured what could anybody possibly find wrong with sculptures made of large wood beams. The exercise potential of lugging around these hefty objects was tremendous. At this point I started developing some ground rules. The first and most important was to use nothing that did not come from the trail. I also try to pack any litter out that is of the trash type. I am always amazed at how much litter is left on the trail. The second was to use no tools or fasteners to hold them together. If cord or twine has been provided by the trail I have on occasion bound stuff. The third was to not get caught building them. This one has kind of fallen by the wayside since many of my students and community members know anyway. Also, we now occasionally take guest builders with us and it is just easier to forgo the dashing off every time a bike comes along. It sure was fun in the old days though when I would have to exit a build site to evade being caught. Finally I try to make the trail better than I found it and promote creation as recreation. Through the years others have left their own builds much to our delight. I have come to look at the trail as a sketch book with the builds being maquettes that are continually challenging my sense of aesthetic and structure. Since the eighties most of my art work has been about recycling in one way or another and these are just an extension of that vision. The repurposing of objects found on the trail which will later return to the general ruble but for a brief moment represent something more inspired has a poetic circularity to me. I try to situate the builds so that they become flashes of something glimpsed for a brief second in passing, something that is obviously man made but yet organic. This was especially important when I was building in secrecy with the idea that they would just appear overnight.  Many take on an identity to me but often it takes several rebuilds before I start to associate certain characteristics while others are instantly an entity. The last two years since Wade has started going with me the building has sometimes become secondary to exploration and discovery. We now spend more time with chalk “coloring” as he calls it. It certainly has had its own rewards. It is impossible to know what the future holds and how the process will evolve. Because of its nature it is in constant flux and that alone keeps me doing it.  
Giacometti Build

Wade and Eileen

New Tripod

Wade loves Water

A Labor of Love

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