Monday, April 5, 2010
The Inconsequential and The Sacred
It's a strange word, and probably calls to mind a woodwind instrument of fleeting description and hard to recognize sound, which is really an Oboe. Obos is actually a Japanese term referring to a pile of rocks, for lack of a more eloquent description, and in English they are often referred to as Cairns. A stacking of stones, one atop the other and often only 3, they mean nothing to almost everyone who sees them but have a deep and resonating meaning to the one who builds them. Why? Because they create a focal point, even if placed amongst thousands of similar stones on a windy beach shoreline, they are something that comes from someone's hands, a flourish of imagination that says "I was here".
Obos can be built anywhere from an abundance of natural resources just lying about: stones, rocks, pebbles, boulders, I've even seen them made with broken concrete blocks and old bricks. Placed on top of each other they become more than just 3 or 4 or 10 rocks in a shaky pillar, they become a sanctuary for our thoughts and our minds, sometimes only for a few minutes until we move on. Beside a ramshackle house, along a garden path, in a meditation labyrinth on someone's desk, next to a gutter on a busy Manhattan Street, riding the crest of a craggy mountain trail, there they are: shrines to the indelible human spirit of imagination and individuality. The insignificant is elevated to a different level, a tribute to something higher, a deep need to create.
Obos may be used to commemorate an event, like reaching the end of a long hike, or marking a particular patch of ground for it's importance in one's life. Perhaps they are simple homages in reverence to something grander in the natural world surrounding them or just a playful gesture without seeming thought, a doodling with rocks. But we are builders, we work with our hands and our minds, consciously or not, and what we build is sacred if only for us, privately, for a fleeting second. Obos, by their very nature, are towers of serenity even if only 2 inches tall. They give one pause, whether in their building or the contemplative eye upon them. They lend respite from the cluttered world and stand as an affirmation to the value of our personal efforts and our individual dreams.
3 small stones, found nearly everywhere.
Inconsequential parts in nature, lovingly placed one on top of the other by our builder's hands, given life by our visions and transformed into a unique, beautiful and sacred whole.
Art that leaves no footprint.
"I was here."
The incredibly powerful Beach Stone Cairn Pendant seen above was created by Sue Davis who has a wondrous Shop on Etsy: www.suedavisjewelry.etsy.com ...Thank You!
I wish you all an amazing week. Perhaps we should all take a few moments and build an Obos, reflect on what it means to create and say "We were here."
My love to you all...