Out walking in an area north of Casa de Harper, Harper and I came upon a curious installation. I am fairly certain it is human-made and not a naturally occurring formation.
I considered the possibility that it was the result of some kind of construction activity. There is some preliminary development on the site but no actual construction is taking place yet. It seems unlikely that a construction company would use such a small tool to move rocks. One also wonders why they would push it to the top of the mound if all they wanted to do was dump the rocks.
Since there are no structures on the site it is unlikely it could be landscaping work in progress. Also, the Homeowners’ Association covering this area allows only xeriscaping with plants and materials native to the Sonoran Desert. The rocks may be native but that cart looks more Mojave than Sonoran to my, admittedly untrained, eye. I am pretty sure I saw one like it in Palm Springs and that is definitely the Mojave desert.
No, I think this is neither development nor construction related. This leads the deductive mind to one of two conclusions. Either it is some form of artistic expression; a labor intensive, desert form of urban graffiti, or it is vandalism; another sad commentary of the nihilism of today’s disenfranchised urban youth…’white punks on dope’.
If vandalism, they wanted it badly. There are several hundred pounds of rocks in that cart; not to mention the nearest business where such a cart could be wantonly stolen (you know they didn’t buy it – life is cheap to that sort) is more than a mile away. Are vandals prone to such industry? I think not, at least not since they sacked Rome in the 5th century, C.E.
If graffiti, they were committed. This is no spray can on a highway overpass or train bridge. The street artists of Harper’s Valley scoff at the torpidity of big-city wannabes. They cry fie upon the puny cenotaphs to Kilroy and gang-sign created by paint-wielding dilettantes.
It may lack the cultural gravity of the Inuit inukshuk but I see similarities. This is the stuff of quintessence; the apotheosis of anonymous expression. It harkens back to essential need of humankind to express itself and leave its mark on the universe. It recaptures the mysticism of the first time a human being ever formed that most fundamental of thoughts; “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
I fear the installation will not stand for the ages. This is not to be Harper’s Valley’s Stonehenge. Those of us lucky enough to have experienced it’s awesome majesty can share it with our children and our children’s children through stories, songs, and interpretive dance. In the meantime, the installation will be no more in its physical form. It will exist only in memory. Truth be told, that is probably for the best. I just know there are spiders and scorpions all up in there.