“What if there’s a bear or tiger out here?” said my little brother. He was wielding the pointy end of a fence post, and trying to decide how he might use the metal from his braces to craft a weapon.
“I could wrap them around a glove to punch with,” he said. He’d already explained what to do if someone came at us with a shotgun: stop, drop and roll. “It’s just something I know,” he said solemnly.
My dad was guiding us deep into some private property behind LCC, and my brother was preparing for the worst. Ever since our sculpture discovery a few weeks ago, my dad and I had been planning to return and search for more cast-off treasures. This time, we’d brought the clan along. We were like the von Trapps on their Alp journey, except less musically talented and more whiny.
“There’s supposed to be a hobbit house out here,” said my dad. We were all a little skeptical as to how he’d gathered this information. Is there a rumor mill about the creepy backwoods? Then he lead us through a blackberry bush and across a rushing stream. Things were looking uncertain.
After ducking under some barbed wire, we hiked a trail/river/pond, threw several fits (most of them by yours truly), and eventually caught sight of a chimney sitting in a field. It was as though a giant had played Operation with someone’s home and plucked the fireplace right out. It might have been an ominous sight to anyone else, but to us it was a beacon of hope.
Just behind it, hidden in the trees, was a loose pile of rocks that we eventually identified as a hovel of sorts.
“This doesn’t look like a hobbit house!” said Sarah.
“It’s an evil hobbit house,” Emma said, her voice echoing from inside the little structure.
It’s true that the little rocky structure would be out of place among the rolling green hills of the Shire, but it had its own eerie brand of charm. The construction reminded me of the Cyclopcean walls of Mycenaean Greece, which were so named because later Greeks believed that only Cyclops could have built walls with such enormous, misshapen boulders.
Inside, we found a cow skull wedged between the roof and the wall, which also hinted at the Odyssey and mythological beasts. To Emma, they hinted at the fact that we needed to get out of there. “There’s BONES! Why are there BONES?” she shrieked. I was more nervous about the little yellow broom leaning in the corner:
Its presence seemed to indicate that someone actually spends time there. My dad thought the shack might be a gathering place for barbecues. Yeah, right. More like VOODOO COW SACRIFICES.
We booked it back up the trail and made it out within an inch of our lives.
Honestly, it was a pretty cool experience, though we did give my dad some flack for it. Anyone who grew up with National Lampoon’s Vacation knows how easy it is to place your dad in the Chevy Chase box and not let him out.
Sorry this post is so long and picture-filled, but it’s the 100th post on this here blog. Thanks for giving me a reason to keep writing things at you! As we hiked back, we passed by the art department’s refuse pile again, which is where we found that rusty sculpture. There’s also a pile of clay there from the pottery shop, and this time we found a beautiful white cast on top:
“Where did it come from?” I asked my little brother.
“Something beyond us,” he said wisely.
After 100 art adventures, I’d say that his answer is as good as any when dealing with the big, wonderful, mysterious world of art. Here’s to 100 more!