As expected we set a new yearly rain total record and we still have time left in 2011. At the moment, we have had 66 inches of rain breaking the old mark by two inches. I waited for the river to go down a bit before returning to the Falls of the Ohio. The water was still high which restricted how far I could go. One very noticeable difference from my last visit was this lost boat. The high water we did receive loosened it from its mooring up river and it showed up here. I wonder if someone will attempt to salvage it?
I am always hopeful that I will find lots of cool stuff and this is what I came up with on this trip. I’ve started collecting the plastic toy wheels that come off toy trucks and cars. I don’t know what I will eventually do with them, but then again that’s part of the fun! Here’s a closer image of the blue plastic parachutist in the spot where he landed.
This other figure in the blue coat is my friend Steve the Arrowhead Man. I’ve nicknamed him this because he likes to knap or chip projectile points from the local rock as the Indigenous people once did. For him it is a primeval aesthetic. Steve was the only person I saw on this very cold, but sunny day. Steve was hunting for rock, but was having no luck because the river was still too high. I asked how life was treating him and he said that things were a little better for him. He now has permission to be in the park to practice his craft. Steve did tell me he once received a ticket for “littering” because someone found a small pile of rock chips he made during the creation of an arrowhead. We both had a good laugh about that considering his “waste” rock is far less offensive than the daily barrage of plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups that other visitors have strewn about the park. The new administration at the park has actually embraced people like Steve and potentially me too. The two of us are living interpreters of the Falls of the Ohio State Park. For so long, it felt like the only interesting events occurred in this place two hundred or more years a go. The Falls, however, is a living site and should be treated as such. This blog is a sampling of the reality that exits in the park at the present moment. No doubt two hundred years from now people will find a completely different set of circumstances and folks might be curious about us…or not?
This is the figure I made with found materials on this day. I walked as far east as I could in the park before the river and deposited driftwood blocked the way. Along my walk, I came across a discarded life vest and I appropriated it for this figure. I also found the Styrofoam here and there and carried it under my arms. The distinctive black eyes are old nuts from the buckeye tree. The nose is the spray nozzle from a plastic bottle. A friend told me the other day that he prefers the animal sculptures I make over the “human presences” I create from these poor materials. I had to agree, but told him that my figures do contain a certain amount of realism to them because they reflect so well the absurdity of the human condition and our relationship to the planet.
With his thin smile I left this figure waving goodbye and turned around for home. It was time because I was feeling cold and my left knee was aching. One of the parting remarks that Steve said to me was that he was considering trying to save the aluminum boat we saw earlier. I wonder if he tried? I’ll ask him next time I see him.