I was at tax school in Belfast, Maine, last week, where I built my tapered spiral two years ago.
On my last night there, I had some time to get out and do some stacking. The first thing that stood out to me was that I remembered specific stones from my last visit. Across time and space, words and experiences, the elements of a past build have remained in my mind and heart. I began working though the light was failing, slapping bugs and slipping on the slick rocks. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish and photograph before nightfall, but I continued in the hope that the stones would stand against the tide as it filled the bay that night. You can see from the pair of night shots I’ve included that the rhythmic element of the stack was complete at this point, and I was frankly already pleased enough to leave it as it was. I took my few grainy night shots and walked back to the hotel as the tide threatened to lock me off from my passage back to my hotel.
I returned the next morning to find that my work had indeed remained in spite of the waves; I believe I lucked out with a gentle tide. I considered starting a new piece, but on adjusting a few of the top elements of the previous night’s work, I felt the need to continue. The work became at once paleolithic in expression and classical in form. A semicircular depression emerged as I thought of the stack as a vessel for the fog and rain that surrounded us.
Funny. I’ve just typed “us” unconsciously; somehow the rocks can feel like a person, sitting there with me on the shore. This work consistently spoke to me throughout my labor, suggesting possible routes, new material considerations, techniques I don’t standardly use, principles unexplored. The end result of the thoughts poured into me by the stones of Belfast was less impressive to me than the changes the thoughts had on my insides. I’m going to explore some new things as time goes on. I have four specific things I want to try; we’ll see. I’m glad I had the chance to rediscover a briefly inhabited past.
While I lucked out on the build, I didn’t do so well with the weather. It rained intensely throughout my work that morning; though I spent some time holing up in a small boat shack I snuck into, I was soaked to my core upon returning to my car. As it was our last day, I didn’t have any fresh, dry clothes to change into – what a fool. I bought a new shirt at reny’s, as the one I wore felt… horrifying when wet, but I stuck out the rest of the day with soggy pants and underdrawers. Luckily, my socks were quite dry, thanks to my water proof boots.
Wear good boots. Always wear good boots.