Balanced Rock Art
on Great Cranberry Island, Maine
MAINE, rocks, and Rock Art -- what can be a more natural combination? Great Cranberry Island is composed of rock. Dig down a yard or so and you'll hit "ledge," the solid stone foundation on which the island rests. It's not hard to find loose rocks anywhere, and along the shore tumultuous seas born of winter gales tumble and polish them with irresistible force, scattering and regathering golf ball to bowling ball-size rocks into huge berms that act as effective barriers against further erosion.
But why pile rock upon rock? What purpose does it serve? Intellectuals may say it's a cri de coeur of the lonesome island soul, an individual's quest for immortality and recognition from an otherwise uncaring world, like the hand prints on the cave walls of Altamira. Perhaps...
But native Yankee wit learns to "make do" with what's available. Rocks must be cleared from gardens and driveways, so why not put them to good use instead of just tossing them away? Is it any wonder, then, that rocks should be both paint and canvas for island individuals with an artistic turn of mind?
True to our reserved downeast heritage, Great Cranberry Island doesn't blast and boast about its rock art. This is truly art for art's sake. The balanced rock pieces, like shy deer, seem to inhabit only the most private paths and reclusive roads of the back areas of the island.
Connoisseurs agree that the secluded west side of the island offers the best rockstack sightings, and the closer to the shore, the better. Any further hints as to the artworks' whereabouts are likely to be viewed as a breach of privacy by the artisans.
Photographed mostly by Wini Smart, and by the editor Bruce Komusin at: email@example.com