Thursday, December 17, 2009

Speak To Me

It has been quite a few months since the large boulders lying in wait at the bottom of the sunny utility valley have been visible. They tend to get swallowed in the summer lush. The subject of winter interest in the garden got me thinking about them again.

A massive sculptural earth work is bound to make winter more interesting when the huge stones become more prominent in the bareness of winter. But what do the stones want to be?

I went in there with a machete to flatten the former lush and give the stones a chance to speak their mind.

I want to do something different. I have built walls and have one more planned. I have stacked heiau/pyramids and frankly these stones are too big and heavy to lift and stack. The land almost calls out for a dry streambed through this natural drainage. But if you can wrap your mind around the idea, the ground stays too wet for a dry streambed. I think it would be a maintenance issue to keep the stones cleared of what will attempt to bury them as a dry streambed.

What do the stones want to be? I won't be hauling rocks tomorrow so they still have time to speak.

By tomorrow the stones could be buried again. The diagnosis is calling for a big one. Up to eight inches of snow are predicted for the next two days. I couldn't let this window of pseudo warmth and dry go to waste. The fancy cover board over the outside face of the main girder was attached and primed. I am actually running out of odds and ends to do on the cabin and need to get the drywall taken care of in order to move ahead.

I never did take that break from cabin building though and now that it seems like I have, my mind has really turned to action in the garden to be. I am enjoying the change.

As I was calling it a day and getting ready to head next door I heard the sound of cranes over head. I looked up and saw three white cranes flying above. Could they be Whooping Cranes? Are there any other white cranes that could be flying south over the North Carolina mountains in December?

They flew over Hebo mountain and begin to fly in circles like they were confused about which way to go. I watched. It took several circles of flying before it dawned on me they were using the updraft on the mountain to gain altitude. In the same place they just kept getting smaller. Take a picture dummy! By then they were mere specks on the last circle before heading south.

The stone sculpture will often be viewed from above. Two thoughts that keep repeating are the Nazca lines of Peru and ancient petroglyphs. How can the stones be made to paint an imagine on the ground with enough substance that it will not be totally swallowed up in the summer time? What image should be painted?

I toyed with the notion of an amphitheater. There is an intended car turn around down in the bottom for occasional heavy garden chores. An amphitheater could frame that turn around and make a strong structural statement. The idea wasn't calling strongly though. To do it right would require some major engineering. Could I add another line to a half circle framing the turn around? What shape will I begin to get?

I can listen to the stones again tomorrow. I headed next door with visions of Whooping Cranes circling over head, gaining altitude to ease their way south.

Circling cranes, petroglyphs and the lines of Nazca seen from above. Is this it? Is this the massive sculptural earth work for the garden to be to add winter interest? It even has elements of a mini-maze.

This could be it.


Siria said...

Oh my goodness! Snow, snow and more snow!!! Will I make it up my mountain with all that snow?! Keep safe and warm.

As for your rock design, I love it! All is looking great in your garden to be.

Christopher C. NC said...

Siria are y'all driving up this weekend? It is not looking good. I think they salt and plow 209 just fine. What they do up top at your house you know better than me.

Anonymous said...

How 'bout a great big dry stone flower pot ?

Anonymous said...

I see the skeleton of a prehistoric monster -- really just the massive vertebrae. The ribs and limbs (if any) were less substantial and have long since dissolved or been buried. The skull and jaw ... not sure ... perhaps carried off by a particularly large pterodactyl?

Good luck with the weather. My part of Henderson Co. is apparently in for about 4-6" of snow. Plus ice and all the usual power outages.


Christopher C. NC said...

Wow that is a way cool flower pot. I'd either have to get the stones dressed down to a smaller size or look into some kind of hydraulic lifting gizmo to get them up that high. The idea can be run through some variations on a theme though.

Christopher C. NC said...

A giant fossil. Not a bad idea Julie. I sure hope the power stays on up here. It gets cold when it goes out and I am a bit lazy about doing fires.

Anonymous said...

Lazy about doing fires, huh. Between that and freezing to death, I'd bring some wood inside tomorrow! (:
I have no imagination so I am anxiously awaiting whatever you and your design-minded friends come up with on the stones! It will be cool, whatever it is!


chuck b. said...

I like the tangent spirals. Of course, I'd want to turn them in to raised beds and plant them. You could walk along the walls.

From the pictures it looks like the boulders lie in a drainage. But I guess you would know by now if any water ran through it at some point during the year.

Christopher C. NC said...

Bev if need be I do have a little wood split and stacked up top. I may need to split more though.

Chuck it is indeed a drainage. I have seen evidence of water running on the surface once. Normally even in very hard and steady rains the ground absorbs the water so fast it isn't ever a surface stream. That said the ground down there is constantly moist like I think any crease in the mountain is likely to be in the year of the monsoon. It would have to get beyond biblical to move any stones I place in there.

Lola said...

Hope you don't get too much snow. My sis-in-law is heading up to Gburgh next Tues. I really had a time with her about it as she don't like the mtns.
I was wondering about the rocks & if any moisture went over them at any time. I really like your design. It's unique & would be a point of interest.

Anonymous said...

I like the streambed idea. Seems to me the trickle of water would be happy living there.

Then imagine if you will, a bridge going over it, and, greeting you on the other side, the giant flower pot. Perhaps even a few scattered steps, going up the bank, leading nowhere, or better yet, to a gorgeous twig sculpture à la Patrick Dougherty.

lisa said...

I agree with Chuck, but I'm sure whatever you decide upon will turn out great!

Anonymous said...

Cranes and mazes and circles, it seems perfect, Christopher! Hope you are well and enjoying your family. Hi to all and Merry Christmas!