This past Labor Day was gloriously sunny and perfect for playing with rocks at Odiorne Point, NH. It was interesting to watch the various people, old and young, as they approached the cairns that dotted the rocks. Most of the visitors were unable to resist the urge to create their own cairn, leaving a record of their presence. It reminded me of the description in Steinbeck’s East of Eden about the difference in personality between two main characters, Aron and Cal, as young boys. Steinbeck imagines how each boy would respond when finding an anthill. Aron would lie on his stomach and watch the ants for hours, while Cal would kick at the anthill and watch the ants respond to the disaster. “Aron was content to be a part of his world, but Cal must change it.”
Fortunately, no one that we observed wanted to destroy the cairns, but I think some young folks may have “restructured” some cairns or “repurposed” some of the rocks. I think the urge that I felt while moving rocks around was connected to each of the two personality traits that Aron and Cal represent: the desire to be a part of one’s world and the desire to change it. The work portion of my day was actually very enjoyable. I had a phone interview with Cindy Cantrell of the Boston Globe West People Column. She had seen the press release for the We Are Made of Dreams and Bones exhibit and wanted to speak with me about my work. Cindy asked me some insightful questions, and I hope I managed to be reasonably articulate. I can see that being a journalist is hard work, especially on a sunny Labor Day. The piece is tentatively scheduled to appear in the Sunday, Sept. 13 issue of the Globe West.