Friday, March 23, 2012

the whale

Up here in Washington County, in the town of Hebron, there is a field. It's not different from other fields around it. It's just another place to run the tractors for haying, maybe turned over for corn if the landowner feels like renting it. This particular field is on a high spot. It sees things. It is like its brethren. Just another bit of earth turned to the good work of making food. But there's something special about this field. Something unsuspecting. Because if you walk up to that far field in Hebron you will meet a whale.

Yes. A whale in a field.

In a hayfield overlooking mountains and farms there is a life-sized whale tail made of copper. It has no signs, no explanation. It just exists. It can be seen as it always stands, in sun or snow or thunderstorms. It waves goodbye, the last thing you see before it dives back into the deep. Could you imagine discovering it on a walk? Seeing this 10-foot-tall tail cresting out of the tall grass in autumn in dappled sunlight?

I want to see it surrounded by fireflies. That would be something.

It is a memorial, a grave for the heartsick. A husband had it commissioned and set in the middle of that hillside as a tribute to his wife, who was lost at sea in 1992. Beautiful. Not the loss, that is surely tragic, but what a homage. What a beautiful way to mark a loved ones impact in your life. Powerful, surprising, tangible, and permanent.

How large is it? Well, that is my friend and driving mentor Patty on top of a 17+ hand Percheron and the tale is larger than both of them. The grass is cropped here, it is winter, but you can image it as a monolith in front of you on a warm summer night. The grass dark blue and green, waving in soft wind. Nothing around it but the moon and flicker of a firefly's passing...

You decide how magical you want life to be. You decide how you want to see your choices, your family, your friends, your heart. You decide if you want to fall apart in mourning or celebrate a love lost with something that will remain with people their whole lives. You decide.

I think that might be the most beautiful monument in New York.


Blogger sco_oter said...

What a wonderful thing for a lost love!

March 23, 2012 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

That is heartbreakingly beautiful. Hauntingly poetic. I would love to see it as you described it. Diving into the deep grass with a sky full of fireflies acting as stars....

March 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I want to see it too. I just heard about it a few weeks ago while on a drive with patty and steele. It has been in my head for weeks.

March 23, 2012 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger PattyW said...

This is a magical place. Only really Accessible by horse. I will take you there.
The book "Dark Wind" by Gordon Chaplin is an amazing account of their love and the tragedy.

March 23, 2012 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

Goodness my eyes have filled with tears. What a testimony to love. Its not the easiest emotion to grasp hold of,indeed trying to catch an entire shoal of silver fish with your hands is a little like how hard it is to get ones head around sometimes, but like most things, you don't need the entire shoal, if you can grasp one shimmering fish you are blessed.
This woman was truly loved and her husband felt truly blessed to have loved her.
GTM x x x

March 24, 2012 at 4:10 AM  
Blogger CallieK said...

What an intriguing story but I shouldn't have read the reviews of the book - at least one review was not very sympathetic, (with good reason.)

March 24, 2012 at 5:47 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Well, that may be. But I bet Johnny Cash would have build June Carter a whale tail.... Their story is just as complicated, sometimes love is messy work.

March 24, 2012 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Jubilee Reviews said...

Love it, what a beautiful thing!

March 24, 2012 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

Having read the book, it's hard to comment as I was left with a feeling of him loving (often inappropriate) attention more than anything else.

Speaking strictly of the picture and art statement, though, it does make quiet the statement.

If you get a picture of it surrounded by grasses, I'd like to see it.

March 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger PattyW said...

Still- -He put a whale tail diving into a mountain for her. Love IS messy. And also - no one will ever know except the two involved.

March 24, 2012 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

reminds me of a set of whale tales in Williston, VT. on the northbound side of I89 heading towards Burlington. I look at them everyday and marvel at how cool they are.

March 25, 2012 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Lissa B. said...

What a beautiful tribute, a wonderful and unexpected way to remember someone lost.

March 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM  

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