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High water mark

Rialto, February 2008

Everywhere are these little piles of stones. Cairns, if I’m not mistaken. They mark trailheads, campsites- I can only assume this one was meant to gauge a high tide. If so, I hope little was at stake.

I was tempted to get way in, set up very close and have the pile fill the frame. But of course I fell for the semi-tragic scale of the tiny pile of rocks against the scope of the Pacific and the sea stacks off on the horizon, especially with the haphazard teeter of the stone on top of the pile. The tinyness of some things can be, I suppose, touching when paired with the reliable futility of collecting things, arranging them. One has only to suffer a scant glance around to see similar collections- little tableaux of driftwood, shells, kelp hearts. Ultimately hapless but hopeful monuments against the crush of time.

Correspondingly, I wanted the foreground of the print to look bright and optimistic; the background to be less certain. Turbulent, inevitable, if not yet altogether distinct. Not sure it works, but I can’t seem to print it any other way.