Monday, June 8, 2009

Grand Finale

So the rains came. I felt torn. Part of me wanted to just keep the image of the sun-drenched tower in my mind forever, and part of me was really curious to see just how high the river would get and could the tower withstand the force? My curiosity won out. I went down to the river to see what was happening.

At first I was really surprised. The tower was still standing tall and was completely intact. The water was high, in fact the edges of the pothole were almost invisible on the upstream side. But I knew that there was still a lot of water to come down off the mountains. I came back to the river several times during this day to check on it and even though the level of the river did not come up that much during the course of the day, it was still rising steadily. Finally night fell. I grabbed my headlamp and decided to make one last journey before midnight.

I set up the tripod to try and take some shots of the tower. It was pitch black. The river was raging. The sound was very intense, like a freight train that went on forever. I took a lot of shots hoping something would be in focus. In this shot you can see that the river has come up another 7 inches or so. I carefully eased myself along the edge of the bank. I knew each crevice and edge intimately from the previous weeks work so I was quite safe, but it was still scary. I retrieved the gargoyle stones for safe-keeping. I also removed the stones from the arching bridge... those that I could safely reach. Before I did, I placed my hand on the bridge... it was vibrating with the force of the river pressing on the tower. I knew this was the letting-go time. I wished I had retrieved the little fern plant from the top, but it was too dangerous to try and get it now.

I did not sleep well that night. I kept wondering if it would still be there in the morning... but some part of me knew that this was going to end up being a gift for the river. It poured all night. The next morning I had to drag myself out to see what had happened. It was gone. Completely underwater and washed away. This photo is looking exactly at the pothole. The water was too high now to be able to get to the same angles I had shot from before. I was sad, but in a way also relieved. The worrying was over. Now I could really just let go.
It took nearly a month for the water to recede to the level it was when I had first started to build. Some of the leaves had started to change color.
Though it was interesting to see all the stones piled up in the pothole, it also seemed like an insult to the beauty that had first inspired me. So even though it was now chilly and cloudy, I decided to clear out all the debris and return the pothole to how it has looked before I had played here.

While I was cleaning it out, I found several of the "special" stones that I had put in prominent places in the original sculpture. Amazingly, there were also several of the round, reddish stones that had been on the very top of the tower. I saved those too. All the other stones that had been in the pothole I decided to scatter up along the bank, above the high water mark.... like bones and ashes of a long-ago friend now departed.

Several weeks later in early fall, I took some of the special stones from the tower and with them I made another little monument just a little further upstream. We had a second blooming of the trefoil so I snipped some blossoms. In Celtic lands you can see structures like this dotting the landscape. They go by several different names depending on where you are on the map. I liked the name Dolmen. The are thought to be places of ritual burials for clans or families from the Bronze age. So this is my Dolmen for the tower, made from the bones of the tower. What was on the crown of the tower is now at the root of the Dolmen to symbolize that endings always feed new beginnings. The Tower card in the Tarot speaks of this too. I was grateful that the River left me enough stones to make this little monument... I needed to come around full circle to feel the whole cycle was complete.

1 comment:

Jennifer Star said...

Sally, thank you so much for sharing with us your process of building a faerie house. The artist and architect in me is always wanting to know the "inside" information, which for me adds to the magic of the finished piece. I also love that these sculptures are gifted from, and gifted back to nature after you have played together. You are truly an inspiration to me.
Blessings to you, Jennifer Star

Welcome to the enchanted world of Environmental art and Faerie Houses sculptures created by Sally J Smith. Here you will find photos of the artist's unique art-forms and hear some of the stories from behind the scenes as she shares with you her creative process.