Friday, October 4, 2013

The Beach of a Billion Billion Stones....

Hidden Treasure Lies Buried Here
   My trip to the Cobscook Bay region of Maine had a theme.  It wasn't a planned was a revealed theme.  The stones that fascinated me on Campobello, the stones I thought I'd left behind when I left last Saturday, became the amazing stones on the Jasper Beach in Machiasport where we stopped on our way back.

   This often happens to me when I travel.  The month I spent on South Uist in 2011, the month I thought I would spend making portraits, became a month of a newly revealed landscape, this time in color.  My series, Heberdean Skies was an eye opening revelation for me.  Perhaps those are the best ones...the ones we didn't seek but which found us anyway.  It has been that way with the stones.

   In many ways, the stones have been a kind of blessing.  Whenever I discover a new way of looking at the world around me I consider it a gift from the landscape. But at first glance, this stoney beach may not seem very special.  In fact, I saw people stop, stand for a few minutes, than leave.  They didn't realize what they were missing.

   When the stones are dry they look grey and lifeless...when I poured water on them they came alive.  What looked at first like uniform greyness, was actually a diverse range of tones and patterns carefully obscured by that greyness.  When you dug beneath the dry stones, there were the tiny pieces of jasper sheltered beneath their larger cousins above. How many are actually jasper is hard to say.  They do blend in with the other brownish stones but that hardly matters.

    The whole experience was a perfect final stone metaphor...a metaphor for the way we need to experience life's greatest treasures/experiences.  They rarely are left in plain view for us to find, they are often obscured by the ordinary, and the best experiences are only to be found after some hard digging.  It seemed these stones still had much to teach me.

   The beach is located in Howard Cove.  I thought that  a final bit of irony since my friend's last name, whose cairn I built on Campobello, was Howard.  It just made it seem more perfect for me since he had told me about these stones on my first trip to this region many years ago.  I still have the stones we gathered on that trip and as soon as I got home I dug through the closet looking for the box I'd stored them in. They have now joined the ones I collected on this trip.

   I've included a PDF on the beach through the link below.  There are only two Jasper Beaches in the in Machiasport, Maine and one in Japan.  I'll probably never get back to Japan but it's great to know that there is such a magical place right here in my home state!

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