Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ding Dong Magnum Opus

We had been hiking several clicks into the Bob Marshall Wilderness area. The trail was bereft of human artifacts like gum wrapper foil or the scent of Axe cologne. We rounded a sharp elbow then headed up a steep pitch.

I hokey-pokied over a pile of bear scat about the time I saw we were hiking by a patch of sun-warmed huckleberries. We reached a clearing then sat on a slab of granite to squirrel-munch on our processed provisions. Below us was a two-foot stack of deliberately placed rocks.

How do objects of such heft and irregularity defy gravity? Some sort of ethereal equilibrium that eludes clumsy, big-footed humans. The stacked rocks layered over the smell of oozing pine resin and billowing cottonwood gave me a sense of presence. I wondered about neurotransmitters like serotonin splaying out in my brain like buckshots of well-being. Then thought better of it.

I recalled the stunning color plates I had seen in one of Andrew Goldsworthy's coffee table books - the leaves, the mud, the pine cones and twigs exquisitely re-arranged by an ego-centric sculptor getting his conceptual art woodie.

So inspired, I jubilantly sacrificed my edible vittles to erect my magnum opus – a wilderness shrine of meticulously balanced Hostess Ding Dongs.

It was as if suddenly all the Little Debby Snacks in the universe didn’t exist.