Spring has definitely arrived and the land is turning green. I love watching this verdant transformation as the Falls of the Ohio becomes a garden again. We had a weary winter and so seeing the sun more regularly warms the heart and imagination. These are images from my last visit to the park. I believe I downloaded about seventy or eighty pictures which is about normal for one of my excursions. I can find personal interest in most everything I come across which makes editing and creating some sort of post a fun challenge. I spend hours on site and then a good amount of time at home looking at the pictures and wondering how to put order to any of it? Usually, I try to give some representative sense of what the day was like. I believe I could create all sorts of permutations and stories from just a single trip…but, that would cut into my time to be outdoors and fill my lungs with fresh air.
I began the morning in the western section of the park. Driftwood and junk have been driven against the Indiana bank of the Ohio River. Prevailing currents and high water have formed this log raft against the shoreline. Future high water will eventually send this material over the dam and under the railroad bridge and then throughout the park. Moving to the river’s edge I surprised more than one sleeping duck and see my first Great Egret of the year. I tried sneaking over the driftwood to take a picture of the egret which was feeding at the water’s edge. I must be losing my touch because the wary egret spotted me and took off. This duck standing on one leg, however, was more obliging.
Here’s a view from the western section of the park. Walking along the water’s edge I came across all manner of bric-a-brac some of which made it into the collecting bag. Upon returning to my outdoor studio, I photographed a few of my newest “treasures” on the sand which included many toys. I have a compulsion to pick this stuff up and order it into various collections…but other than that I’m not sure what I will eventually do with much of this plastic. I am a believer, however, that someday I will have an idea or inspiration and I will follow that. I still feel there is something here to explore between the poles of what these items are intended to represent and what they are in reality.
I keep finding toy wheels of all different sizes and slowly an idea for a wall installation is taking place in my mind. I have an offer to show work in a show during the 2014 season and so I set a goal to realize this “wheel piece”. Here are two views of one of my more interesting finds of this day.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find this blue crayfish while it was alive. By far, most of the crayfish I have seen have been brown in color. I wonder if it was crushed by the logs rolling in the high water? I don’t know which species of crayfish this is, but apparently blue crayfish are a genetic color morph. There is one species that is now bred to be blue for the aquarium pet trade. The way the grains of sand fit around the exoskeleton gives a sense of how a fossil might be formed if given the right conditions and deep time. I picked it up and held it in my hand and just appreciated such a small, but spectacular animal. I was curious to see how the Flood Brothers from my previous post were holding up and soon I had my answer upon reaching my site.
The Flood Brothers were gone as were several other pieces of Styrofoam! My small studio area had been rummaged through, but this is not unusual and I kind of expect this to happen. The stuff I gravitate towards is not the junk other folks look for, however, anybody is welcomed to whatever I’ve cached here. I have nothing of value here. There is more. Apparently, the discoverers of my studio were carrying bits of frayed barge cable when they stumbled over my spot. In order to take the Flood Brothers with them, they had to drop the cables. After straightening up my studio…I wrapped the three cables into loose coils and photographed them where the brothers once stood.
From experience, if folks are out to destroy something…they usually just get on with it. I was hoping that whomever took the Flood Brothers had just moved them to a different location to create a vignette of their own. I decided to scout around to see if I could find my wayward figures and I was partly successful. Here’s how I found the larger of the Flood Brothers.
About a hundred meters or so from my spot, I came across Flood Brother #2 leaning against this tree. He was missing many of his features including his eyes and arms. After hunting around I was able to find a few of his parts. As for his shorter brother…there was no trace of him. I kept moving east in my search and discovered evidence that other creatives were in the area recently. Perhaps the people who made the following statements also played with my figures?
I found this and other sand drawings in the area. Most of the sand designs were statements of a libertarian frame of mind. I also found this large spiral made from driftwood that was in the immediate vicinity.
Further west from the spiral was this installation where driftwood was stood on end teepee-style and incorporated with two larger logs that had recently floated into the area. People seem to like arranging wood in this manner and I have also seen bonfires begun in this way.
I thoroughly checked the area for signs of my missing figure and imagined him riding home in the back seat of someone’s car. I picked up my remaining Flood Brother and headed back to my studio. I fixed him back up again. He’s repaired, but also slightly different now.
This is how I left things on my way back home. I’ll return in a week and we shall see what if anything happens? Returning to my car, there was still one more surprise left for the day. Emerging into the light of a new season, I came across this small Eastern Garter Snake warming itself (much as I had) among the driftwood at the Falls of the Ohio. See you next time!