W R I T T E N · W OR K

P R O S E

BOULDER WALLS & PORTRAIT EFFIGIES

By Robert Ranieri, 2018

 

 

            Thousands of years ago, a wide volcanic flow carried monumental rocks to a field not far from the cliff edge above our house far below. The cliff itself dominates this area of the Delaware River and small stream below, where my house is located.
            This extensive vast deposit of large granite boulders has been undisturbed except for a few trees that grow at the fringe of the multi tiered pileup. Over the last hundred years or so, men with machines have taken a few. Some ended up as placed in the walls that framed the local canal systems, for the plodding barges that moved products in semi rural Pennsylvania.
            This boulder filled landscape is called Ringing Rocks. When hitting large granite rocks only touching one another, with a steel hammer, you can play a nice little rhythm.
            A friend had a couple of these boulders (one weighing circa one half ton) on her property, and so I got a man with a machine and flatbed, to bring them to my place. Their final placement is to be seen now as we review the installations of several, as part of the
Rostrum complex.
            By building up this wall, a larger area of quasi level terrain became available for
diverse landscaping  projects. Of course the raised level now allows a commanding view
of the stream and other features below.
            Now a sizable pine tree brings year round shade to this upper level, with patterned
shade that interacts with all of the installed elements. A large painted and curved half circle of steel plate, had begun to activate this area, where we see two fine leafed Japanese trees, paired within their own little zone. The Butterfly tree grows to attain only twelve feet, though the root ball is elevated a foot.
            Photos show two upright rocks closely spaced, with the lighter shade triangular
rock placed a little lower and tilted. The concrete over an iron supported base design, supports each one and is intended as firm support, but to also complement each effigy, while being unobtrusive. The larger of the two is solid granite and quite heavy.
            A shaped flat concrete area is connected to the sculpted base and anchors this edge of the upper level, securing it from erosion. This defined edge is about eight feet above the area below that is adjacent to the stream.

            Once moved to their present site, it would be necessary to study each stone
in order to ascertain which area of the stone would be on top, sideways, or facing down. It should be said that I had to predetermine the general posture of each one in order to excavate the holes, based on my provisional review, and fashion the steel re-bar before filling in the concrete. Kept nearby were several small flat stones to be used as shims to be added as needed while the backhoe operator slowly lowered each rock in turn.
            With care I slowly added just enough mortar to steady each boulder, and when
   set, I was able to study the work, adding more concrete for correct base shapes.

                                                        chorus
    two vaunted portraits      mere waifs of the ages    left to travel N to S to E to W
never meant as restless wanderers         just a pair   not to lock embraced       only
to be jostled when held in a little boys' hand             such meander stones like these
so drawn upon / scratched to show the way             that other place out in the clear
                  meander stones the treasured amulets from another life
such stolid shapes tensioned                                                        so near to embrace
        yet     lumber along on the parents' shelf     yet to hug them again
such tender regard without restraint        yes the tears and longing to make amends
  meander markings   the cherished petty melodies                        so held in check
                                       now presented without stalling
                                              the meander marks


 

 

 

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