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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In Other Words: Guerrilla of the Woods, Something is Happening in the Woods

Something is happening in the woods around town. There’s a bit of a guerrilla movement going on. That’s right. Woodland guerrillas are in Fort Thomas.  They aren’t quite Sasquatch, but they are equally elusive.  Now I don’t know if these people know each other and have secret meetings or what, but whatever is going on, I like it.

I am not aware that anyone has reported seeing any of these things actually happening but people do see them in a finished state.  It is kind of odd how we see but don’t see, isn’t it? But the creative spirit has moved a number of people to publicly share their efforts. And it is so much fun.

I have always loved the woods. I do not need an excuse to go there. There’s always a path. Always something new to see. Around the bend. Over the rise. Across the creek. Always something.  We were walking the shoreline of Lake Michigan when we came across some guerrilla art. There were large stone cairns erected along the rocky shore. One stone balanced on top of another. They were beautiful and fascinating shapes. So I made one as well. Now mine was not a landmark, or a burial marker, a cache marker, or a way to chart the stars. It was pure fun. Balance one rock on top of another to create a unique and satisfying shape. I have built cairns along rivers in the mountains and in the woods of Kentucky. I even made one in my backyard, but the deer kept knocking it over so they could get to the garden plant buffet.

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The Tower Park Trail Shark is perhaps the most well known example of local guerrilla art. It’s a surprise to round that bend and find a shark in the woods replete with hobbit runes and golf ball eyes. Here’s a link to an FTM story about the shark.

Over on the other side of Tower Park is a Fairy House, a miniature fantasy that reflects the magic of the woods. It rests atop the ruins of a military building that perhaps signals that the woods always win. Anyway, it’s an enjoyable piece of whimsy on one of the trails in the park.

Then someone told me about the stone people. It’s on private property but it’s pretty fascinating. Someone collected a lot of creek rocks to create sculptures of men, women, families along a narrow wooded trail. Some pieces are tucked under a low hanging branch while others sit in the more open woodland. I have so many questions about why and how, but these unanswered questions do not take away from the pure joy of seeing a rock man, a rock woman, or a rock family.

Then there are the chainsaw art carvings in downed ash trees in Highland Park. I followed a fairly well made trail until it disappeared and then, off in the distance, I saw it. The first of three. There was a squirrel carved atop a stump. It was such a surprise. And to think that someone carried a chainsaw and tools down there to noisily create a sweet little find. But then further along the trail there is the face and a bear. I am not sure what motivated the artist, but I now walk that trail looking for more little pieces of magic.

Something is happening in the woods. Something wonderful and magical. The woods are full of surprises that can inspire a sense of wonder or awe.  And I know more will be coming.

The Pyramid Sculpture Park in Hamilton, Ohio is an outdoor gallery of sculpture. It is worth the drive to see such a collection. There is delight around each bend and over each rise. But it’s a more formalized presentation of what is happening here. We have an innate need to leave our marks in our gardens, homes, work spaces, and woods.  And when that mark makes us smile, well, it's the smile of acknowledgment. So let me offer thanks to the artists for the simple joy of your creations.  You make a walk in the woods even more spectacular.

1 comment:

  1. I have a Fairy Garden in my back yard and one on the porch but I haven't seen any in outdoor public places. I wish it would start here in Charleston, how fun!